Iconic festival sails into well-deserved recognition

AUSTRALIAN Wooden Boat Festival deputy chairman Peter Higgs has commended the 435 registered volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure last year’s event sailed smoothly.

The festival was named the City of Hobart’s 2015 Community Event of the Year at the recent Australia Day celebrations.

“More than 220,000 people attended the 2015 festival over the four days, which is a 10 per cent increase on 2013 figures,” Mr Higgs said.

“Reliable postcode data from a comprehensive survey indicates 37 per cent of attendees came from interstate and two per cent from overseas.

“This represents at least $60 million in direct tourism spending in the Hobart region.

“Importantly, the local community also benefits from a sense of pride and celebration in our shared history.”

Mr Higgs said the biennial festival’s success was a testament to its volunteers.

One volunteer, Dr Graham Bury, has been contributing to the Wooden Boat Festival since its inception.

“I have always been interested in volunteering as a way of giving something back to our community,” Dr Bury said.

“Although I am not a ‘boatie’ as such, there is so much a ‘land-lubber’ can do at the festival and still get immense satisfaction.

“I have worked in a number of capacities and particularly enjoy the maritime history themes and the hilarity of the ‘Quick ‘n’ Dirty’ challenge.”

Dr Bury said the best advice he could give anyone considering being a Wooden Boat Festival volunteer was “do not hold back.”

“Just do it and enjoy the experience,” he said.

Mr Higgs said anyone wishing to volunteer for the 2017 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival would be very welcome.

“We need all sorts of skills, ranging from a great telephone manner and a patient smile to getting a vintage Seagull engine started in the morning,” he said.

If you are interested in volunteering at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival email office@australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au

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The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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