We’re very sad to hear that bottled shipbuilder Ray Gascoigne has passed away. Gascoigne was born in 1928 on the Lane Cove River in northern Sydney, and spent his whole life around boats – first as a shipwright and then as a merchant seaman. He made his first bottled ship while working on a tanker carrying cargo from Fiji to Australia in 1949 and never looked back.
In 2013, Ray’s daughter Bron and son-in-law Dean contacted us to see if Ray’s story was something we’d consider writing about. We jumped at the chance, and published a seven-page feature on Ray’s boats in Smith Journal volume six. We also teamed up with production studio Commoner to make the short film ‘Bottled History’. Now feels like a fitting time to revisit it, and marvel one more time at his work, and life.