Before I left Sydney I did a few days working on restoring a boat in Pyrmont. The boat, "The Kanangra", is actually part of the Sydney Heritage Fleet. A group of people are working together voluntarily to restore the old ferry back to her former glory. She was originally built in 1912 (you can read more about her here).
I was able to go along a couple of times and do some work on the ship. The men there were all really nice and their woodworking and craftsmanship skills was superb! The boat is located on James Craig drive and is currently next to the John Oxley (which is on dry dock at the moment). They are hoping in two years the top level of the Kanangra will be complete and they can then move the ferry up onto dry dock to complete the bottom level.
At the moment they are working on re-glassing the entire top level window. It is quite fascinating because due to the curve in the ship, every window is a different shape! So they have had to make sure they have clear markings on each glass panel before they remove it.
When I went I was given the job of removing old paint from the wooden bench seats. This involved using a 600oC air gun and a paint scraper and just melting away the paint then scraping it off. I had to wear a mask for safety. It was pretty cool.
It is encouraging to know that there are people in Sydney who are working (for free) to restore and maintain part of our heritage in this way. It is no doubt going to be a project that will take years to complete, but I am very much looking forward to seeing it in its restored glory. Hopefully one day I can have a trip on it.
Oh and by the way, the Fleet Committee have decided on restoring it inline with the colours and style of the 1950's!