Bottled History is a documentary about Sydney-based ship builder Ray Gascoigne. A man who, at 85, spends hours painstakingly building ships on the world's smallest dry dock, a bottle.

I love people with a passion; people who are willing to devote their life to the mastery of a certain craft they love. People who work hard to surprise, to provoke, to inspire, to do something different for a change. Ray Gascoigne, an 85-year-old retired Australian sailor, does just that. Ray has been around boats his whole life, as a shipwright, a merchant sailor, and now as a builder; making bottled ship models for the past 60 years. 

‘Bottled History’ is a beautifully crafted short documentary about this ocean veteran by Australian men's journal 'Smith Journal' and Melbourne-based production studio Commoner. The sailor began the hobby as way to pass the time while at sea. Over the years he has built hundreds of replicas of ships, though nowadays he does so on dry land in a small apartment in Sydney. It’s an incredibly intricate craft and it’s wonderful to see part of this art captured on film.

"Ray's story unfolded slowly. His daughter Bron and son-in-law Dean contacted us last year about the possibility of telling Ray's tale, and it's an honour to feature his boats in Smith volume six. To make the film, Commoner's Mark Welker and Aaron Cuthbert spent three days in Ray's small apartment on the north coast of Sydney, discussing his work and capturing the process.", says Smith Journal.

The documentary is well thought out and nicely directed. From start to finish, Ray's passion for the craft takes centre stage and really shines through. On the 3:40 mark he explains how he “Just likes looking at them. Like what I’ve done”, as pride spreads briefly across his face. Heartwarming and inspiring.

Ray’s full story and a step-by-step account of his process is documented in Smith journal volume six. More info on: