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Eight Men & a Boat

January 10, 2019

The talk at smoko drifted over the Lake Wollumboola development and shorebirds, the antisocial tree vandalism on Collingwood beach but honed in on the relative merits of clench nailing versus roving to connect the garbutt to the keel rabbet. Two years ago this would have been an incomprehensible sentence to the 8 or so retirees reinventing themselves as part time wooden boat builders.

Wooden boat building has been a part of Jervis Bay for centuries, starting with bark canoes built on the shores of Currambene Creek to today’s fibreglass and aluminium marvels. The 8 or so retirees above are working on a boat built and launched in the middle period. Crest is a wooden boat built and first launched by Freddie Dent in 1911. At the time Currambene Creek was a centre of commercial and recreational boat building on the South coast with the Settrees and the Dents the leading boat yards. It was at this time that the Lady Denman, a ferry employed in and around

Sydney Harbour for 67 years, was launched from the same boatyard.

The Crest restoration project has, for 6 years, progressed toward re-launching of the 27 foot carvel planked beauty back into the creek. This happy event is expected sometime in the next 6 months… let’s say year.

Work on the vessel has replaced rotted wood, repaired the ailing motor and rubbed, polished and painted wood and metal. Each week the outcome looks brighter as the retirees expand their boat building repertoires.

Crest and the Lady Denman are on display at the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum in Huskisson along with other examples of vessels built in Currambene Creek.

The restoration and re-launch of Crest will be the first of the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum’s on water collection. The Museum is a valuable local resource that hides its brilliance at the bottom of Dent Street. Crest putting along Currambene Creek and out into Jervis Bay will be a reminder of Huskisson’s past, will play a part in the re-vitalisation of the Museum’s fixed exhibitions.

As old Huskisson gets covered by the concrete and glass of new Huskisson it is timely to repair and re-float an iconic remnant as a reminder that there was a past.

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