Ships ahoy – history in the making

Tracey Dearing reports

Living Choice Kawana Island resident, Dave Winkle, has a tale or two to keep you interested.

You might have noticed the intricate display of ships as you walk through the leisure centre reception area. These were hand built by Dave himself. In total Dave has built six ships and first started building them six years ago.

Dave’s wife of 59 years, Shirley, said they only have three ships in their home, and the other three are with family members.  Asked how she felt about Dave’s hobby, Shirley replied that it was a great way for Dave to relax and keep busy.

Dave immigrated from England when he was 10 with his family of two sisters and parents. Unsurprisingly, he arrived on Australian shores by ship. Dave is not sure where his love of being on the water comes from, but he did enjoy a career in the Navy and part of that time was spent as a Clearance Diver.

Life got even busier when Dave and Shirley had four children and they moved to Gympie where they ran a working farm.  “It was quite hard at times,” Shirley recalled, but they have fond memories of growing beans and avocado trees on the property.  Dave also worked with his brother-in-law who was a carpenter and learnt many carpentry skills. “I really enjoyed working with wood and learning how to use the tools to make things,” Dave said.

His carpentry skills were put to good use when he started to build replica ships. "Every ship I build has a backstory. I must first find the plans and do some era research.”

Dave is meticulous in his execution. One can see it in the detail that he so lovingly puts into each build, right down to what the figurines on the ship would be wearing to make sure it complements the ship’s era. “It’s really quite fascinating to think of all these different ships and how they were used at the time.”

What’s next for Dave?  From what we hear he is not slowing down. Currently he is completing a rather large jigsaw puzzle - of ships of course.  He also enjoys Tai Chi in the village and regularly attends the gym.

The replicas of The Bounty Bligh, The Endurance and Battle of Trafalgar (a Naval engagement) are on display now in the reception area at the village and a visit is definitely worthwhile.