The Dennison Star was built for use on the Gordon River, on the West Coast of Tasmania as a cruise boat, after the Morrison Family realised their vessel J Lee M wasn’t big enough for the high volume of tourists interested in the area.
The timbers used for construction were sourced by Reg Morrison out of the high country above the Gordon River on the West Coast of Tasmania, the keel being a single piece of 90ft Blue Gum. Timber cut was rafted together and towed down river to Strahan, then milled at Morrison Bros sawmills then freighted to Woodbridge.
Since 2002, the vessel has been in mainland waters and will return to Tasmania to attend the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in 2023 after significant restoration and preservation works by current owners in Victoria.
By the summer of 1969, the 33 m 107 (foot) long luxury wooden yacht was fully realised and ready for her formal launch as one of the largest vessels ever built from Hobart’s Huon pine – her core hull is uniquely constructed entirely of it. This alone makes her rare and precious.
Recognised as a treasured part of Australian maritime history, at half a century old she is now heritage listed. After passing through various captains’ hands and through the coasts of Australia from Keppel Island all the way up to Port Douglas, and after decades in service to tourists and cruise takers, she caught the heart of Chris Gentsis. Chris felt a pull to preserve her and with the help of his Dad bought her back to Melbourne for gentle restoration. They have done an extraordinary job, and an extraordinary amount of time and money has gone into her.
Dennison Star represents an era of true dedication to the wonder of wooden boats and the spirit of Tasmania’s seafaring past.
Over the past three years every part of Dennison Star has been polished, retouched and refurbished with a passion for protecting her beauty and painstaking attention to detail. It has in every sense been a labour of love to bring such a special yacht back to her former glory, all the while keeping her antiquity and artistic integrity intact, as well as a unique bonding time for a father and son.
She is 85% complete. To be functional, she needs to be antifouled. She is surveyed to carry approximately 100 people, so her capacity is huge. This family have dedicated everything they have to bring her back to a level she deserves. Watching them has been watching two people in their purpose.
The Dennison Star will be open daily, during the AWBF for visitors. It will be the largest boat aside from Tall Ships at the event, which has not occurred since 2019 due to covid.