Launch of "Two Islands" Sculpture in Franklin Square, Hobart.

On Tuesday, a crew from the Wooden Boat Centre made their way to the Franklin Square in Hobart to witness the launch of “Two Islands”, an artwork by Nigel Helyer. The sculpture’s timber components were constructed in our workshop in Franklin by our resident craftsman Mike Johnson, Flo von Widmann, Peter Laidlaw, David Nash and Francis Shepard.

The artists explanation of the piece explains its significance,

“The Two Islands sculpture presents a metaphor that draws together histories of Tasmanian Aboriginal and European settler cultures in the form of two symbolic vessels. 

The skeleton of Sir John Franklin’s ship the HMS Erebus lies wrecked alongside a contemporary representation of a traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe, creating a tension that resonates with the complex histories of Tasmania.

Two Islands incorporates a soundscape comprised of many voices and perspectives offering us potential to reflect upon the past to continue a dialogue of reconciliation into the future” - Nigel Helyer

Our team are very proud of our contribution.

The Huon Valley Show 2018


Last Saturday we spent a delightful , bright sunny day at the Huon Valley Show. As an agricultural show it is one of the best. Wood chopping. dog showing, large and small farm animals, cakes, jams, preservers, flowers and craft. food stalls, history groups you name it the Huon Show has it as well as huge numbers of visitors. Thank you to all who came and said “Hello” and bought a raffle ticket or two. We will be back next year.

 Alan Cato , vice president of the Franklin Working Waterfront Association having a well earned break with Graham Rankin, president of FWWA

Alan Cato , vice president of the Franklin Working Waterfront Association having a well earned break with Graham Rankin, president of FWWA

The Wooden Boat Centre 2019 Calendar


The Wooden Boat Centre has released its 2018 Calendar. The calendar features photos of courses, restorations and projects during the year as well as the people who make it all happen. The calendar also has the short course class list with all the starting dates. The calendar is just $20 plus $5 postage and handling if you would like one sent to you or someone special for Christmas.

Franklin Square Hobart "Two Islands" sculpture designed by Nigel Helyer


in just three weeks our amazing team of craftsmen, from left Mike Johnson, Florian von Widmann, Peter Laidlaw, David Nash and Francis Shepherd(not in photo) have completed the very challenging task of covering the sculpture’s steel skeleton, created by Dynamic Welding and Engineering Pty Ltd. The steel is now enclosed with dozens of individually cut pieces of Tasmanian Oak. The piece has now left the building and is currently being erected in Franklin Square in Hobart. It will be officially launched on December 4


The Two Islands Sculpture is shaping up well

 David and Mike discuss access to the keel section

David and Mike discuss access to the keel section

This project has dominated the workshop in the past couple of weeks. So much so that Adrian Dean would not be able to give his new workboat a trial if he was ready - it simply can’t get out the doors past the sculpture.

The three pieces of the project will leave here on Wednesday morning bound for Hobart and the installation in Franklin Square. The dedicated work that has been done by the boat shed crew has been impressive. Nice to be part of Nigel Helyer’s public art project that is an important addition to the cultural landscape of Tasmania.

An easy early project - a Selway Fischer 'Waterman' Canadian canoe


The plywood Canadian Canoe is an easy early project for beginner boatbuilders. At least three of these will be made in March next year by student sponsors. They will be assisted by students of the Wooden Boatbuilding: Craft Career Course.

For information about the 2-year Craft Career Course go to: or contact us on 03 6266 3586

We have been making some investigations about Visas as well as the receipt of ‘Youth Allowance’ or ‘Newstart’ for Australian citizens whilst studying. It seems so long as the workplace based training is considered to increase your employability skills the course should be able to be considered an ‘approved activity’. Please get in touch for further information.

This Could Be Yours!


Have you ever wished to own a craftsman built clinker dinghy constructed in rare and now protected Tasmanian King Billy pine? If so, your dream can now become a reality. We are currently constructing a Foster 10 Clinker dinghy in this much sought after and highly prized softwood. This craft is being offered for sale and could be yours on completion.

“To get access to even a small plank of King Billy pine is to join a very select group. The items made from it will be the embodiment of its history.”- Tasmanian Specialty Timbers.

The King Billy pine for this project was a very special donation to the Wooden Boat Centre by the Knoop family of Sandy Bay. We are honoured to be able to use it for this very special project.

Please contact Anne Holst , manager of the Wooden Boat Centre, on 03 62663586 or if you would like to own this unique piece of history.



 First King Billy Plank in position.

First King Billy Plank in position.

Franklin Square Sculpture Project


Just eight days ago these large pieces arrived at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin. Over three weeks, these will be carefully covered by a myriad individually cut wooden pieces by the boatbuilders and artisans at the Wooden Boat Centre. They will then be transported to Hobart where they will become part of the history of Tasmania.

This major public artwork by Dr Nigel Helyer was commissioned by the City of Hobart.

“The artwork, titled Two Islands, will present colonial and indigenous histories relating to the site through a soundscape consisting of archival and community oral stories.

It will operate on motion sensors and audiences will be able to listen while surrounded by two sculptural forms , the hull of John Franklin’s ship, the “Erebus”, presented alongside a modern version of a Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe.”(City of Hobart - media release)

The Wooden Boat Centre feels very honoured to have been given the task of creating this piece of Tasmanian history.


Huon Valley Community Bank Donation

 Colleen Shield, Anne Holst, Graham Rankin, Tony Coulson, Alan Cato

Colleen Shield, Anne Holst, Graham Rankin, Tony Coulson, Alan Cato

Last week Colleen Shield , the Huonville manager and Tony Coulson, senior Community Bank Manager presented a cheque to members of the Franklin Working Waterfront Association. We were delighted to receive this Community Enterprise Foundation grant of $11,518 to assist us in purchasing tools to support planned boatbuilding courses for local, national and international students of the school to enhance their skills and knowledge of traditional wooden boatbuilding. Thank you Bendigo Bank.


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We are delighted to announce the release of our latest raffle. This exquisitely crafted Foster 10 Huon Pine Clinker Dinghy could be yours for just $10 a ticket. The dinghy was built by students in our seven week course earlier this year and has been beautifully finished. The prize also includes delivery to anywhere in Australia.

Tickets are only $10 each and can be purchased at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin. You can also purchase by eftpos over the phone on 03 62663586 and we will scan the tickets and send them to you by email. You could also pop a cheque into the mail with your full details to The Wooden Boat Centre 3333 Huon Highway, Franklin 7113 and we will return the tickets by post.

The raffle will be drawn at the Homecoming Festival here in Franklin on Friday 15 February 2019. There are only 2500 tickets available.

“The Americans Are Coming” - An Invitation To Join Them To Build The Boat

Headed for Hobart « MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.htm

“We are delighted that a team of experienced American boat builders, under the direction of master boat builder Sean Koomen, will be arriving before Christmas to commence a build of the classic Haven 12.5 in the boat-mad town of Franklin on the Huon River south of Hobart.  The team, hand-picked from scores of applicants, are ready to embark on an 8-week build at the Wooden Boat Centre that will finish with the display of the finished craft at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival (8-11 February 2019) in Hobart. The project is a remarkable trans-national effort, with many materials coming from Port Townsend, Washington – known for its thriving marine trades including sailmakers, foundries and riggers – and the principal timber being the unique Tasmanian celery top pine, reclaimed from the highland lakes of the remote West Coast by Tasmanian start-up Hydrowood.”

The Wooden Boat Centre is offering two places on this build. Students will receive instruction from Seam Koomen and his team as they work together to build two vessels (one mostly pre-constructed and the other from the start). One of these vessels will be auctioned at the My State Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart in February 2019. The tuition fee will be $4,800 for the eight weeks ( with Christmas holidays). The course will run from 10 December 2018 to 8 February 2019. Contact us on 03 62663586 or email us to express your interest. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.



Skin on Frame Kayak Course


This could be you in two weeks time …. paddling your customized, newly completed hand made kayak on the waters of the Huon River. We have just one spot left in our Skin on Frame Kayak Course which starts on Monday 24th September. The course finishes on Saturday 29th September. The cost is only $2750 , which includes all tuition and materials AND you get to take the kayak and its paddle home with you. Don’t miss out … call us now 03 62663586 or email your interest to

Julie Collins visits the shed

 Christina Kent, Francis Shepherd, Anne Holst, Julie Collins, Alan Cato and Graham Rankin in front of the metal work area that is having a facelift.

Christina Kent, Francis Shepherd, Anne Holst, Julie Collins, Alan Cato and Graham Rankin in front of the metal work area that is having a facelift.

On Thursday last week Julie Collins, member for Dennison, came to have a look at the works that have recently been done as part of grant funding received through a 'Stronger Communities' grant.  This grant allowed us to replace an old section of roof on the upper workshop.  It also funded materials for the reorganisation of the tool storage area under the Mezzanine, instalation of a door between the two bottom workshops and will see external painting of the bottom workshop soon, once it warms up a little.  

Thanks so much for this community support Julie.

Prospectus now available for 2 year Wooden Boatbuilding: Craft Career Course

We are pleased to launch the Prospectus for our Craft Career Course that will begin next year, after the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  The course will cover most aspects of wooden boatbuilding and give students significant experience working in a wooden boatbuilding shed alongside experienced boatbuilders/shipwrights working in industry.  

For more information See or call Anne on + 61 3 6266 3586

Student places are competitive and open till 14th December 2018.

Annual General Meeting - Franklin Working Waterfront Association



Annual General Meeting

Is to be held at Franklin Primary School on Sunday 23rd September 2018 at 2pm


Confirm Minutes of 2017 AGM

Annual Reports

Changes to Constitution by Special Resolution

Election of Office Bearers

(Nominations close at 5pm on 13th September, 2018

Nomination forms available at the Wooden Boat Centre)

Appointment of Auditor

General Business

You can support your local community and the Wooden Boat Centre by joining  the Franklin Working Waterfront Association.  Membership is only $10 per annum.

Membership forms are available at The Woden Boat Centre



Canadian Canoe Raffle Winner Drawn

 Anne Holst, Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre and Pete Heading, Shipwright and the builder of the Canadian Canoe 

Anne Holst, Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre and Pete Heading, Shipwright and the builder of the Canadian Canoe 

On Monday we drew the winning ticket in our Canadian Canoe Raffle ....... Congratulations to Steve Laidlaw from Nelson Bay in New South Wales.  Thank you to all who participated in this our first raffle.  Your support is very much appreciated as we continue our work to preserve the craft of wooden boat building.  Thank you also to Jen Tubman, Master Ticket Seller and to Dennis Muscovitch and Richard Forster, who volunteered their time to help Pete Heading with the build.

 Jen Tubman and Anne Holst call the winner.

Jen Tubman and Anne Holst call the winner.

Greg Guy Remembered by John Young


Last Friday evening we gathered in the boat shed to remember our colleague and friend Greg Guy, who died just one year ago.  John Young, founder with his wife, Ruth, of the Wooden Boat Centre gave the following address.

" About a year ago we all knew that |Greg was about to die, so we decided to have a wake with him, while he was still with us. I was asked to help us remember what a "man for all seasons" he was, with his integrity, his sense of purpose, his energy and leadership, from which his country, his state, and his region, the Huon Valley, and his own final community in Franklin had received enormous benefits.

His response, in the shadow of his own death, was an extraordinary demonstration of cool courage and thinking.  He thanked us all for the opportunities which arise, in small communities for "making a difference".

First as a distinguished Marine artist, then as Chairman of the Huon Arts group, and the Lovett Gallery in Cygnet, then as the Tasmanian representative on the committee of the Australian Society of Marine Artists. He was also an eminent artist himself.

After moving to Franklin from Deep Bay for domestic reasons,and thanks Lyn, for bringing him here, he took on the difficult job of chairing the Franklin Working Waterfront Association, and keeping the boat school in the hands of the Franklin community.

As a casual member of staff Greg ran courses on a range of disciplines from tying knots to general nautical knowledge, boat building, and coastal navigation.  For years he used his teaching abilities and his historical understanding to act as an inspirational tour guide.

He was an important part of the foundation process of the Working Waterfront Association. He put a lot of energy into devising its constitution and defing its purposes.They include:the revival of a unique, two year, Associate degree in traditional wooden boat building,providing public nautical education.

He designed a small slipway for a vital course on repair and maintenance of small displacement vessels and also to provide local employment and gain income for the school.

He concluded his speech by reminding us of our constitutional commitment to build a Merchant Schooner.

Greg told me, shortly before he died, that when he recovered from cancer, he would again stand for election to the Franklin Working Waterfront committee.

We cannot replace him.  But we can be informed by his vision for the future, of Franklin and Tasmania, for which we are all collectively responsible."

John Young  17 August 2018. 


Skin On Frame Kayak Course


Have you ever dreamed of building and owning your own Skin on Frame Kayak? Are you free for a week in September?  We have vacancies in our September Course from 24th to 29th. You will make a fully sea ready kayak with Greenland paddle in just six days.   The course fee is just $2750 and includes all your materials and tuition.  The experience is, of course, priceless.    Call 03 62663586 or email   to book your place.  


Job Vacancy at the Wooden Boat Centre

Lead Instructor Wooden Boatbuilding

The Wooden Boat Centre is seeking an experienced wooden boatbuilder to lead a 2 year ‘non – accredited ’training course in all aspects of the craft of wooden boatbuilding.  It is expected that the successful applicant will provide excellence in educational delivery to adult students, professional and technical advice and expertise in all aspects of wooden boatbuilding and restoration.

Employment type: 24-month contract with potential for contract extension.  The successful candidate will enjoy 8 weeks personal leave pro rata. 

(This position has a 12 week probationary period to assess employee suitability and ensure adequate student numbers in the 2 year training course).

Essential Criteria:

  • Extensive wooden boatbuilding knowledge, skills and experience in new builds and heritage restoration work;
  • Excellent small group instructional skills for quality learning experiences;
  • Proven ability to work independently or as part of a multidisciplinary teams;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Sound judgement in the application of technical skills and instructional practice;
  • A track record of encouraging successful engagement and individual/team project completion within identified timeframes;
  • Membership (formal or informal) of local, national and/or international wooden boat building and/or instructional networks;
  • Excellent organisational skills and attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated team player with a mature, professional approach combined with a positive attitude;
  • Experience working within a challenging and busy working environment. 

Applications close:  5 pm, 21st September 2018

For further information contact: Anne Holst on M:0456 071 377 or email