The Ship That Never Was

Sunday 14th February 2016

 

We arrived in Strahan late afternoon, and went straight to the Visitors’ Centre on the foreshore.  We planned to see ‘The Ship That Never Was’, a theatrical production performed each day at 1700 in the outdoor theatre next door, and wanted to buy our tickets in advance, as today would be our only chance to see it.  Tickets bought, we then headed off to buy tickets for a tour of Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River on Tuesday.  With our train trip already booked for tomorrow, we were happy that we had now arranged everything we planned to do here in Strahan, and so went off in search of our motel.

 

The office was locked when we arrived, but an envelope containing our room keys was taped to the door as promised.  We had time to unload our stuff from the car and settle ourselves into a very pleasant room overlooking the bay, before setting off into town once more.

 

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A very pleasant room with a view over to the centre of town across the bay.

 

We arrived in good time for the performance, took one of the woolly blankets from the pile near the door and found a seat beneath the sailcloth cover just in case the grey clouds kept their promise of rain.  The play began a few minutes later, when the lady in the ticket booth closed up and took her place on stage beside the one other actor.

 

‘The Ship That Never Was’ is the story of the ship ‘Frederick’, the last ship built at Sarah Island, a convict settlement in Macquarie Harbour.  Set in 1834, the ship is about to be sailed to the new prison at Port Arthur, but ten convict shipwrights have other ideas.  The play tells the story of the ten convicts’ escape from Sarah Island aboard the ‘Frederick’, and their ultimate capture and trial in an amusing and engaging way, using the audience to augment the cast of two. 

 

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The ten convict shipwrights who escaped.                                                            The stage at the beginning of the story – the shipyard at Sarah Island.

 

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The ship begins to take shape.                                                                                   Members of the audience take on various roles.

 

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The last of the sails is hoisted and the ship is ready to sail.

 

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One of the actors took on different roles by standing behind cutouts. 

 

The performance was highly enjoyable, great fun and at times hilarious.  The two actors were full of energy and worked so well together to tell their tale.  What a great way to learn more about the convict history of Tasmania.