It is not often we get a Viking Exhibition in Australia. The National Maritime Museum will soon be overcome with Viking vessels.
What do we really know about the people we call Vikings?
Viking – The Exhibition
Open from 19 September All ages. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Entry free with Vikings Ticket.
Step aboard the Jorgen Jorgenson – a newly restored reconstruction of the 9th century Gokstad Viking ship. The Gokstad – one of the most famous finds in Scandinavian archaeological history – was a fully seaworthy sailing and rowing vessel, made of oak, with 32 oars and capable of carrying 70 people – and finally used as a burial chamber for a powerful Viking chieftain around 900AD. Jorgen Jorgenson is one of only four replicas of the Gokstad ship in the world and will be moored at the museum wharves as part of our blockbuster exhibition Vikings – Beyond the legend.Launch of the reconstructionThe Jorgen Jorgensen was built and launched in Perth in 1987. While it is not a faithful replica, made with Viking Age tools, using hand forged rivets and Norwegian oak trees, it is an evocative reconstruction that gives a good understanding of the workings and capabilities of a Viking Age vessel.The ship was named after the Danish ‘adventurer’ Jorgen Jorgenson 1780-1841 who led a colourful life in colonial Australia in the early 1800s and then again in the 1830s – transported as a convict to Tasmania.Since 1987 Jorgen Jorgensen has operated as a charter vessel but the last few years had seen it languish.Restoration projectSince 2008 the restoration of the Jorgen Jorgensen has been part of a community outreach plan driven by the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club.The club’s ‘Longship Project’ engages long term unemployed, disabled and disadvantaged people in restoring the vessel to an authentic sailing condition. The project aims to operate the vessel as a mentoring, sail-cadetship and leadership training enterprise for the local community.The museum has established a collaboration with the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club to assist in completing much needed restoration and major work on the vessel. A mast will be stepped and a cradle installed on the deck so it can be easily raised and lowered, one of the features of Viking Age vessels. With the help of the museum’s fleet staff and volunteers, the ship will be painted and major work conducted above and below the waterline. As well as a sail, rigging, oars, sea-chests for rowing seats and shields to line the gunwales.
I never knew about Jorgen Jorgensen. He must have been the very first Danish – Australian. I have pondered about him, and sought info from Wiki:
His life was marked by adventure, debauchery, drinking, espionage, and prison time. Yet he was still a compassionate man as can be seen in the Australian Dictionary of Biography website