The Blundstone Big Log Project (Pt II)

An Australian Wooden Boat Festival Initiative (Pt II of III)

The Arrival

AWBF 2015, Hobart, Tasmania

Images: © Eric Graudins and Greg Norris | BALLANTYNE Photography Courtesy of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival

Something was happening. There was a buzz around the town. Rumours were flying. Could it be true?

Away from it all in an obscure, unnamed backlot, a quiet team went about their business. Yolks were positioned, leather straps tightened, gentle snorting as beasts were harnessed. Finally a dray was hitched, with the timber logs secured. Nobody could have expected what happened next. What was certain, is they were about to rewrite history!

A final circle of the yard to check that load and beasts were secure and they headed for the gates. The steel tyres on the wheels crunching gravel as they began a long forgotten journey.

Departing the gates the gravel turned to brick. The back lot gave way to huge storage sheds and time honoured industrial buildings. A little further these all gave way to one of Hobart's main thoroughfares and the magic began.


This was the first time in over 100 years that bullock teams hauling goods had been seen on Hobart's streets and it didn't go unnoticed. Traffic slowed as mobile phones appeared from passenger windows snapping pictures. Morning commuters walking the sidewalks stopped and captured their own versions.

And those rumours turned to reality! Crowds flocked from everywhere to see an historic sight. With every step of the team the numbers multiplied again. Cameras appeared from everywhere. Videos were recorded and then they began to clap and cheer.


It would have been no surprise to see the Bullocks spooked but they pressed on stoically and majestically all the while with quiet words from their master. Almost as if they had been doing it for a hundred years and this was just another day. 

Just as they did, all those years ago the bullock team arrived at the waterfront and Shipwrights Village. This, however, was 2015. Shipwrights Village was a new addition. An addition courtesy of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.


Here the Bullock team would complete their journey and the Shipwrights would take charge of the delivered timber. In a few short hours, with adze, axe, hammer, spike, lathe and others, they would be turned into a myriad of products ready for market. All part of this unique demonstration of yesteryear skills.

With the load discharged and the way cleared the Bullock Team left as quietly as they had arrived. Their day was not done though. There was one final surprise still to come.

Join us next week for the third and final part. The traditional Tasmanian Journey delivering the goods manufactured in Hobart to historic and notorious, Port Arthur Penitentiary.

With grateful thanks to Brian Fish and Dale Lester for their extraordinary demonstration of Heritage Bush Skills

The Blundstone Big Log Project was an Australian Wooden Boat Festival initiative to illustrate traditional skills and crafts involved in harvesting, manufacturing and shipping timber products over a century ago.

© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography Travel and Events Photography and Editorials

See more of this Heritage demonstration, in our latest Gallery of images

To read Pt I of this series