I was a volunteer photographer on the day and was tasked with photographing the boat building.
The project, launched in May this year, has a goal of building 10-12 boats. Based on Scottish coastal rowing boats of early last century, the St Ayles Skiffs were designed by Australian boat builder Iain Oughtred who now lives in Scotland.
Many of these builders, however, have never seen a boat before. The Syriac people of Iraqi who are working on the boat alongside Geelong Iranian Society – G.I.S have escaped devastating conditions under ISIS and travelled to Australia seeking refuge from their war-torn country. The youngest of these is just 16 years old.
You can learn more about the project via Refugees who want to be like ‘any other Australian’ build boats and community.
I left this area a couple of times to explore what was going on in the courtyard and main hall. Then I returned, shortly before 12, to find a group of people dancing in front of the garage. Many of the faces I recognised from earlier. The dancers even allowed others to join in.