From the Boathouse

The Boathouse is staffed on most days of the week by a volunteer who acts as guide to the history of The River, the history of the building of Independence and ambassador for the project. RIG is always seeking more volunteers. If you are available and interested, chat to the folk at the Boathouse and become a part of this exciting community project.

(Click on image for full-size photo)  Last updated 17 November 2018

What's happening at RIG


17 November 2018.  All frames now being complete, the lofting table is removed so that the built frames can be positioned.  Soon, we'll have a boat in the boathouse!


30 April 2018: RIG was honoured to be presented with a model of Independence.  Peter and Joyce Chapman, from Noosaville in Queensland, visited RIG last year.  Peter's hobby is building model boats and he offered to build a scale model of Independence.  This he did and presented the model to RIG on his return to KI this year.  The pictures show Peter and Joyce with the model as well as some RIG member at an informal reception to thank Peter for his hard work.   The model will be on display at the boathouse.

18 January 2018:

The first of the Thursday evening workshops was held on 18 January and was enjoyed by the 10 people who took part, despite the high temperatures. Many members lost several kilos in weight as a result, so it had a dual result!

Bob Imeson (RIG Boat Builder) and Alan Thomas lofted out the stem ready for pattern making. Greg Roberts and his team kept the pattern making and transcribing flowing. While Peter May and his team kept the band saw in motion and the finishing of the sections. The end result was the sections finished for Frame 28 and the first sections of Frames 12 and 10 completed.

Thanks to Bob for his technical input and preparation, Greg for playing Chef for the sausage sizzle and also to John Ayliffe for providing two fine carvings for the boathouse, which were affixed by John and Tony Klieve.

21 November 2017: John Noble of Kingscote has kindly donated the “Josephene”, together with trailer to RIG.   “Josephene “ is a Roberts 32’ built by John, now 97, in the 80’s. She has a Gardner 3LW engine with massive gearbox, 3 blade prop, as well as keel lead and numerous fittings which will be available for the “Independence” build. RIG acknowledges John's generosity and will move the vessel to American River in the coming weeks.

Late October 2017: Not strictly speaking "From the Boathouse" but most of you will know that there is a model of Independence at the junction of Hog Bay and American River Roads.  This model attracts much touristic attention. The pictures show Peter May and his mate Peter “Gob” preparing to go aloft to repair the halyard block on the model. This was made easy by the kind donation of Peter's crane. Block repaired, halyard re threaded & some shrouds tightened.

30 September 2017: RIG had a stand at the annual Adelaide Show and sold raffle tickets in aid of the project.  The prize was a holiday on Kangaroo Island for which thanks go to Sealink and Cooinda Holiday Village.   The picture shows the American River postmaster, Peter Wales, drawing the lucky winner's ticket closely supervised by Bob Imeson, David Churchill, Dianne Imeson, Glen Churchill and Irene Halley.

22 July 2017: Each frame needs to have a "floor" added to which the keel will eventually be attached.  The photos show Greg bolting the floor in place under the sharp guidance of Bob the master builder.  Greg's apprentice looks on in awe.  The second photo shows the next frame being lifted out and moved to the lofting table where it will receive its floor soon.

20 May 2017: Today the seventh frame was installed.   This will be the last for a wee while as other parts will now be constructed and prepared for installation.

13 May 2017: Some of the boat building team in action doing the next frame for Independence. 

Early May 2017:

Tony and Greg went to the big city on a mission to inspect some hoop pine which has been donated to RIG by an arborist at Smithfield. The timber was milled from a hoop pine which was planted in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens back in the 1850s and is in very good condition. Help will be needed to get it to American River.

They then carried on to address a meeting of the Trailer Sailer Association of South Australia about what we are doing at American River. After a night at Kevin's getting to know each other really well, the intrepid pair were interviewed by Ali Clark for ABC 891 and the interview was broadcast on Thursday 4 May.   The interview can be heard on the ABC's website here - it starts at about 1h40m30s into the programme and you can easily scroll forward to that point.

The photos show Tony with the hoop pine; and Tony presenting a RIG pennant to the President of TSASA, Steve Lewis.

30 April 2017 This week the sixth frame was added to the Independence and another successful Boathouse Bazaar was held over the weekend.  If you would like a souvenir but can't make the BB, we have a selection of artisan produced wooden artifacts available whenever the boathouse is open..
25-26 March 2017   Buy a Plank Scheme tops 750!
The Rebuild Independence Group has instituted a “buy a plank” scheme since its inception. This scheme has proved to be very popular with the visiting public, both at the RIG Boathouse and at various markets around the island. This week saw the number of plank purchasers top 750.  Visitors are encouraged to support the RIG concept by purchasing a plank for $20. The purchaser has his/her name written on a mock-up boat hull, receives an inscribed plank and gets a warm fuzzy feeling from adding meaningful support to this project. Many locals have bought planks and have been joined by folk from all over the world. At the Boathouse Bazaar held at the wharf this weekend people from Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States all had their names added to the “Plank Wall”. Truly wonderful international support. Souvenirs & bric-a-brac were also purchased over the weekend by visitors to both the Deck cafe & the RIG Boathouse.The Boathouse Bazaar takes place over the last weekend of each month & lends atmosphere to the wharf precinct as well as fundraising for RIG.

The actual construction of the schooner is proceeding apace. At the present date, 27 March 2017, five frames of double planked spotted gum have been erected into place.Following the lofting or drawing up process the spotted gum planks are measured and sawn to the hulls curve, both frame sides are overlapped with a second frame and epoxied together. The Sydney Blue Gum keel has been cut and lofting of the remaining frames continues.

15 March 2017 We were delighted to welcome Rebekah Sharkie, Member for Mayo and Tony Smith, Speaker of the House of Representatives.  They spent some time in the Boathouse before having lunch in the adjacent Deck Cafe.  Pictures show David Churchill and Tony Klieve explaining the project to our visitors; and the whole gang enjoying Cath's "Square Meal" lunch.

11 March 2017. 3 frames are now in place and you can see clearly the shape of the vessel.  The front frame is considerable narrower because it is close to the bows.


14 January 2017.  Ian Moffat, Flinders Uni Archaeology Dept., is working on creating a grid pattern to help in determining where the original Independence was constructed.
Left: L to R - Tony Klieve, Glenn Wingate, Judith Wingate, Ian Moffat, David Churchill, Glenn Churchill
Right: Ian with some of his gear which included a drone and a large kite.  Great on a windy day like today.

Midships frame in place
Mid December 2016:
Left - Constructing the first frame: 18 December 2016.  Greg Roberts (L) and Bob Imeson. 
Right -  First frame (Midships) in place: 20 December 2016.  L to R: Tony Klieve, Bob Imeson, Greg Roberts, David Churchill
Independence Boathouse opening ceremony, 4th October 2015

Photos of American River
The Wharf and Independence Boathouse, and looking north from the boat ramp.

The anchorage; by day, at sunrise and at sunset.

Representation of the Independence at DJ's Corner.

Alan Noble,
19 Oct 2015, 00:13
Alan Noble,
18 Oct 2015, 21:35
Alan Noble,
14 Oct 2015, 23:10
Alan Noble,
18 Oct 2015, 21:40