Last weekend, The Button Collective had the extreme pleasure to be welcomed aboard a Dutch-style Grand Banks Schooner for an overnight sailing voyage along the Hawkesbury River. This came about through a random
connection that was made at Falls Festival – one of those once-in-a-lifetime coincidences that result in an unbelievable situation. The unbelievable situation, for me, was sleeping – rugged up in my sleeping bag – on the netting which hung below the bowsprit at the front of the ship, as it was anchored overnight in America Bay, half way down the hawkesbury river. With the stars above, the sea below, and the strong winds blowing past me, I have never been so comfortable and so exposed to the elements at the same time in all my life.
The story of the ship’s construction is one of the most amazing ones I’ve ever heard. Pieter Heemstra, the captain of the ship, spent almost four decades slowly building it in his backyard. It was a bit of a “spare time” job by the sounds of it, and perhaps even more so an excuse for Pieter to spend a lot of time with his son. The ship was constructed from recycled materials, and, when completed, required an absolutely enormous crane to hoist it into the water. After some more wrangling (removing the masts and lowering the ship with weights to fit the thing under a bridge), the Woronora is now moored in Palm Beach Marina.
Apart from going on an amazing sailing adventure, The Button Collective have had other successes in Sydney – We played a very well-received show at The Angry Pirate – a themed bar in Redfern – as well as finding a house! Our new home – for the next three months, as least – is above a shop in Belmore, about 12km from the Sydney CBD.