By Andrew Nardi
PARADING their beautifully crafted small-scale ships, model ship enthusiasts are building excitement for their annual expo.
The Canberra Model Shipwrights Society will be kicking off the 25th annual Scale Model Ship Exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre over the September 21-22 weekend.
The society’s secretary, Ray Osmotherly, believes that the event will be an exciting opportunity to showcase the work of talented boat modellers from around the ACT, and all over Australia.
“We’re trying to bring the event to the public, to let them see the models, because some of them are absolutely fantastic”, he says.
A number of models have been crafted at the hands of hobbyists in the Canberra community, from groups such as ACT Scale Modellers Society, ACT Model Boats and Task Force 72. Ray believes that the expo also marks an important occasion to bring Australia’s boat modellers together.
“It really is a showpiece for the society, and the members, and to let each other see what we’re all making”, says Ray.
The Royal Australian Navy is also contributing to the exhibit, as commemoration for their 100th anniversary.
“Some men in uniform are going to be there, and they’ve got an exhibit to do with apprenticeships and training people to become shipbuilders. They’ve got all sorts of stuff that the apprentices have made,” he says.
The exhibition showcases nearly 150 model ships, ranging from historic vessels such as James Cook’s HMS “Endeavour” and Lord Nelson’s flagship, the HMS “Victory”, to modern Australian war vessels.
The HMS “Supply”, the oldest and smallest ship in the First Fleet, will be displayed at the expo as part of Ray’s works.
“That was the only ship that had ended up in Sydney after the first six months of the First Fleet. All of the other ships had gone back because they had been paid to do a job, to deliver convicts. That left this little thing to be the only contact Australia had with the rest of the world”, Ray explains.
He says he has been into crafting models since a young age, and his passion was sparked during his days as a schoolboy, when a caravan carrying model ships visited his primary school.
“He opened up the side of the van, and he had painted all of the background, the sea and everything, it was beautiful. After that, I started making a few models”, says Ray.
The ACT Government is funding the expo from its Centenary initiative, which Ray says has allowed the expo to upgrade to the Belconnen Arts Centre.
If the weather permits, some of the remote-controlled models will set sail on the high seas of Lake Ginninderra, adjacent to the centre.
“Another group will have radio-controlled models on the water. That’ll bring the crowd, I hope!”
The Scale Model Ship Exhibition, Belconnen Arts Centre, Saturday, September 21st from 9am-5pm, and on Sunday, September 22, 10am-4pm.