Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Sam Is a Talented Old Salt When It Comes to Boats

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Sam Is a Talented Old Salt When It Comes to Boats

Article excerpt

THERE may be some heavy heads this morning as local fishers, dignitaries, newspaper folk and readers recover from last night's Maryborough City Hall knees up to celebrate our 150 years of historic drama Co and fishing Co on the Fraser Coast.

Sam Schwarzrock's early family scattered through Maryborough, Granville and the Bay last century and were among the first arrivals harking back to great-great-grandparents who mainly became fishing people.

Sam says his family either came from Germany or Poland way back before his baby eyes first opened and he's been on the scene man and boy for 61 years.

Sitting in his backyard shed this week Sam, who was christened Elvyn after his dad (sorry Sam), started fishing with his father almost as soon as he could crawl.

Early birthday presents for Sam and his brother were flat-bottomed boats fashioned with a knife by their dad and afternoons they'd nick off to the river to float them.

Later days he'd drop out of school at Boonooroo and go after bigger stuff, hauling home boxes of nine-inch banana prawns netted in a creek and so juicy they made even the hardest men soften.

What, perhaps, sets Sam aside from the tough skippers and crews of those days was his ability not just to sweat on the boats, but to fashion them.

For about 15 years he's been creating chunky ones up to four feet that reflect a bit of the history of our fishing fleet and boat building industry.

He's particularly adept at carving out trawlers which have kept the bay fishing scene alive and kicking over the decades.

It takes him, he says, about three months in between making a living and the carving of a four-foot long fishing boat with all the fiddling with nets and masts.

Plenty of locals and some outsiders believe his skills are worth every penny they pay ($3000) along with the history that surrounds his ability to capture a boat one man can only just carry.

Sam's not sure of the total number of baby boats he's built, but at least a half dozen regularly turn up at the Bay's extremely popular fish chomp up weekend where outsiders "ooh" and "arrh" over how he does it. …

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