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No 80 March 2011

Page history last edited by helen.halm@... 9 years, 5 months ago







 March  2011                                                      No.80                                              by  Helen Halm



Greetings from Goolwa where the sun shines, the Murray River flows, and the pelicans have returned from their fishing trip. Nevertheless, our Dawn has headed north on a well-deserved break.


It feels a little uncomfortable to rejoice in river water levels when too much water has caused so much grief. But during the 12th South Australian Wooden Boat Festival rejoice we did.


Established in 1989 at the initiative of Armfield Slip people “who love messing about in boats”,  it has drawn together so many of the threads which form the fabric of the River Port of Goolwa.

The much-loved greasy pole competition was a feature of earlier Boxing Day Regattas.  (The first Regatta was held in the early 1850’s). From the historic wharf  precinct to the new boardwalk at Hector’s  Jetty (acknowledging fisherman Hector Semaschko’s 40 year association with it and his boat Fairy Queen), the River Port was abuzz with people and boats.  The Oscar W paddled, steamed and was inspected.  Yachts sailed, putt-putts putted, and it was a delight to see so many wooden boats moored at the jetties which only last year stood high and dry.


Representatives of Goolwa’s first inhabitants, the Ngarrindjeri nation, displayed arts and taught intricate basket weaving from the freshwater rushes.


The lovingly restored little boat, a star of   the film “Storm Boy”, was relaunched.


The Rough and Ready Boat building competition introduced to Goolwa during the 1st Wooden Boat Festival   has been a feature of every Festival, even managing to launch in the almost-parched 2009.  Teams are supplied with 2 sheets of plywood, ties, and a generous supply of Sykaflex, then given two hours to construct a boat, to be raced the following day.  It has attracted participants from schools, TV personalities, and this year from the Maritime Museum.


Revisiting the very attractive Crabtree exhibition of 1993, Goolwa and Wooden Boats, the passion, Jude Crabtree provided an updated photographic history of the boats which have participated in Festivals, and included the history of the Milang to Goolwa Yacht Race.   I was delighted to see a selection of these pictures/stories now hanging in our Council Chambers.



Seventy-five members of 817 Naval Squadron  participated in a Freedom of Entry Parade through their adopted town, Goolwa.  Since 1987 members have been billeted with Goolwa residents while participating in local functions, and they evidently enjoyed the experience. This visit was tinged with sadness for the Sea King helicopters will be decommissioned later this year, and this was the Squadron’s last visit.


Good news gleaned at the Festival included the return of the Milang to Goolwa Yacht Race for Jan. 2012  ( insufficient water in the Murray and Lake for several years),  and an update on the clipper City of Adelaide which will be based at Port Adelaide.   It was pleasing to hear that Goolwa was able to provide ample evidence that enthusiastic volunteers can restore historic vessels well. 


Much information about New Zealand, (which had the potential to be lost in recent earthquakes), is now available through Ancestry.com.  Their February Newsletter advised that 20 million NZ records are now available online, including Canterbury Provincial Rolls 1868-1874, NZ Naturalisations 1848-1908 and NZ Electoral Rolls 1853 – 1981.  New Zealand’s wiki http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/en/site continues to grow and is another external source. 


As I struggled to reproduce a  home video recently  I was again reminded how important it is to keep transferring  material as technology changes (and if possible to keep the equipment which created it).   It’s sometimes a long haul eg from a truly floppy disc to a floppy disc to a terabyte external hard drive. And from early word processors to Word  or spreadsheets to today’s Excel.  But that old information represents so much valuable effort.


I enjoyed exploring the highways and byways of the net, compactus and books in our History Room

to check details for this Newsletter.  I realised again that the more I learn, the more I am aware how little I know.  If you have more or differing information, please let us know.  And if you would like to explore further the following are suggested:-


http://alexhistory.pbworks.com – interviews with Richard Spencer, Betty Kempe and Roly Bartlett (now OAM).  The publication From Saddles to Seahawks by Frank Tuckwell

http://www.cityofadelaide.org.au         http://www.gryc.com.au

http://www.cittaslowgoolwa.com.au    http://www.oscar-w.info/

http://www.ngarrindjeri.com               http://aiatsis.gov.au/research/conf






for photos see pdf version 


Back to History Room Newsletters




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