Museum ‘ropes in’ maritime trades for tall ships event

Five tall ships will fill Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbor from 28 August to 1 September in what will be the biggest gathering of traditional sailing ships seen in the Port since 1988. 

Three Dutch tall ships are visiting en-route to an International Fleet Review in Sydney. They are the bark Europa, the schooner Oostershelde and the fishing lugger Tecla.  The bark Europa was built in 1911 and today travels the oceans of the world.  Crewed by professionals and guests of all nationalities and ages, the 56 metre long ship was built in Hamburg and rebuilt and refurbished in Amsterdam.  The three-masted topsail schooner Oosterschelde, built in 1917, is the largest restored Dutch sailing ship and is a testament to the supreme skills of the Dutch shipbuilders.  Tecla, built in 1915 as a herring lugger, is a fast ship, rigged with two masts and carrying several suits of sails for heavy and light weather.

They will be joined by SA’s own Falie and One & All which will return to their berths on McLaren Wharf for the event.  Failie was actually built in the Netherlands in 1919 as a Dutch lugger.  It is the same class of vessel as the Tecla and was one of the last working ketches in SA.

The SA Maritime Museum is the host organiser for the tall ships’ visit and is proud to have brought this gathering of sail to South Australia.  Museum’s Director, Kevin Jones said ‘It will be thrilling to see a forest of masts return to the Inner Harbor, the traditional home of shipping in South Australia.  I am proud of our part in bringing these majestic ships to Adelaide.  Firstly, because this is such a great way to celebrate our maritime heritage.  And secondly, because one of the original purposes for building SA’s Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide was that it would help to lead the Port as a visitor centre.  Twenty five years later our museum has welcomed over two million visitors and we continue to bring people to the heritage precinct.’

The Museum is partnering with Renewal SA, the One and All and Falie and other local organisations to host the Tall Ships Festival on Saturday 31 August 2013 from 11am to 5.30pm on McLaren Wharf, Port Adelaide.  The free wharf-side festival will feature family activities including kids’ workshops, music performances, market stalls as well as food and beverage vendors.  Festival-goers will be able to admire the stunning spectacle of tall ships tethered to McLaren Wharf and take advantage of the rare chance to climb aboard the Dutch sailing ships between 11am and 5.30pm. 

As part of the Festival, the South Australian Maritime Museum will hold its own Festival of Maritime Trades. The Festival resurrects trades from the era of sail with a collection of craftsmen on-hand to demonstrate their handiwork.  These include a sail maker, shipwright, cooper, rope maker, model maker and blacksmith.  Biographies of each tradesman are attached.

And in another fitting tribute to the tall ships, the Museum’s latest exhibition Windjammers: the Last Grain Races tells the story of the men and women lucky enough to take part in the last days of sail.  Desperate to experience the romance of sail, prospective sailors flew from around the world just to be considered on the last grain race between ships Pamir and Passat in 1949.  There was public frenzy surrounding the voyage: Pamir received 100 fan letters a day and newspapers and magazines closely tracked each voyage.  The centrepiece of the exhibition is a striking collection of staged publicity photographs of sailors aboard Pamir prior to its departure from Port Victoria.  Windjammers: The Last Grain Races evokes the last days of commercial sail in Australia and the thrill and terror of those who faced the mountainous seas of Cape Horn. 

The Tall Ships Festival is funded by Renewal SA.