Experience living maritime history at Australia’s only traditional boat-building school.
Set on the banks of the Huon River at Franklin, the Wooden Boat Centre draws students from around Australia and beyond to study with respected shipwrights and craftsmen.
Courses range from fine woodworking, to the building of a clinker dinghy or kayak, to a year-long shipwright’s course.
“Looking through the workshop and seeing these beautiful vessels being brought to life, hearing the history behind the craft, and learning the boat-building process always seems to leave people with a new-found appreciation for these elegant and uniquely Tasmanian vessels,” says William Proud, the centre’s front-of-house manager.
“Some even leave with an urge to build a boat of their own.”
Home on the Huon
Founded in 1992, the centre’s idyllic home on the Huon is surrounded by chandleries, much-loved timber boats - including the 110-year-old steamship Cartela, built in the same year as the Titanic - and the gentle clinking of masts and lines.
It’s an apt setting for one of the most charming and enlightening boat-building centres in the country.
Franklin was once the point of departure for many of Tasmania’s exported apples. Today, the Wooden Boat Centre is exporting skills, with students setting sail on projects using revered specialty timbers such as Huon and King Billy pine.
“I get a lot of joy being part of a team that is actively preserving these skills,” says Proud. “We’re ensuring future generations can enjoy the craft of wooden boat building, and seeing people from all walks of life get that same sense of enjoyment, either as a student or a visitor, makes it all worthwhile.”
Need to know
Located on the riverfront at Franklin, the Wooden Boat Centre is a 40min drive (45km) south-west of Hobart. Open every day except Saturday, 10am-3pm in summer and to 2pm in winter. Tours run for 45min, and depart on demand.