THE South Australian Maritime Museum's latest exhibition, Messing About in Boats, celebrates the history of sail and marks major milestones for some of the biggest names in boating: the 100th anniversary for the ketch Falie, the 150th anniversary of the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron and the 150th anniversary for boat builders A McFarlane and Son.
The exhibition presents a collection of life-size portraits by photographer Annette Willis and a rich collection of artefacts that tell stories of working ketches, building timber boats and sailing just for pleasure.
"The Port is changing dramatically. These celebrations of sail evoke a time when the sound of caulking mallets rang out from the boat yards crowding Fletcher's Slip, wooden sail boats skimmed across the Inner Harbor, and ketches still connected city to country," said senior curator Lindl Lawton.
"Messing about in Boats celebrates the survival of these organisations against the odds and the remarkable characters that shaped their histories."
In 1869, seven amateurs met in a Port Adelaide pub to establish the South Australian Yacht Club. They held their first race on New Year's Day 1870 and built a tin shed in the swamps of Outer Harbor to serve as their clubroom several decades later.
It was also 150 years ago that Alexander McFarlane built his boatyard, bringing to Port Adelaide a heritage that was forged on Scotland's River Clyde. Others joined him, jostling for space along the Inner Harbor and carving out a community that shared traditions and tools.
The ketch Falie was launched 100 years ago. It was bought by a group of South Australian farmers and worked the coast until 1982.
Portraits by photographer Annette Willis highlight the personal stories and precious mementos of seafarers and boat builders connected to the port's long history of messing about in boats.
The exhibition will run until November 10.
Museum admission: $15,$9,$6,$34.50
08 8207 6255 maritime.history.sa.gov.au
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