Newcastle National Maritime Festival
This year's National Maritime Festival at Newcastle was just held in October. There was both tradional and new boats. The main attractions were
HMAS Tobruk and the tall ships James Craig and Svanen. HMAS Tobruk is a multi-purpose troop carrier with heavy amphibious lifting capability.
She can transport most vehicles of the Australian Army and 520 troops can board the ship with ease. HMAS Tobruk has been recently deployed to
operational theatres in East Timor, the Solomons, Bougainville and the Middle East. The Newcastle National Maritime Festival sees the return of
the Tobruk to her home port in many ways, because the ship was built in Newcastle at Carrington Slipways. My little boy wanted to go on board so we
lined up in this massive line and there were security men checking with machines and turning people away with cameras. They even turned me away because
I had a drink. It was very badly organised and created a lot of ill feeling among the hot cranky crowd. They could have told people before they lined up
that cameras and drinks and bags were not allowed. Disgraceful behaviour.
Historic wooden tall ships the James Craig and Our Svanen made the trip up from Sydney for the Newcastle National Maritime Festival. I was all agog
as I waited for the James Craig to come sailing around the headland at Nobby's with full sails but unfortunately it was a howling North Easter blowing
and she was under steam. I was very disappointed. But on the Sunday I went on board and inspected the ship and talked to some of the crew. She has a steel
hull and steel lower masts fore and main. Remarkably the James Craig has a capacity of 1000 tons and originally had no mid deck which has been
put in by the tall ship restoration team. I never went on the Svanen because the day was so hot and the traffic was horrendous so I just turned around
and went home.
The Newcastle National Maritime Festival had the high-speed catamaran Aqua Spirit which travelled from Broken Bay. She provided free tours of the working port
throughout the day from the Queen's Wharf on the hour. Also on the agenda was the Port Hunter 16' Sailing Skiff Club races, an Outrigger race, CYC sailing
boat races, Aeor Fly Past and Windsurfing Ballet. A highlight of the Newcastle Maritime Festival is the Tug Boat Ballet where the tug boats of Newcastle
Harbour do a choregraphed routine wheeling about and firing their water cannons and making lots of foam. It is a sensational sight and even better
when you are on board. Ski Racing was conducted all along the Newcastle Foreshore along with Canoe Polo and Navy Divers. Another highlight of the
day was the Mattara Maritime Parade on Hunter Street.
Baudin & Flinders