top of page



Our Tasmanian-based crew of professional documentary makers offers several lifetimes of experience, working throughout the world as story tellers and television specialists. Our skills meld a wealth of filming, creative, research, writing and logistical expertise with a passion for maritime history, grand old ships, and the lure of wild oceans.


Executive Producer

The Old Ships Company has been conceived and funded by John Kennedy, a maritime historian, former naval engineer, lifelong collector of antique and medieval weaponry and restorer of vintage vehicles. John inherits his sea legs from his great-grandfather, a prominent Hobart shipwright in the late 19th century who learnt his trade on the Clyde.



Chris Wisbey is a much-loved ABC broadcaster whose voice is integral to Tasmania's social soundtrack. When not turning his hand to restoring a Georgian house, a classic wooden ketch, or vintage cars, Chris grows cherries and strawberries on a farm near Hobart. A passionate lover of boats, his work as  presenter shows that he's equally at home on TV as on radio.


Series Producer/Director

Colin Grubb studied sculpture and film-making at the University of Tasmania, until the flicker of the small screen caught his eye. He honed his skills creating prime-time documentaries for the Discovery Channel in the USA (about secret planes, planes without wings, and Nazis in planes), before returning to his homeland to executive-produce wildly popular and extremely successful series for the ABC about gardening and collecting.



Ronnie McCulloch is the guy you want in charge of a shoot when a deluge drops on an outside broadcast, or a sequence about sailing ships is hit by gale-force winds. His formidable career of screen credits range from editor to executive producer. The prospect of mucking about on boats was enough to lure Ronnie away from surfing.


Production Manager

Like the stoker in steamships of old, Tracey Smith keeps our engine room ticking over. With three decades of extensive experience in television production and program planning, Tracey takes care of the Old Ships Company's resources, budgets, crew and talent liaison, and scheduling needs. She also keeps an eye on the crew's health to guard against scurvy.



Jill Beckingsale secretly wants to be a pirate. In the meantime, she's worked as a researcher in the TV industry for nearly 20 years. Jill is an expert in developing storylines, locating experts, finding locations, and checking facts. She knows everything the OSC should know about our projects, and even things we don't even know that we need to know. And if she doesn't, she knows how to find out.


Director of Photography

Cinematographer Pete Harmsen actually is a pirate and has been shooting high-end documentaries for over 40 years. Pete has a lifelong love of the ocean and is most at home on board a yacht or ship, with a passion for surfing, sailing, fishing and kayaking. He loves nothing more than climbing a ship's rigging with a cutlass between his teeth, or hanging over its side in a sling with a camera. 



Mike Sampey is the Swiss Army knife of digital production. With more than 30 years in broadcast TV production under his utility belt, he's an accomplished editor, sound recordist, cameraman, app creator, and possibly even makes music. Many of Mike's films have received awards at prestigious short film festivals. One of his favourites is a horror film, I Am Undone.


Script Editor

Once upon a time, Mark Horstman studied marine biology to sail the oceans in a sarong and explore coral reefs. After working as a specialist science journalist and producer at the ABC for a while, it's possible he can string together a sentence or two. Mark loves the creative challenge of turning complex topics into engaging stories that you can't resist telling your mates about.

Please reload

bottom of page