Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Upfront - WORDS PENNY McLEOD PHO­TOG­RA­PHY CHRIS KIDD

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

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