View Full Version : RIP Pat 'The Rope Man' Heffernan

07-08-2007, 03:50 PM
Final knot for Pat the Rope Man

ENCYCLOPAEDIC knowledge of nautical rope work and knots has been lost with the death of Pat (The Rope Man) Heffernan, of Brisbane.
He learned the skill over the past 30 years from books, Boy Scouts, air force and on the Australian carnival circuit, assembling circus big top tents and merry-go-rounds.
With constant banter and a wicked sense of humour, Pat was a favourite at boat shows organised by the Boating Industry Association of Queensland as he dispensed goodwill with his phenomenal knowledge of rope and ropework.
He recently began teaching ropework to his daughter, Maraeanne, to keep the tradition alive and the duo made their first appearance together at the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show at the RNA Showgrounds in April this year.
They were due to make an appearance at the Brisbane International Boat Show later this month.
BIAQ general manager, Barry Hibberd, said early sailors used knots as tools of their trade in standing and running rigging of the windjammers and did decorative rope work to wile away idle hours at sea.
“Pat had hundreds of knots, hitches and splices in his repertoire, but he said today’s sailors needed only a few basic knots with which to get by,” said Mr Hibberd.
“He also turned rope into a wide variety of articles including mats, table decorations and key rings.
“Pat’s passing marks the end of an era.
“He was a true character and will be missed by the marine industry and the boating public.”

07-08-2007, 08:21 PM
Didnt know the man unfortunately but sound like a true legend. Working with ropes and lines is an unrecognised art form that is slowly being forgotten. Unlike a lot of art, it can be pleasing to the eye as well as practical.
I am pleased his Daughter has shown an interest in following on with Pats wish to pass the knowledge on for all our benefit.

RIP "Rope Man"

Respectfully Lloyd

09-08-2007, 11:14 AM
Sounds like quite a character Nugget. I'm sure he will be greatly missed.

Knot tying has always fascinated me. I bought a book for my Dad that has instructions on how to tie all sorts of knots. It's amazing how many knots exist. It's also amazing how bad I am at tying them. I couldn't tie some of those knots to save my life.

A few years back, I went to one of those recreationist events where folks reenact past events and times. This event was about the French Fur trappers/traders (Voyageurs) who explored and traveled in my region hundreds of years ago. A guy there was making a fishing net with ropes and some small wooden tools. I started talking to him and asking him about his craft. He said he belonged to an international group that tried to preserve knots and record their history. Pretty interesting stuff. One way they rediscover old knots are by looking at paintings of old sailing ships. Believe it or not, they've been able to unearth quite a few old knots this way. The painter was probably a sailor himself and added enough detail to his painting to allow them to solve the knots workings.

It's great that his daughter has taken up where her father left off. His knowledge will not be lost like so many others' have.

09-08-2007, 07:29 PM
I had the privilege of meeting this very fine gentleman a few years back at the Brisbane International Boat Show. Wow what a knowledge and passion Pat had for his interest in rope.

Will be sadly missed by many for sure.

Thank you Dave for bringing this one to our attention.

captain rednut
09-08-2007, 07:43 PM
hi unfortunly we have lost our best rope man ever, and im proud to have samples of his work. pat made me some rope gifts to hang off my bar, im sad to here off his passing, he will always be remembered, farewell old mate.............jim and ryan