One Man's Dream

February 2016 Web Exclusive

Far off in Tasmania, Australia, reports that one man is hard at work constructing a masterpiece of a houseboat using 10 tons of Huon pine and over fifty years of carpentry experience.

“It’s a really ancient timber and I’m very respectful that I’m dealing with something very rare and valuable,” Robert Sweeney said.

Sweeney originally planned out his project to fit a five-year schedule funded by his commercial carpentry work. Unfortunately, Sweeney was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in November, just three years into his project. His community is rallying to offer the support he’ll need to try to finish the last two years of work in just three months, as he’s no longer able to continue his commercial work.  

“I’ll be very lucky if I’ve got a year,” he said.

The houseboat, intended to be a comfortable retirement accommodation, is continuing along with help from the 64-year-old’s grandson Jasper and sons Damien, Ishmael and Noah.

“Every day’s important to me now and just being with my wonderful family and doing things together is a total pleasure,” he said.

If you’re interested in donating to Mr Sweeney’s project, you can check out his online fundraising appeal at

Photography credited to Sam Rosewarne 

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