Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fairweather's Raft

In April 1952, the reclusive and oft-titled genius artist Ian Fairweather set out from the shores of Darwin for Timor on a raft he'd built from the flotsam of WW2 - fuel tanks, parachute sails and driftwood that he'd picked off the beach.

Here is an artist's 2004 recreation of Fairweather's raft:

 Michael Stevenson.

"It was not a suicide attempt."
"He never actually said why he did it. It wasn't a very bright idea at all."
"It was absolutely insane. He nearly lost his life."

Later, Fairweather said, "I find that one's vision when you are really exhausted ... your vision becomes extraordinarily acute. I saw the most gorgeous colours there ... conscious colours."

Fairweather's life and his sixteen day Timor Sea vision quest is now documented on a beautiful episode of Poetica with poetry and commentary by Dael Allison. It's one of those radio documentaries that is a must listen if you are into these kind of ripping yarns.

The storm has gone but the sea still heaves like the breast of a righteous mother
Each sigh a dark subtext.
So many gulls turned to spindrift, 
The sea sticky with feathers.
So many welcoming rocks.

This escapade might spit me out anchorless.
Those who dismiss dreamers as fools
Will content themselves as being right.

Dael Allison

 It's just bloody great and it's here.


  1. Brilliant. And I know why Fairweather did it.

  2. That's my kind of raft - love the fuel tanks. Puts me in mind of WW2 hand grenades and the like. Help. Take me with you - I can see perfectly well....

  3. I love ripping yarns like that.