The Croker Boat

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A dragon boat built on Croker Island will be donated to the community at its 23 October launch.

Construction of the seven-metre long vessel, dubbed The Croker Boat,has been a months-long project involving more than 25 Mamaruni School students.

The builders are years 6 to 12 shipwrights who have advanced the wooden craft from design to final stage fibreglassing and painting.

Jotham Krom, teacher and leader of the manufacturing program, said on an island with a proud seagoing history the interest shown by the elders has “uplifted the students”.

“The most challenging aspect of construction was correctly laying out the boat’s dimensions,” he said.

“Measurements had to be checked and double checked to make sure the boat could be assembled seamlessly.

“On an island with no hardware store an inaccurate cut could delay the project.

“The students have learned to work systematically and to a high quality, exercise initiative, work in a team, and practise workplace safety.

“Making the boat has enhanced students’ numerical and communication skills, their concentration, and their capacity to persevere and independently use hand tools.

“During this venture we’ve heard stories about dugout canoe voyages, Macassan traders, and traditional canoe hunting methods.

“And an elder brought a photo of a large wooden boat she helped build when she was a child.”

Mr Krom said the handover of the boat to the community was postponed to allow more students to participate in its manufacture.

“It will be up to the elders to decide how the boat will be displayed and used,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be used for social activities that promote team building and a healthy lifestyle.

“The dream is to train a team of enthusiastic paddlers and enter a sponsored dragon boat race in Darwin.”

The Croker Boat

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