Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wildlife at the Boatshop

I'm starting the year's posts with a slightly off-subject entry. It is now six years since we moved away from our coastal workshop to live and work in Esk, Queensland, Australia. Although we only moved 100 kilometres (62 miles), the move was directly to the west - away from the coast. Many people thought we were mad, but we needed to locate ourselves in a quieter place, further away from the scores of casual visitors who had been in the shop at all hours. I like talking to people about boats, and I particularly enjoy explaining building procedures, and therein lay the problem. I was spending long hours in the shop, but not getting enough paying work done!

The old workshop in Wynnum. The office is under the sign at the far left, and workshop area extends to beyond the far right of the photo - it was a paradise!

Looking through the building from just outside the office. Notice the wooden floor and low ceiling - perfect for boatbuilding.
Well, moving into a rural area where horse-floats and cattle trucks outnumber the boats 500 to 1 may seem like a dumb thing to do, but we had our reasons (mostly financial). As it has turned out, we are very happy and enjoy the quiet surroundings. There is a 35 kilometre-long lake just down the road, and if we want to get to salt water it is only an hour-and-a-half by the highway.

The Esk workshop. Since this photo was taken there have been improvements, such as a concrete slab under the lean-to, but it is still basically 9metres x 10.5 metres (29ft x 34ft) of concrete under tin sheds, and a separate 6 metre x 6 metre storage shed. However, I work alone most of the time, assisted by my wonderful wife when things get tough, so I am pretty happy with what I have.
Inside one of the workshops
Being in the bush has its inconveniences, but the advantages outweigh the negatives many times over for a hermit like me. One of the significant benefits is that we get to observe native wildlife at close range, and come to take it all for granted.

Possum in a model aircraft
My wife with a totally wild Rainbow Lorikeet
Same fellow up close after eating apple
A King Parrot - once again, totally wild
A Koala ten paces from the workshop door
A buck Wallaby making friends with our cat through the front door glass!

For those of you who may be interested in Australian wildlife, here is a youtube video which I shot over the last couple of days. The quality is not high, as I didn't have a tripod, and there was too much backlight in some frames - but if you have never seen a Wallaby Joey in its mother's pouch, or seen a Koala climb a tree, take a look. All shots were taken within five yards of our door!

These photos may not show you how to build a boat, but I can assure you that the presence of these animals helps me to retain some perspective on what is important in life, and I'm sure that my building and designing benefits as a result.....

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