Rex was born on Flinders Island, off the northeast coast of Tasmania. He lived at Lady Barron a small township known for fishing on the south coast of Flinders Island until moving to Launceston in 1972.
Rex is the son of Joe and Dulcie Greeno the eldest of 5 siblings. Rex worked with his father Joe on 3 fishing boats over his life-time, it was fishing boats that influenced Rex and his brother to take up cray fishing. His mother Dulcie was re-known for her craft skills, focusing on making shell necklaces and baskets. Rex’s Aboriginal linage comes from his grandfather Silas Mansell and his mother Dulcie.
Rex’s grandfather Silas Mansell was a direct descendant of the Straitsmen. A group of seamen who were known as Sealers and Whalers. These men befriended the Aboriginal clans at Cape Portland, where they obtained tribal women and settled on many of the smaller islands in Banks Strait. Rex fished with his grandfather, father and brother around the islands for about 40 years before retiring in 2008.
Rex’s inspiration to build his first bark canoe came from his sea experience while continuing his cultural knowledge and skills from his family. His interest began by reading the research by Rona Hollingsworth compiled from the historical records on Tasmanian watercraft.
With this knowledge in mind, Rex set out to make his first Paper Bark Canoe based on Traditional style using Paper Bark or also known as swamp tea tree, he developed a design with bundles of paper bark material that was supported with twine and adhesives considering his ancestors would use the current material they had at hand, in their time. Since then Rex has expanded his work to include Reed Canoes. All Rex’s canoes are unique he has now made about 15 canoes including 10 smaller ones for 10 Days on the Island Festival all have been allocated to collections and Museums and Art Galleries.
If you would like to purchase any of the above works or commission a canoe from Rex please use the link below to contact us. Please include the name of the specific artwork that you are enquiring about, the artists name, your name and if possible a mobile number.