Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Ferry interesting

I'm now tackling the second piece of my intended opus and I'm focusing on my memories as a child of travelling on the trans-Derwent ferries in Hobart. My aunty Francie was living in Bellerive at that time and the ferry trip was the quickest and best way of crossing the Derwent. For some reason I want to make a piece of work celebrating these memories.

But which ferry to portray? The waters still held many of them in my early lifetime. My favourite was the Cartela (mainly because it began with the letter C and I had a preference for the letter C!) But Cartela was an excursion ferry and ranged far and wide up and down the Derwent. It was a special occasion to travel on the excursion ferries. The main timetabled ferries plying the Hobart-Bellerive route were the Derwent and the Rosny, double-ended and fast. When I knew them they'd been converted to diesel, as had the excursion ferries, their towering smoke stacks replaced with streamlined little modern caps. But at peak hour and holidays out would come the old back up ferry, SS Reemere. I'll never forget, on a bitter winter crossing, escaping my mother and finding my way to that big opening in her side were one could gaze down at the steam boiler and the men working her. The sensations of heat, sounds, the smell of burning coal, the flash of polished brass and the grime of grease and coal dust are indelible memories. I stood beside the men and other fascinated children and gave my heart to the steamers in all their grimy glory.

So that is why I'm using the Reemere as my inspiration even though she was less than pretty. You can see from the pictures that she went through three stages of development, from her construction in 1909 to her second phase, probably after purchase by the Reemere Steamship Co in 1926, to her final stage in 1942. Sadly she was later converted to a fishing boat and after an aborted attempt to restore her, she's ended up on a lake in NSW, possibly as a house boat.

Finally, here is a gratuitous shot of the Cartela in her glory days.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Winter woes and wonders

My first piece is finished! I can't unveil it yet but here's a teaser! (It's actually based on a photo of me aged about 3 years old.) Once I got started on the piece which has been planned for two or three years, the process has been quite enjoyable, though it's been hard work and frustratingly difficult to find the consecutive days to keep the flow going. The weather's been so cold and I've developed my first head cold of the year.

To cap it all, we had a switchboard meltdown last Thursday at the Primary School and the electrician had to turn the power off. And off it has remained till yesterday - Tuesday - afternoon. On Monday we expected it to be fixed but the school remained in darkness and it was so cold. Two classes were sent to rooms in the High School and two to the Community Complex. The other classes huddled and had a lot of Phys Ed! The poor old switchboard, which dated back to the 1960's, was apparently just too old and bits kept disintegrating. Our new swimming pool is on a separate switchboard so they ran an extension cord up to the office and we were able to get the phones functioning, the PA and a heater for Rachael. But no computers, no photocopiers and no laminator. It has been all rather boring, especially when you can see all that work piled up and waiting to be done. I'm going to be snowed under tomorrow when I go.