AN EPIC, much-celebrated journey by one of Australia’s greatest painters has long fascinated Dael Allison.
Nanjing Night Net

Three years ago, the Kiribati-based poet started researching Ian Fairweather’s infamous 1952 raft journey for a university thesis.

Yesterday she showed off the results with the launch of her latest book, Fairweather’s Raft, at Inveresk’s Annexe Theatre as part of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival.

Allison said the collection of poems looked at the raft journey and explored the psychology of a man who lived an isolated life, always wandering the world.

“He ended up in Darwin in 1949 and after a couple of years he wanted to get out – so he built a three-metre tiny triangular raft out of scrap, buoyed by three aircraft drop tanks,” Allison said.

“He left in April 1952 and disappeared – no air search could find him and he was declared missing, presumed dead.”

Allison said Fairweather washed up – alive – on a tiny island in Indonesia after 16 days at sea.

She said as one of 10 visiting poets she would make another appearance at the poetry festival’s final event, today at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Inveresk at 1pm.

The winner of the prestigious Launceston Poetry Cup, held last night, was third-time winner Colin Berry.

Poet Dael Allison, of Kiribati, with her book Fairweather’s Raft, inspired by Ian Fairweather’s infamous 1952 raft journey from Darwin to Timor.

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