Svanen to slip at Wollongong.
By Peter Andrews, © May 24, 2001.

At the end of this month, the three masted barquentine 'Svanen', built in 1922, will spend a couple weeks out of the water at Wollongong Harbour. This seventy nine year old wooden tall ship has been a regular visitor to Wollongong. Sailing down every year for the last decade from Sydney,  

'Svanen', sailing back into Sydney Harbour on December 27,1998. 


the local slip has been a great site to carry out the ship's annual maintenance. The ship will first arrive to anchor in Port Kembla's outer Harbour around sunset on Monday May 28. With a draught of 3.3 metres, Wollongong Harbour is too shallow to accommodate the 'Svanen' through a low tide. 

Sailing down to Wollongong in 1999 from Sydney. This shot was taken just off Sydney's eastern suburbs. 


Arriving to stand just off Wollongong around 11:00 PM Tuesday, it will take about an hour to pull the ship out of the water on the high tide, and another to have it fully supported. As the margin for getting the ship into the cradle and out of the water is fairly narrow, preparation of the slipway is crucial. 

Up in the cradle during the Wollongong Harbour slip in 1999. 


After a busy night ensuring the ship is stable in the cradle, the ship's crew and volunteers will commence maintenance the following morning. It is expected the program should last anywhere from around 2 to 3 weeks. 

As with the Olympic Games, tall ships like 'Svanen' would not be able to survive without the help of dedicated volunteers.  


And perhaps the most dedicated regular volunteer on 'Svanen' is Rob Jones. Known by all in the tall ship network as Farmer, he has traveled up from his home town of Sale in Victoria almost every year to work on the slip.   

Svanen standing off Wollongong Harbour, mid 1999. 


There is always plenty of work while the ship is high and dry and any assistance from any local volunteers is always highly appreciated. As for any people who wish to participate, they just need to turn up at the slip in work cloths and boots and ask for the captain, Steve Grono. 
Svanen's home berth is at Campbells Cove (The Rocks) in Sydney. Throughout the year, the ship participates in sail training and various other charters on Sydney Harbour, including a number of charity functions. 'Svanen' also manages to get outside Sydney Heads for regular offshore trips up and down the NSW Coast.   
Sydney Heads, December 27, 1998. 

Constructed of oak and as noted above, 'Svanen' was built in 1922 for a brewing company in Denmark.


Between 1922 and 1969, the ship regularly crossed the North Sea as a grain carrier between Denmark & Greenland. With ice being always a hazard in these far northern waters, the ship's bow was strengthened during the initial construction to cope with any light ice work. The ship first appeared in Australian waters in 1988 when it was the sail training vessel for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. 

Svanen, standing off Wollongong Harbour in 1998. 


Back then, 'Svanen' was one of the participating tall ships in the historic voyage from the United Kingdom to celebrate Australia's Bicentennial First Fleet Reenactment. 


40 metres


27.2 metres


8.2 metres


3.3 metres


24 metres

Peter Andrews © 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Svanen's Web Site:

Svanen's July 2004 Weekend Offshore.
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Peter Andrews © 2001. All Rights Reserved