Through the restoration and use of the Aegir, the PHBC will continue building community through social inclusion – working with our strong established links with schools, colleges, youth mentoring programs, Job-Search organisations and TAFE outreach training.
The project will return the Aegir to its original authentic sailing condition, and then see its operation as an ongoing educational, mentoring, sail-cadetship and leadership training enterprise on Sydney Harbour and offshore.
We hope that the Aegir can be a core from which communication and networks within and across our communities develop, and people of all walks of life can be inspired and involved.
When in 2008 the opportunity arose to purchase the 23-metre longship Jorgen Jorgenson, the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club realised the vessel had potential to create a long-term social project that would galvanise an entire community.
Built in Perth in 1985, the Jorgen Jorgenson (we have changed the name to ‘Aegir’ – the Norse deity who rules the worlds oceans) is a replica of the 9th century Gokstad Ship, one of the most famous finds in Scandinavian archeological history. Being a Gokstad replica gives this vessel special cache. Academics, archaeologists, historians, marine architects, medievalists, materials specialists and the general public are universally fascinated by the craftʼs superb efficiency and potent historic significance.The Oslo museum containing the Gokstad ship receives nearly half a million visitors a year.
The Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club, recognising this level of local and international interest, has designed the project to provide opportunities for research into lost craft and sailing skills, practical teaching and mentoring applications, and the generation of a genuine community hub focused on this rare piece of maritime excellence.
The goal is to overcome that most common pitfall of community programs – the high participant attrition rate – with the lure of shared adventure. Participants will combine skill-acquisition with creative pride, physical excitement and a connection to the environment of Sydney Harbour. The unique characteristics of a long-ship – the size of the ship and the multiplicity of tasks involved in both restoring and sailing it – make the Jorgen Jorgenson an ideal platform for a multi-disciplinary approach, engaging people of all abilities, ages and genders in wide-ranging goal oriented tasks of both individual and team nature. This is a project with the prospect of continuous delivery of community involvement for the foreseeable future.
It is envisaged that participants will be able to choose skills and interests, with some focusing on film-making (under a credentialed professional), others on the restoration, research, building (again under the supervision of our qualified shipwright), sailing and rowing. Everyone, however, will engage with all aspects of the journey, culminating in the breathtaking re-incarnation of this long-ship as a unique, self-sustainable training opportunity on the waters of Sydney Harbour.
Visibility is a high priority goal for the project. We expect this vessel to become an immediately recognisable and unique opportunity for projecting the club, its supporters, and all participants onto the stage that is Sydney Harbour.