Australia’s oldest trading vessel still afloat was known for its grace under sail, endurance and speed.
“People loved it,” says TV and film producer Colin Grubb of the May Queen, a legendary 150-year-old Tasmanian trading ketch that stars in a new documentary, which premieres in Hobart on Wednesday.
“May Queen was a local hero in the regatta races. She won her first race when she was a year old in 1868 and finished racing in the 1950s. She was also the vital link to people in the Huon who had to get their food and furniture transported.”
Grubb, who developed and produced ABC TV’s Collectors series, is shown here with the May Queen at Constitution Dock where it is permanently moored.
He began filming the one-hour documentary, The Wake of the May Queen, in April last year. The independently funded production is presented by ABC Radio broadcaster Chris Wisbey, who retraces the ketch’s southern voyages to remote waterways, and talks to people about their memories of her heyday and restoration.
It includes archival footage, “incredible stills and stunning aerial and on-board shots of the May Queen under tow”.
Grubb says the one-off documentary, to mark the May Queen’s 150th birthday, is “the template” for The Ship Savers, a six-part documentary series in production, which celebrates the history of six great ‘living’ ships.
The Wake of the May Queen, State Cinema, North Hobart, next Saturday at 1pm, and on Monday, September 25 at 6pm