Signals Number 83 Juneâ€“August 2008
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COVER: The recent unveiling of three new panels of names on the Welcome Wall – the museum’s tribute to migrants who have made new lives in Australia – attracted a record crowd of nearly 2000 people to the ceremony held in May, on International Museums Day. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM ABOVE:
Performer Marie Rappolt of the group Viva played at the latest Welcome Wall unveiling ceremony. Photographer (L & R images) S Aththas/ANMM ABOVE RIGHT:
Guest speaker Tanya Plibersek – Federal member for the electorate of Sydney and Minister for Housing and the Status of Women – about to unveil new names on the Welcome Wall. To her right are ANMM director Mary-Louise Williams and guest speaker, Barry Cohen – Arts Minister in the Hawke Labor government when the museum was first planned in 1984. Our other guest speakers are on the left: Patricia Stenning and Kamal Dastyari.
Australian National Maritime Museum’s quarterly magazine Number 83 June–August 2008
Contents 2 Two ships called Canberra The story behind the Canberra bell in the USA Gallery
8 A maritime mastermind Concluding our series about Taipan and its brilliant Aussie designer
14 Remembering HMAS Sydney II Memorabilia of the recently discovered cruiser sunk in World War II
18 Happy birthday HMAS Advance Commissioned 40 years ago, acquired by the museum 20 years ago
21 Members message, events and activities Talks, tours, previews, cruises, seminars… Members’ winter calendar
26 What’s on at the museum Winter exhibitions, events and activities for visitors, schools programs
30 A submariner at the helm Interview with the museum’s chairman, a former submarine commander
34 The magic of the miniature Insights into this maritime art from our volunteer model maker’s bench
38 A river of memory A possum skin cloak embodies stories from a great river system
40 Tales from the Welcome Wall Migrating by sea from Holland, by the dozen
42 Collections Meet and greet the Great White Fleet
44 Currents The wharfies’ mural; Sydney Harbour awards; beach girls
48 From the Director Naval affairs; meeting our new minister
SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Two ships called
Canberra Behind the bell of the American cruiser USS Canberra – displayed in the museum’s USA Gallery as a symbol of the ANZUS alliance – is the remarkable story of a tenacious World-War-II veteran of the Royal Australian Navy. Story by Signals editor Jeffrey Mellefont.
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MACKENZIE Gregory lives in retirement in an elegant apartment on St Kilda Road, Melbourne. On the walls of his book-lined study, a series of framed photographs encompass the sweep of the decades. In one he’s a proud young cadet midshipman on the deck of an Australian eight-inch gun cruiser at the beginning of World War II. In another he’s attending the ship-board christening of his son in Melbourne in 1967, with an upturned ship’s bell as a font. A more recent colour print taken in Washington in 2001 is a portrait of Mackenzie with his wife Denise, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and the President of the United States of America, George W Bush. It’s signed by the President. What links all these photographs is the large ship’s bell, emblazoned with the name of the American cruiser USS Canberra (1943–70), that stands today in its showcase in the USA Gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum. The USA Gallery is a unique facility that was endowed by a US$5 million gift from the United States of America, voted by the US Congress under President Ronald Reagan in appreciation of the longstanding alliance between Australia and the USA. The endowment was made for the 1988 bicentenary of Australia’s British settlement. The USA Gallery was officially opened in January 1992 by President George Bush (Snr), just a few weeks after this new museum first opened its doors to the public. Fifteen years later his son President George W Bush visited the USA Gallery – and inspected the USS Canberra bell – during his brief visit to Sydney for last September’s APEC leaders summit. right: The bell from the USS Canberra in the USA Gallery commemorates the longstanding alliance between Australia and the USA. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM left: Photograph from the museum’s Samuel Hood Collection showing a County class cruiser in Farm Cove. The ship flies the pennant of HRH Duke of Gloucester, who toured Australia in 1934 with HMAS Canberra as an escort. Initially thought to be HMAS Canberra, the cruiser shown may possibly be its sister ship HMS Sussex.
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In between the two Presidential visits, the gallery has mounted many exhibitions detailing the long history of trans-Pacific links between the two countries – links of commerce, culture and sport, shared histories of exploration, gold rushes and of course naval actions during several wars. One of the many shared histories concerns the ship’s bell in the USA Gallery – and that brings us back to Mackenzie Gregory, and two warships that carried the name of Canberra. Mackenzie Gregory had gone to sea as a 17-year-old cadet midshipman in August 1939 because, as he says, ‘War was coming.’ He sailed off to Britain in HMAS Australia, which joined the home fleet shortly after Dunkirk. ‘They were real nasty times,’ Mackenzie told Signals. ‘We spent a year Atlantic convoying. The ship then came back to Australia and on the way – in Colombo – I was promoted to acting sub-lieutenant. That meant I had to go back to Britain on
21 sailors. In June HMAS Canberra, under Captain Frank E Getting RAN, joined USS Chicago and other US and Australian ships in Task Force 44. ‘By the time of the Battle of Savo Island,’ remembers Mackenzie, ‘I was a watch keeper which meant I was judged to be competent to take charge of the ship on my watch. I was assistant to the officer of the quarter deck; we had about 100 seamen under our supervision.’ HMAS Canberra was part of the taskforce supporting the US Marine Corps landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi Islands in the Solomons. Beginning on 7 August 1942, this was the first American offensive campaign since Pearl Harbour. Its objective was to capture an airfield that the Japanese were building on Guadalcanal, one that would pose a threat to vital allied supply lines and be a valuable asset for any enemy thrust towards Australia. Although ultimately successful, the Guadalcanal
HMAS Canberra was back in Sydney on the night that three Japanese midget submarines attacked the harbour
top to bottom:
Cadet midshipman Mackenzie Gregory, age 17, on the deck of HMAS Australia, October 1939. Photographer unknown USS Canberra’s bell used as a baptismal font, Melbourne 1967. Captain Edwin Rosenberg USN, CO of USS Canberra; Lt Cdr Mackenzie Gregory RAN (Rtd) and his first wife Gladys; Lady Alice Dixon; Raymond Gregory, 6; Canberra’s chaplain Commander Zeller USN. Photographer unknown Australian Prime Minister John Howard, US President George W Bush, Mackenzie and Denise Gregory at Washington Navy Yard, 10 September 2001. Photographer unknown All photographs on this page reproduced courtesy Mackenzie Gregory
a troopship and spend four or five months studying seamanship, navigation, gunnery, torpedoes, signals. At the end of 1941 I came home via Panama in Tuscan Star, a Vestys ship. We reached Melbourne the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and brought the Americans into the war. I had a week’s leave and went to HMAS Canberra as a sublieutenant, to start getting my watchkeeper’s certificate.’ HMAS Canberra was a sistership to his earlier posting, HMAS Australia. The two 10,000-ton County class heavy cruisers, armed with eight-inch guns, had been built by Britain for the Australian Government and had been in commission since 1928. With Mackenzie Gregory on board, Canberra escorted the last Australian troops up to the Malaya-Java theatre – getting out just before the Japanese swept down the Malayan peninsula to overrun Singapore. On 31 May 1942 Canberra was back in Sydney and lay at No 1 Buoy near Bennelong Point, not far from the American cruiser USS Chicago, on the night that three Japanese midget submarines attacked the harbour. A torpedo fired at Chicago missed and sank the depot ship HMAS Kuttabul moored at Garden Island, with the loss of
campaign was difficult and protracted due in part to lack of experience in this sort of warfare in a tropical, jungle terrain, poor intelligence – including little in the way of maps and charts – and determined Japanese counter-attacks on the invaders. Within hours of the initial landings the commander of the Japanese 8th Fleet, Vice-Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, left Rabaul with a cruiser force headed towards Guadalcanal, sailing down the eastern side of Bougainville Island. Although the force was spotted by coastwatchers and an Australian aircraft, the composition of the Japanese fleet was misreported and their course was misinterpreted. The Japanese force was thus able to surprise the Allied taskforce that was defending the transports and landing craft. The commander of the naval screening force, Rear Admiral VAC Crutchley vc dsc rn, had deployed his US and Australian warships in groups around Savo Island, strategically located on the approaches to the US beachheads. On the night of 8 August the Japanese force, approaching by way of ‘The Slot’ between Santa Isabel and the New Georgia island group, slipped undetected to within range of the southern screening group comprising the cruisers HMAS SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
The last photograph taken of HMAS Canberra, ablaze and listing to starboard, before she sank off Savo Island on 9 August 1942. Photographer unknown, reproduced from the archives of the Naval Historical Society at Garden Island, Sydney.
‘During the action we picked up a torpedo on the starboard side and took a list on suddenly. We couldn’t understand why it was to starboard, because all the Japanese forces were on our port side. Later it was discovered that it had come from the American destroyer USS Bagley [one of Canberra’s southern group].
Canberra and USS Chicago, plus two American destroyers. Aircraft launched from the Japanese cruisers illuminated the group with flares and Canberra, the lead ship, received the full force of over 20 salvoes of eight-inch shellfire.
‘I had a young AB standing beside me and he got hit in the head with a great chunk of shrapnel. We gave him morphine and then we just abandoned the
‘It was 1.43 in the morning and I had the middle watch on the bridge,’ recalls Mackenzie Gregory. ‘We got blasted from about 3,000 yards by a couple of eight-inch cruisers, and we were hit about 28 times. The navigator – Lieutenant Commander Mesley – and I were the only two on the bridge who didn’t get a scratch. I walked around to my action station which was the fore control, where it was my job to estimate the enemy’s course and speed for the gunnery control. When I looked down I could see the captain sprawled out, mortally wounded, and the gunnery officer dead. The two midshipmen on the bridge were very badly wounded. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
USS Ralph Talbot on the outer screen north of Savo Island, before withdrawing the way they had arrived and steaming back up ‘The Slot’. Conditions on the disabled HMAS Canberra were chaotic. ‘We were ablaze amidships, you couldn’t get from one end of the ship to another,’ Mackenzie Gregory told Signals. ‘Both boiler rooms were out; nobody got out of them. We had no power, we just sat there blazing; there was nothing you could do.
We were ablaze amidships … Both boiler rooms were out; nobody got out of them fore control and I went to help with the wounded, throw ammunition over the side and do whatever I could that was useful.’ During the Japanese attack on the southern group the USS Chicago was also damaged, but remained operational. The Japanese fleet continued around Savo Island at high speed and attacked the northern screening force with devastating results, sinking the US cruisers Quincy, Vincennes and Astoria. The Japanese then engaged and damaged the destroyer
The American destroyer Patterson came alongside about three o’clock in the morning to help put the fires out and to get the wounded off, including the captain. We didn’t have a boat that was not full of holes. We filled one boat with wounded and lowered it, but it filled up with water.’ In the midst of this a ship loomed up in the distance and started to fire. ‘I had my binoculars – I still have them, I jumped off with them – and I said “That’s the Chicago!” It was firing at us. Page 5
‘Patterson cut the lines and went off and eventually sorted it out that we were a friendly cruiser on fire. The US destroyer Blue came over about five o’clock in the morning and I went off in her. The rest were taken off from the quarterdeck by Patterson and we were all taken to two of the transports.’ The overall Allied commander, Rear Admiral Turner USN, ordered that Canberra be sunk if the ship could not raise steam. The USS Selfridge fired 263 five-inch shells and four torpedoes at Canberra, but she remained afloat until 8.00 am that morning, 9 August 1942. ‘Finally,’ Mackenzie Gregory relates, ‘the destroyer USS Ellet gave the coup de grace with a final torpedo. They really were red-faced because they fired so many shells and several torpedoes that missed – it took a lot to send her down.’
Alice Dixon, wife of the Australian Minister (i.e. ambassador) in America, Sir Owen Dixon, a distinguished high court justice whom Australian Prime Minister John Curtin had appointed to Washington in 1942. USS Canberra (CA 70) saw action in the Western Pacific theatre including the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944, and was severely damaged when an airlaunched torpedo exploded below her belt of armour during the Battle of Formosa in October 1944, killing 23 crew. The ship was repaired in 1945 but was decommissioned and mothballed from 1947 to 1952, when she was extensively converted into a guided-missile heavy cruiser of the Boston class, designated USS Canberra CAG-2. Cold-War duties included NATO exercises, Mediterranean
In a disaster that some historians have said was compounded by the Americans’ belief in their superiority over the Japanese, just over 1,000 Allied sailors died and some 700 were wounded. Casualties on HMAS Canberra were 84 dead and 109 wounded among the 819 men serving on board. Among the survivors was Mackenzie Gregory, who took a long time to get home to Australia, via Noumea, and was obliged to attend a court of enquiry since he had been on the bridge. Eventually he joined the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide, seeing action against a German blockade runner off Western Australia. He then joined HMAS Shropshire, a sister ship of Canberra that Britain had transferred from the Royal Navy to the RAN. Along with him were many of Canberra’s former crew. He was in Shropshire for the landings in the Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippines, all the Borneo landings, and in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender. At the time of HMAS Canberra’s sinking, an American Baltimore class heavy cruiser was under construction by the Bethlehem Steel Company at Quincy, Massachusetts. It was planned to name the ship Pittsburgh, but US President Franklin D Roosevelt intervened and ordered the eight-inch gun cruiser of 13,600 tons to be named USS Canberra in honour of the Australian cruiser that was lost in those grim, early days of the two countries’ alliance. This was the only US naval vessel ever to be named for a foreign warship or a foreign capital city. USS Canberra was christened at her launching on 19 April 1943 by Lady
Mackenzie Gregory at home in St Kilda, Melbourne. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM
deployments and a world cruise in 1960. In October 1962 USS Canberra took part in the quarantine of Cuba, to prevent the arrival of any more Soviet missiles during the crisis that took the world to the brink of nuclear war. From 1965 to 1969 the ship was assigned five tours of duty off Vietnam during the war that the Vietnamese call The American War. These were her first combat deployments since World War II, and the ship was extensively engaged shelling targets in both North and South Vietnam. After USS Canberra’s second Vietnam tour ended in April 1967 the ship visited Melbourne – a logical destination, since by this time Australia was once again at war in support of its ally America, and had its own troops and
ships in Vietnam. It was an opportunity for USS Canberra to show the flag for the alliance, and Melbourne was a safe and welcoming port for its crew to visit on R&R leave. Mackenzie Gregory was living in Melbourne with his wife and children after a naval career that had lasted until 1954. From 1950 to 1953 he had been posted as aide de camp to the GovernorGeneral, Sir William McKell. He had retired from the navy for family reasons after escorting Queen Elizabeth around Australia as a lieutenant commander in the RAN’s flagship, the aircraft carrier HMAS Vengeance. ‘I was invited down to visit USS Canberra with a group of survivors from the first Canberra,’ recalls Mackenzie. ‘When I met the commander, Captain Edwin Rosenberg, I said, “I’ve got a sixyear-old son who’s never been christened, can we have him christened on board?” And he said, “Sure, we can strike the ship’s bell and we’ll turn it upside-down and use it as the font. Can I be his godfather?”’ A ship’s bell is a focus of maritime and naval traditions. While its use as a warning sound signal has long-since been superseded, its role in marking the passage of time and the division of watches on board ship is frequently continued ceremonially in this era of digital and atomic time-pieces. A ship’s bell is treasured as a memento long after the ship has been broken up or has rotted away. There is a long tradition of christening the child of one of a ship’s company using the upturned ship’s bell as a font, and the names of such children were often engraved inside the bell. In the case of HMAS Canberra, turning it into a font was no simple undertaking, since the bell weighs some 250 pounds (112.5 kg). At this time Mackenzie Gregory’s father was working in the high court with Sir Owen Dixon, the wartime Australian Ambassador to Washington who was approaching the end of his distinguished career as one of Australia’s greatest jurists. Sir Owen’s wife Lady Alice Dixon, who had launched USS Canberra 24 years earlier, attended the christening as the godmother of six-year-old Raymond Edwin Gregory, Mackenzie’s only son. It was Mother’s Day, Sunday 16 May 1967. After more years of bombarding Vietnam, USS Canberra came to the end of its service and was decommissioned in February 1970, although it wasn’t until
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Stained glass window commemorating HMAS Canberra (right) in the Chapel at Garden Island naval dockyard, Sydney. One of a pair, the other depicts Canberra’s replacement, the cruiser HMAS Shropshire. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM
‘You must have been a young guy,’ he added, to laughter. The bell, all 250 pounds of it, travelled by diplomatic routes to Australia and in due course was installed in the USA Gallery as a symbol of the alliance, and as a memorial to the sacrifices of the crews of the two ships called Canberra. This symbolism was one of the reasons that President Bush chose to visit the Australian National Maritime Museum during his brief visit to Sydney in 2007. Back in Washington on 10 September 2001, however, no-one attending the handover ceremony realised that the two nations – and the world – were on the eve of a dangerous new era. After the speeches, both President and Prime Minister left the dais to greet Mackenzie Gregory and his wife.
1980 that the stripped hull was sold for scrap. The bell, by this time, was safely in storage – but it had not been forgotten by Mackenzie Gregory, who went in search of it during a trip to the United States in the 1980s.
one night and it was the Australian embassy in Washington saying “Can you both get on a plane and come as our guests to Washington? The Prime Minister is going to receive the bell from President Bush on the 10th!”’
‘I tracked down the bell to a naval storehouse in Williamsburg, Virginia,’ he relates. ‘I went down with a US Naval captain whom I had got to know during the war, and they got it out of its box and let me have a look at it. I said, “What
It was 50 years to the month since the 1951 signing in San Francisco of the ANZUS treaty, the post-war defence pact between Australia and America that has been a key determinant of Australian foreign policy ever since. To mark the
USS Canberra was the only US naval vessel ever to be named for a foreign warship or a foreign capital city about giving this to Australia?”. They very pointedly replied “Foreign countries may not own US naval property by law!” ‘I didn’t forget about it though. Come mid-2001 I was seeing the US Ambassador to Australia, Edward William Gnehm Jr, about something quite different and I said “Can I tell you my bell story?” In the end he got quite excited and I said “How about getting it for the Australian Government?” He promised to try. Well, my wife Denise and I then went around Australia for a couple of months. We got home early September and the phone rang quite late SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
anniversary Prime Minister John Howard, who will be remembered for his unquestioning support of George W Bush, the USA and all its military ventures, was presented with the bell of the USS Canberra at the Washington Navy Yard ‘…as a sign of the unbounded respect of our nation for the Australian people,’ in the President’s words. There in the audience was Mackenzie Gregory, whom the President acknowledged for his service aboard the original Canberra. ‘Thank you for being here, sir. We’re honored to have you,’ the President said to him, to applause.
‘Denise was trying to take a photograph,’ Mackenzie relates. ‘The President handed her camera to a three-star US Marine general and ordered him to take a photograph of all of us. Then the Prime Minister invited us to join him the next day to visit Arlington Cemetery. We had been scheduled to fly out of Washington the day of the proposed visit but we were told that the embassy would take care of changing our flights for us. Of course the events of September 11 overshadowed and cancelled the visit to Arlington. ‘On 12 September we were at a luncheon given by Rear Admiral Simon Harrington RAN, head of Australian defence staff and defence attaché at our embassy. He told us that our original booking to leave Washington the previous day – the one that the Embassy had changed for us – had been on American Airlines Flight 77 to Los Angeles.’ American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon. Two more ships continue the name of Canberra. The second HMAS Canberra (FFG 02) was an Adelaide class guidedmissile frigate that’s recently been decommissioned and will be sunk off Port Phillip Bay as a dive attraction. The third HMAS Canberra will be the first of a new class of large amphibious assault ships designed to carry helicopters and transport some 1,000 soldiers and up to 150 vehicles including tanks. Page 7
A maritime mastermind
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The last issue of Signals recorded the museum’s successful restoration of Taipan, the 18-foot skiff that revolutionised Australia’s most famous racing class. Museum curator David Payne writes about Taipan’s designer Bob Miller, the man who became Australia’s best-known yacht designer – after changing his name to Ben Lexcen. TWENTY-FOUR years after the radical 18-footer Taipan was launched in 1959, its designer, builder and champion sailor would become a household name to a generation of Australians. In 1983 his brilliant design for a winged-keel 12-Metre yacht, Australia II, snatched the coveted America’s Cup from the United States for the first time in the race’s 132-year history. Overnight, Australians who had never given a thought to yacht design claimed this unschooled, selftaught genius as their own.
Overnight, Australians who had never given a thought to yacht design claimed this unschooled, self-taught genius as their own The fact that he no longer called himself Bob Miller, but had changed his name for business and personal reasons to Ben Lexcen, revealed a quirky side to his personality that had an instant resonance with the wider public. Miller AKA Lexcen was a hero Australians could relate to: the cheeky, do-it-yourself larrikin who had helped the nation to take on the unbeatable Americans and win.
Bob Miller helms Taipan on Moreton Bay in 1959. Brian Hamilton forward hand, Norman Wright III sheet hand. Photographer unknown, reproduced courtesy of Tom Cuneo
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While the focus of the museum’s recent project to rebuild Taipan (Signals No 82, March 2008 pp 3–8) was firmly on the boat and the hardware, our research uncovered a host of people and stories associated with Taipan and Bob Miller, particularly during the early period when the skiff raced in Brisbane and New
Zealand. It seems that an association with Miller was an experience not easily forgotten. Miller, who had launched Taipan in November 1959, sailed his new skiff to victory in the Queensland 18-foot skiff state titles in January 1960 before heading to New Zealand to represent Queensland in the World Championships. Barbara Merlino was on the MV Wanganella which took Taipan and its crew to Auckland from Sydney in early March 1960. With great excitement she wrote home to her mother soon after: ‘Did I tell you that a couple of boys are racing a yacht here? – you remember the boat we saw the day I was leaving, well it belongs to “Aussie” boys who were on the ship … Last Sunday we went to the races, they nearly won and right at the last minute something happened and they got third … We are going again on Sunday and hope to be on the official boat.’ In Auckland, Bernie Skinner won that 1960 World Championship for New Zealand, sailing Surprise. Now resident in Sydney, his scrapbook of Auckland newspaper reports detailed Taipan’s highs and lows during the contest. Skinner recalled the controversy when Miller had to cut holes into the deck in order to be permitted to race. He suspected that this was brought on by Sydney 18-foot skiff class officials alarmed by Taipan’s potential to make the old fleet redundant. One of his newspaper cuttings from New Zealand notes: ‘It is believed the New Zealanders were in favour of Taipan
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competing as she was, but the NSW representatives were opposed to her.’ The incident with the decking was brought about by the nature of the 18-foot skiff class, which was essentially an open-boat class, at that time racing without buoyancy tanks and virtually no decking. Fleets raced in three different locations, NSW, Queensland and New Zealand, and each area had their own rules and interpretations, only agreeing on 18 feet as the maximum length of hull. Even within NSW there were significant differences between the two clubs that raced the class, the Sydney Flying Squadron and the NSW 18 Footers Sailing League. At each series of the regatta for the World Championship and the J J Giltinan Trophy (named for the former secretary of the NSW 18 Footers Sailing League who inaugurated this championship) the clubs in attendance reached an agreement on basic issues during a meeting
This may have cost Miller the world title. In the first heat Taipan was the fastest upwind, but downwind Miller sailed cautiously at first as he was worried about shipping too much water through the holes in his deck in the choppy conditions. He came third, behind New Zealand’s Surprise and Australia’s Jantzen Girl. A win to Taipan in that first heat would have changed the complexion of the series. Born in Boggabri in country New South Wales in 1936, Bob Miller had already overcome a harsh, deprived childhood with little education to achieve these early successes both as a sailor and innovator. In early 1958 the Sydney sailmaker Peter Cole employed Miller for six months as an apprentice before he moved to Brisbane. Cole recalls a youngster with a moody personality holding unconventional ideas about sailmaking; he was always looking for ways to make things easier and did not have time for
These fluent sketches show a preoccupation with streamlining and the flow of the lines or shape of the boat, vehicle or plane beforehand. In this instance it appears that officials from the Sydney Flying Squadron took a hard line and managed to get New Zealand backing to force Miller to reduce Taipan’s decking to half of the total area, to satisfy their interpretation of the open boat definition. One of the New Zealand boats, Ace Hi, also had substantial decking and offered to do the same, but was not required to do so. Miller was unrepresented by any Queensland officials at the 1960 championships. Things may have been different for the ‘Aussie boys’ if Norman Wright Jnr (in whose Brisbane boatyard Miller had built Taipan) had been there, with his experience in dealing with these situations. top LEFT: Ideas for a 5.5-Metre sloop crowd
the page with the Bell X-2 supersonic research rocket plane of 1955–6 and Miller’s ideas for an X-3, attesting his keen interest in streamline design for speed. ANMM collection; gift from Vicky Robinson TOP RIGHT: Miller and friends on a catamaran
he built in Sydney with Carl Ryves in 1958. Photographer Jim Ryves; reproduced courtesy Carl Ryves bottom: Ideas for a futuristic cruising catamaran from a notebook of Bob Miller sketches, late 1950s. ANMM collection; gift from Vicky Robinson
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some of the traditional methods. He also recalls him experimenting with a trim tab on the centreboard of his Moth. This was an early example of Miller’s interest in hydrodynamics – the flow of water – that would culminate in the winged keel of Australia II. When Miller first went to Queensland in 1958 he lived with Norman Wright Jnr and Helen Wright, while working for Norman as the sailmaker for Florite sails. Norman and Helen were old enough to be his parents, and it seems that for a period the relationship was more than just that of employer and employee. They cared for him when he seriously injured his back falling from a yacht’s mast. Wright Jr encouraged Bob with the radical Taipan project, only insisting that it retain some connection to the traditional boats by using an off-cut from his previous champion skiff Jenny for the stem. This piece of structure still remains in the boat, in excellent condition. Helen is thought to be the one who christened Taipan when it was launched on 18 November 1959. She and her daughter Jenny both have strong recollections of Miller’s genius and the conflict between the different sides of his nature, by turn gentle and volatile. ‘He wanted everything done yesterday,’ says Helen.
Grace Lauman was Bob Miller’s seamstress in the Brisbane sail loft owned by Norman Wright and she too saw the many dimensions of Bob Miller at very close quarters. Grace thought he was very clever, and remembered him being quite secretive about Taipan when he was building the skiff. She also recalls fits of temper where cotton spools were hurled into the Brisbane River. On a few occasions she left work, coming back when he had calmed down and apologised. In her words Miller was a perfectionist who demanded the same of others, yet his impatience and the continual flow of new ideas could erode the high standards he aimed for. Grace, who had driving lessons from Bob in his Volkswagen Beetle, recalled how the larrikin who was ‘always hungry’ could be ‘unassuming, not pushy or boasting’. He inspired young children, and produced the most wonderful drawings for them. But above all it was boats and sailing that drove him relentlessly and satisfied his need to be constantly active and creative. Creativity and originality are hallmarks of Miller’s career and were instantly recognisable features of Taipan when it was launched. It has been widely accepted in yachting circles that Bob Miller designed Taipan, but our research threw up conflicting information that initially suggested Norman Wright Jr had a much greater role in the design. Resolving this apparent contradiction was another issue that the museum tackled during the process of research and rebuilding Taipan. Many contemporary articles about Taipan omit any reference to the designer or builder, only referring to it as Bob Miller’s boat. Some references from that time are problematical, however. Brisbane’s Courier-Mail of 23 April 1960 stated that Taipan was designed and built by N Wright Jr, even though it is now well known that Miller built the boat with Brian Hamilton and Norman Wright Jr’s son Norman (III). The magazine Power Boat and Yachting of May 1960 says, in a report about the world titles likely to have been written by a New Zealand correspondent, that the craft was codesigned by Miller and Norman Wright Jr. Later that year Wright Jr claims the hull as his design and the rig as Miller’s design, in an article in the September 1960 edition of Seacraft magazine, but he also suggests both had involvement with each other’s work. Further Seacraft references sometimes continue the joint-
left: Commercial portrait of Bob Miller some years after Taipan, possibly 1970s. Photographer unknown; ANMM collection right: Miller’s untaught drafting skills extended to pet portraits and a whimsical, inventive cartoon character. Reproduced courtesy of Jenny Wright
design theme, but in a couple of instances they credit only Miller as the designer. Surprisingly the first written records by Bob Miller appear to occur over 10 years later. In an interview with the leading yachting authority Bob Ross for his book Sailing Australians, published in 1973, Miller claims the hull as his design. Surviving colleagues of Miller believe that the design was very much a Miller idea, and some think Wright had absolutely nothing to do with it. Others, in particular Norman’s son Norman III and Brian Hamilton, recalled that the pair discussed ideas. Indeed, Hamilton thought that Wright may have cautioned Miller against being too extreme. There is consensus that the radical concept for the 18-foot skiff Taipan had its genesis in the Flying Dutchman class, a new Olympic class adopted in the late 1950s and sailed by two crew. Both Miller and Wright had sailed the Flying Dutchman class in Australia, but Miller had more experience at the top level. They both knew from experience that a Flying Dutchman was faster than an 18-foot skiff upwind, but not when sailing downwind under spinnaker. There were other influences at work as well. Another Queensland sailmaker, Jack Hamilton, says that Wright knew of the potential speed of the relatively new, Page 12
lightweight Sharpie class, a single-chine plywood planing skiff based on the heavier international 12-square-metre Sharpie. Miller recognised the Sharpies too. Writing in the 1972 Australia and New Zealand Complete Book of Yachting edited by Bob Ross, ‘When I designed ... Taipan I ... designed a lighter Sharpie.’ Around this time a Western Australian 14-foot skiff called Darkie, designed by Len Randell, was making headlines and had been featured in Seacraft magazine in 1958. It was derived from Sydney’s popular VJ class and, like the VJ, Darkie was fully decked over and was of singlechine plywood construction. As well it had three crew. Some of these attributes would be shared by Taipan. Miller and Wright would have been aware of this boat from the magazine and Brian Hamilton thought it had been an influence on the design of Taipan or at least on the concept. We can be certain it was in their minds because Miller’s lines plan of Taipan carries a hand-written note of Darkie’s sail areas. Wright is understood to have voiced ideas for a lightweight 18-foot skiff as early as the mid-1950s, according to Bernie Skinner from New Zealand, who first raced against him in the 1956 World Series held in Brisbane – a series that was won by Wright. There is documentary
evidence noting that during the winter of 1959, the Queensland 18-Foot Skiff Association had asked Wright to come up with plans for a cheaper form of 18-foot skiff. Miller is known to have talked about his ideas for a radical 18-foot skiff based on the Flying Dutchman with colleagues in Sydney, notably Carl Ryves with whose family he lived for a number of years in the 1950s. At this time Miller was trying endplates on the rudder and centreboard of a Moth and a catamaran he had built and, as my article in the last issue of Signals noted, similar experiments would appear on Taipan. This all took place well before he left Sydney to work as a sailmaker with Norman Wright Jr in Brisbane. When Miller was injured in the workplace accident mentioned above, Wright made Miller a drawing board to use and as Miller noted in Sailing Australians, ‘I virtually designed my first 18-footer, Taipan, while laid up in hospital.’ An avid sketcher since childhood, Miller also sketched seemingly random ideas for yachts, cars, motorbikes and aircraft in notebooks that have been donated to the museum by Norman Wright Jr and Vicky Robinson. These fluent sketches show a preoccupation with streamlining and the flow of the lines or shape of the boat, SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Sketch for a catamaran on the back of the only existing original lines plan for Taipan, drawn about 1959. ANMM collection; gift from Norman Wright Jr. All Bob Miller artworks are reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner, Mrs Yvonne Lexcen
vehicle or plane. Compared with the existing skiffs of the day, Taipan carries the stamp of this streamlining. His next 18-foot skiff, Venom of 1961, shows the full expression of these ideas. Many of them are traceable to the work of Dr Manfred Curry (1899–1953), who wrote about the flow of air and water on sailing craft and was another source of inspiration for Miller’s voracious mind. The only plan that exists of Taipan is the lines plan that was published in the last edition of Signals (No 82 page 5). It was gifted to the museum by Norman Wright Jnr in the late 1980s. At this time he attached a handwritten note where he attributes the plan to Miller, and Wright has drawn in the modified sheer line adopted by Miller during the construction. This plan and the note now confirm that the lines were drawn by Bob Miller and that it is correct to credit the design of Taipan to Miller, whatever discussion and input there may have been from Norman Wright Jr. Since Miller’s former supporter has subsequently died, it is not possible to determine what lay behind the seemingly greater claim to the design of the hull that Wright Jr had once made, in the 1960 Seacraft article. Brian Hamilton’s recollections lead us to an insight into Miller’s train of thought. Brian was in Queensland helping to build SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
a Miller-designed catamaran and developing experience with lightweight plywood construction when he became involved with Taipan. On Taipan they were still learning how best to use this material, and the structural details were coming from ‘the seat of the pants’, instinctive and impulsive. Taipan’s construction often shows a progression of
in the Flying Dutchman class, and his knowledge of other craft, would have enabled him to understand and accept the very different design that was being created by Miller with his lines for Taipan. Wright is quoted in his Seacraft article vehemently backing the design as a legitimate 18-foot skiff. Norman Wright Jnr clearly encouraged Miller to design
Miller had overcome a harsh, deprived childhood with little education to achieve early successes both as a sailor and innovator thought: details vary; they don’t remain consistent. The solution to one particular structural problem changes and evolves from one part of the boat to another. This is a hallmark of Miller’s approach. It had a sense of urgency; he was always thinking about things and coming up with another idea, immediately discarding the previous one. Yacht design’s well-worn cliché is that it is a combination of art and science (or engineering). Both art and science are seen in Miller’s self-taught, intuitive and quick-as-a-flash design responses, in every design he did and in many of the fittings or details. Miller clearly had advanced ideas for a plywood boat, and Wright’s background
and build Taipan, and it became their response to the Queensland association’s request for a cheaper 18-foot skiff. It was made in plywood and was half the cost of existing skiffs, but everything else about Miller’s Taipan suggested that it had touched down from another planet. Our focus on this early part of Bob Miller/Ben Lexcen’s career has given us valuable insights into the nature of the man and some of the influences that would coalesce in his successful career as a yacht designer. The rest of his life was characterised by the same energy and unconventional, enquiring turn of mind. His premature death from a heart attack in 1988, aged just 52, was a profound loss. Page 13
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Sydney II OPPOSITE: Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville, lost with HMAS Sydney in November 1941. LEFT: HMAS Sydney returning to Sydney,
February 1941, after service in the Mediterranean Sea with the 7th Cruiser Squadron. Welcoming crowds at Farm Cove view the ship passing Admiralty House, Kirribilli. Samuel J Hood Studio photograph BELOW: Commemorative copper and tin plaque depicting HMAS Sydney sinking the Bartolomeo Colleoni, designed by Calman Folkes, 1940.
The long-awaited – but nonetheless astounding – discovery of the resting place of World War II adversaries HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran in March had everybody talking. Museum phones started to ring, recounts senior curator of maritime technology, exploration and naval history, Lindsey Shaw.
THE CRY went up – ‘They’ve found it!’ ‘Found what?’ ‘The Sydney!’ That was the scene in the curatorial offices on the morning of Monday 17 March when the headlines proclaimed what so many people had waited so long for. After so much speculation and controversy, so many theories and fruitless searches, the ship at the centre of Australia’s greatest naval disaster had been found. In fact, both the light, six-inch gun cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German armed merchantman HSK Kormoran had at last been located on the bottom of the sea – 66 years since they had fought to the death off the coast of Western Australia SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
with the loss of all 645 Sydney crew on 19 November 1941. Now, perhaps, the mystery of how the Australian ship could have been lost without a single survivor, when most of the 390 German sailors were rescued, could be revealed. For the next week I avidly read the HMAS Sydney II search reports, marvelling first at the sonar images that showed without a doubt the final resting place of both of the ships involved in the Royal Australian Navy’s greatest single loss of life. Then came the extraordinary ROV photographic images sent around the world from 2,500 metres beneath the surface. They were astonishing in their clarity and poignancy – leather shoes, gas masks, unused lifeboats, torn metal and Sydney’s missing bow section.
What followed was a flurry of media interviews and public enquiries: ‘Where are the remains? When are you going to raise it? Why did the Germans survive and not the Aussies?’ What also followed were dozens of calls from the public saying they had a bit of Sydney. Well, yes, technically they were right. Only it was the FIRST HMAS Sydney, the one launched in 1912 that had been victorious in World War I against the German cruiser SMS Emden. Thousands of souvenirs were made by the men of Cockatoo Dockyard when this Australian ship was scrapped in 1929 – ashtrays, walking sticks, picture frames, trays, boxes, writing sets and mantle clocks – to name a few. Page 15
LEFT: Limited edition print titled HMAS Sydney (Captain J Collins, cb ran) in the action which
resulted in the sinking of the Italian Cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni in the Mediterranean on 19th July 1940. John Allcot, 1941. BELOW left: German life jacket from surviving
officer Oberleutenant Heinz Messerschmidt of HSK Kormoran after its battle with HMAS Sydney. Manufactured by Wetzell Grimmi Germany, 1930s. BELOW centre: Velvet cushion cover depicting
HMAS Sydney embroidered in longstitch, one of many pieces of memorabilia produced to celebrate the ship’s victory in the Mediterranean. BELOW RIGHT: NSW Department of Education reader for children, The School Magazine (Vol XXIV 1941) features a photograph of HMAS Sydney crew in a shell hole in the funnel sustained during her encounter with the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni.
Dreams of fortunes to be made on a suddenly red-hot historical memorabilia market went out the window! But among all the enquiries was a gem. The museum was offered a photograph of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville taken on 19 September 1940, two months after the Sydney had been victorious in the Mediterranean against the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni. It is the first identified photograph in our collection relating to the 645 men who lost their lives in November 1941. Signed ‘To Charlie and Ada from Fred 19–9–40’ Page 16
– they were Reville’s younger brother and an aunt – it shows the seaman in summer dress whites, sitting straight and staring into the distance. It was a cherished memento kept by the donor’s stepmother, Reville’s elder sister. Reville’s papers are held in the National Archives of Australia. They reveal he signed up for 12 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy in 1934 and went from ERA IV (engine room artificer) to Warrant Engineer in 1940. His training was at the RAN bases of HMAS Cerberus and Penguin as well as at sea in
HMAS Australia. His final posting was to HMAS Sydney. His papers end with the chilling words ‘MISSING PRESUMED LOST ‘SYDNEY’ 20/11/41’. The National Archives also hold Reville’s father’s papers. He joined the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) at the age of 42 leaving a wife and four young children in Melbourne, and died in Flanders in 1918 as a result of head injuries suffered during battle. The Reville family, like so many others, lost sons and fathers in both World Wars. Vale HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Bayleaf is now cooking at Yots Café, Bar and Kiosk at the Australian National Maritime Museum, catering for: • events • weddings • conferences • product launches
SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Bayleaf On site catering office 02 9281 3313 email@example.com
Yots Café and Bar 02 9211 5144 www.yotsdarlingharbour.com.au
Advance It’s 40 years since the museum’s ex-RAN Attack class patrol boat, Advance, was commissioned – and on 17 May it was 20 years since the navy handed her over to us. To mark the occasion we organised a seminar of former Advance captains. It was introduced by former Fremantle class patrol boat commander Commodore Stephen Gilmore am csc, currently the naval member of the museum’s council. ANMM senior curator Lindsey Shaw prepared this overview of Advance.
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BY THE 1960s Australia was closely involved in events in the Asia-Pacific region, and was no longer depending on a British strategic presence close to the north in Malaysia and Singapore. The effect of this on Australia’s naval strategy was a greater commitment to improving surveillance and control of our enormous coastline, especially its northern approaches. In 1963 the Royal Australian Navy requested a preliminary feasibility study for a boat of simple characteristics: about 21–24 metres in length (70–80 feet); speed of 12 knots; accommodation for two officers, two petty officers and 10 junior rates. The approved design that was ultimately developed was for a vessel of 32.76 metres (107.5 feet), six-metre (20-foot) beam, 2.2-metre (7.3 foot) maximum draught, capable of 24 knots and crewed by three officers and 16 ratings. They were powered by two Davey Paxman V-16 diesels of 3,460 hp. The hulls were of steel while the superstructures were aluminium. The decision to produce a new patrol boat for the RAN was approved by the Australian Government in 1964 – initially for nine all-purpose craft. This was soon increased to 14, and then 20. Five of the boats were to be detailed to the Papua New Guinea division. In 1965 construction contracts were awarded to two long-standing ship-building firms: Evans, Deakin & Company of Brisbane, and Walkers Limited of Maryborough. HMAS Advance was the third of the 20 Attack class patrol boats built in these two Queensland shipyards between 1967 and 1969. The Attack class, named after the first of the type, was primarily designed for general patrol and survey work in Australian and New Guinean waters. It was designed to cover a lot of territory and to do a myriad of jobs such as patrol, board and search illegal fishers Main picture: Former commanders of Advance
attended the vessel’s birthday seminar. (L to R) CDRE Judge Ken Taylor am rfd ranr, LCDR Peter Lyons rfd ranr, CMDR Bob Cunningham rfd ranr, CMDR Jonathon Delaney ran (Rtd), LCDR Chris Pickering ran (Rtd), CMDR Guy James ran (Rtd), CMDR Peter Breeze ran (Rtd). Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM Advance birthday celebrations in full swing, aided by cake and the Naval Reserve Band. Photographer Shirani Aththas/ANMM
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in Australian fishing grounds; seaward and harbour defence; coast watching duties; smuggling and immigration control. They could also be deployed for air–sea search and rescue; act as a target towing vessel; undertake anti-infiltration and counter insurgency; service local navigational beacons, do occasional inshore survey work; protect offshore oil rigs, transport patients from remote locations; and act as a training vessel for Reserve officers and sailors, as well as for general training in small ship handling.
The Attack class reflected a stage in the development of high-speed patrol boat design. It moved away from short-range, petrol-driven timber craft (such as the Fairmile torpedo boats and air–sea rescue craft built for Australian forces in World War II) to medium-range diesel vessels. The final design came from the best of the existing designs in Britain and America. They used a lot of British equipment, such as the Paxman main engines, but the
machine guns that could put warning shots across the bows of a suspect vessel. They were airconditioned for tropical conditions and there was freezer space on board to provide quality food when at sea for extended periods. In general, water and victualling stores were stored for 14-day deployments at a time. The patrol boats were originally designated the First Australian Patrol Boat Squadron. In 1972 they underwent a reorganisation and were divided into the First, Second and Third Squadrons plus the Papua New Guinea Division. Their respective bases were Sydney, Cairns, Darwin and Manus Island. Advance served primarily in the Third Squadron in Darwin, where they were called the ‘Darwin Navy’ and had a buffalo head insignia painted on their funnels. HMAS Advance was launched on 16 August 1967 by Mrs Frank George, the wife of Rear Admiral Frank Leveson George, and, after the appropriate sea trials, was commissioned on 24 February 1968. Advance served out of Darwin in patrol boat squadrons until 1977. In that time she helped shadow a Russian fishing ship suspected of spying, dispersed large numbers of illegal foreign fishing boats, and assisted in hydrographic surveys of the north-west coast with HMAS Moresby. During the 1974 Cyclone Tracy that devastated Darwin, Advance and Assail were able to ride it out but still suffered some damage. The class namesake Attack was driven ashore at Doctor’s Gully and
Lightly armed for small-scale encounters, they could put warning shots across the bows of a suspect vessel design also foreshadowed the RAN’s increasing swing to US equipment with American generators. An Australian modification was the use of readily available commercial components in some of the fitout. This was because of their need to operate in remote northern waters far from military bases, where their best supply source might be the hardware store of an isolated coastal town. They were lightly armed for small-scale encounters, with one 40/60 millimetre Bofors gun and two 0.5-inch Browning
their sister ship Arrow sank at the Stokes Hill Wharf with the loss of two lives. Advance is publicly best-known for starring in the first series of the popular ABC-TV production Patrol Boat – not to be confused with the current Channel 9 series. She and HMAS Bombard starred as HMAS Ambush in this early series that was produced in 1979 and 1983 starring Robert Coleby, Andrew McFarlane, Grant Dodwell and Danny Adcock among many others. It was filmed around Sydney Harbour, Pittwater, Kuringai and the Hawkesbury and was one of the first local Page 19
above: Advance off Sydney Heads. The vessel is fully operational and has voyaged to other ports to fly the museum flag. Photographer A Frolows/ANMM above right: Shooting and fishing – a sailor’s life on Advance in the tropical north in 1976–77. Reproduced courtesy of CDRE Brian Robertson am ran (Rtd)
and came to the museum in May 1988 – exactly 20 years ago today the Deed of Memorandum was signed. So what happened to the other Attack class boats? Five of them were originally built for service in Papua New Guinea, with Australian officers in command. These boats then went on to form the
In remote northern waters, their best supply source might be the hardware store of an isolated coastal town attempts at a contemporary television series centred on an arm of the defence forces and aimed at a general audience. When the Attack class was superseded by the larger Fremantle class of patrol boats, Advance became a training ship for the Sydney Port Division of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve and was based at HMAS Waterhen over at Waverton. The Reserve used her for weekend patrols, navigation and seamanship training and as support to divers as required. She was eventually decommissioned on 6 February 1988 Page 20
basis of the PNG Navy at Independence in 1975. They were all paid off in the late 1980s and Aitape was sunk in 1995 as a recreational dive site, south-east of Port Moresby. Eight went to the Indonesian Navy between 1973 and 1985 as part of the Australian-Indonesia Defence Cooperation Project for Indonesia’s maritime surveillance capability. According to Jane’s Fighting Ships, these craft are still in operation. Of the remainder, Adroit was sunk as target practice off Rottnest Island in 1994 – by the New Zealand air force; Ardent is
now a pleasure craft somewhere in Asia; Buccaneer was also sunk during target practice in 1988; Bayonet was scuttled off Mornington Peninsula in 1999; and Aware is said to be somewhere in Wiseman’s Ferry – has anyone seen her recently? Researching the history of Advance and her class has been made easier recently with the release through the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial of her Reports of Proceedings – a monthly report on all activities, problems and issues. To the museum, HMAS Advance represents a type of vessel engaged in one of the peacetime roles undertaken by the Royal Australian Navy and also demonstrates the willingness of the government in maintaining surveillance and control over the Australian coastline from incursions by illegal immigrants and foreign fishing activities within our territorial waters – a job that is continued today by the current Armidale class patrol boats. And we are very pleased to have her with us for the foreseeable future – so happy birthday Advance and we hope there are many more to come. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Message to Members From Members manager Adrian Adam
At recent events Members have met botanical artist and former Endeavour voyager Lucy Smith, and photographer Andrew Bell (left of picture) with his memorable images of shipbreaking in Bangladesh. Photographers J Mellefont, A Adam/ANMM
A big welcome to all our Members and especially the many new ones who are receiving Signals for the first time – I look forward to your regular visits to the museum. Our wonderful exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950 has been very popular, especially over the holiday break. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, do get along … the boats are a marvel to behold. See page 28 for the complete rundown of our exhibitions over winter.
Captain Fear. Or get out on the water to watch the legendary Balmain Bug racing skiff models in action, a bit of harbour heritage that we’re helping to bring back to life. There’s the annual visit to our beer sponsors Malt Shovel Brewery, makers of James Squire beers … a must for beer lovers. Or get into black tie (or Naval duds) for the annual HMAS Vampire formal wardroom dinner, hosted by a former CO of the mighty Daring class destroyer.
Trash or Treasure? Souvenirs of travel promises to be fun. It’s a round-up of mementos that people have brought home with them, from wars and pilgrimages, holidays and cruises. It shows what a universal impulse it is to try to bring a bit of our travels back with us. And it’s the theme of one of our stimulating seminars. Its cast includes Tony Wheeler, the prominent cofounder of Lonely Planet travel guides, and Daryl Mills who recently featured on ABC TV’s Collectors with his collection of cruising and travel memorabilia.
Many Members have asked me if we will be staging a Members event that looks at the story of the search for, and the recent discovery of, HMAS Sydney II. I can report that the chairman of Finding Sydney PL Mr Ted Graham has agreed to come to the museum to give a special lecture in October this year. Stand by for more on that eagerly anticipated lecture.
Another seminar traces the search for Captain Cook’s cannons and anchors off the Queensland coast and in the Pacific. It features Australia’s foremost expert in corrosion and underwater conservation, Emeritus Professor Colin Pearson, while our own curator Dr Nigel Erskine talks about the current search for the remains of Endeavour’s hull in Newport, Rhode Island. We’ll screen three lost documentaries made in the 1970s about the cannons and anchors James Cook left behind off Queensland and Tahiti – one by the legendary film maker Sir David Lean. Winter marks the annual northwards whale migration and you can join one of our cruises to spot the whales as they pass Sydney. This is something you should all do at least once – seeing them up close is a unforgettable! We can safely say there’s something for everyone. You can bring in the kids for a torchlight after-hours ghost tour hosted by SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Our popular submarine HMAS Onslow was to have been drydocked at Garden Island in May this year but due to operational considerations this was deferred. Onslow will get away for this very important maintenance for a month or so in the not too distant future but the date is not yet fixed – so if you’re coming to see the sub, check its availability first. For those with internet access, you can now pay your membership online and access the special Members area on our website with your personal log-in and password. There’s a new Members blog which gives you up-to-date information and feedback on what’s happening in Members and the museum generally. Simply visit www.anmm.gov.au/members and contact the Members Office if you do not have, or have forgotten, your log-in details. I hope I have whetted your appetite to join in on some activities and look forward to seeing you at the museum soon. As always, any feedback welcome. Page 21
Members around town
The big ‘Queens’ never fail to draw members onto the harbour ... most recently Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II which crossed paths in February. Photographs by Members David Mueller, Nick and Anne Lampe
New arrivals enjoyed our hospitality at another one of our welcoming soirees, when staff and volunteers greet our newest Members. Photographer J Mellefont/ ANMM Clockwise from right:
Kay House and John Davis Peter and Annie Cameron enjoyed our jazz band ... The Miles family, David, Harriet, Georgia and Emma, meet museum desperado Cap'n Pugwash. New member John Wilson gets a door prize, drawn by helper Zara Collins under the watchful wall-eye of Cap'n Pugwash.
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Events for Members How to book It’s easy to book for the Members events on the next pages … it only takes a phone call and if you have a credit card ready we can take care of payments on the spot.
Members Events Calendar June
• To reserve tickets for events call the Members Office on 02 9298 3644 (business hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings strictly in order of receipt.
Talk & view: Bateaux lunchtime curator tour
Lecture: Fred Watson navigates by the stars
Lecture: Flying boats of Sydney
• If paying by phone, have credit card details at hand.
Lecture: The Collins class submarine story
• If paying by mail after making a reservation, please include a completed booking form with a cheque made out to the Australian National Maritime Museum.
• The booking form is on reverse of the address sheet with your Signals mailout. • If payment for an event is not received seven (7) days before the function your booking may be cancelled.
Booked out? We always try to repeat the event in another program.
For kids: Pirate ghost tour
Talk & view: Bateaux lunchtime curator tour
Talk: The age of marine steam, men and machines
Cruise: Whale watching
Seminar: Trash or treasure
August Sun 3
Cruise: Whale watching
Tour: Malt Shovel Brewery
If you can’t attend a booked event, please notify us at least five (5) days before the function for a refund. Otherwise, we regret a refund cannot be made. Events and dates are correct at the time of printing but these may vary … if so, we’ll be sure to inform you.
Talk & view: Bateaux lunchtime curator tour
Seminar: Captain Cook’s lost anchors,
Parking near museum Wilson Parking offers Members discount parking at nearby Harbourside Carpark, Murray Street, Darling Harbour. To obtain a discount, you must have your ticket validated at the museum ticket desk.
cannons Wed 13 Special: Vampire wardroom dinner Sun 17
On the water: 2-foot model skiff race
Lectures and talks Lunchtime curator’s tours of exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950 12–1.30 pm Friday 13 June 12–1.30 pm Friday 11 July 12–1.30 pm Friday 8 August at the museum Over lunchtime on the second Friday of the month, join one of our curator-guided tours of this popular exhibition of toy boats from the unique collection of the Musée national de la Marine, Paris. Spanning a century, these mechanical marvels were inspired by developments in 19th and early 20th-century steam navigation, transatlantic liners, battleships and speedboats. Enjoy discussion over a light lunch and glass of wine in the Members lounge, followed by a detailed guided walk through the exhibition. Members $15 guests $20. Includes light lunch, Ensign wines, cheese and James Squire beer
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Bateau belle Kate Frost. Photographer A Frolows/ANMM
Events for Members Discover the southern skies with Fred Watson 6.15–8.30 pm Thursday 19 June at the museum
M’Andrew’s Hymn – marine steam, men and machines 9–10.30 am Thursday 24 July at the museum
Navigating the Earth’s oceans by the stars was one early practical use of astronomy. Today, our exploration has extended beyond the Earth’s surface to the Solar System and beyond. Fred Watson, astronomer in charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory, brings the interplanetary superhighway to life, and illustrates how stars are used to navigate spacecraft around every corner of the Solar System. He will also talk about his upcoming special themed cruise to celebrate International Year of Astronomy in June 2009. A Guide to the Southern Skies on board MV Orion will get away from light pollution to view the brightest part of the Milky Way while sailing from the Kimberley to East Timor. FREE event. RSVP essential. Includes Ensign wine, cheese and James Squire beer
From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see Thy hand, O God: Predestination in the stride o’ yon connectin’ rod
Flying Boats: Sydney’s golden age of aviation 6–8 pm Thursday 26 June at the Museum of Sydney
Ansett Sandringham Beachcomber, Lord Howe Island 1960s
During the heyday of flying boat operations on Sydney Harbour in the late 1950s and early 1960s, pilots Jim Hughes and Ray Daw flew these magnificent four-engine aircraft to many exotic South Seas destinations. Join Flying Boats curator Matthew Holle and his two guests as they share their memories of this golden age of aviation, followed by a private tour of the exhibition. Flying Boats is on display from 10 May to 14 September at the Museum of Sydney. ANMM Members $29 guests $39. Includes refreshments. Museum of Sydney on the site of first Government House. For bookings please call 02 8239 2266 and quote your membership number The Collins class submarine story: steel, spies and spin 2–4 pm Sunday 29 June at the museum This new book explores the Collins class submarine project. Plagued by difficulties and mired in politics, it’s a story of heroes and villains, grand passions, intrigue, lies, spies and backstabbing. Building these submarines was Australia’s largest, most expensive and most controversial military project. Join the book’s co-author Derek Woolner, visiting fellow of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU, for an indepth look at the story behind the Collins class. Members $15 guests $20. Followed by Ensign wines, cheese and James Squire beer
Join us to explore the way steam engines revolutionised shipping around the world and led to the demise of sailing ships. Learn about steam engine history from Newcomen’s engine of 1712, developing through the Victorian era to the tripleexpansion engines of the 20th century. Marine engineers Steven Adams (ANMM fleet manager) and Neil Brough (ex-ANMM) unbolt history and delve into the flanges and conrods of marine steam engines, while a special guest – the ghost of immortal engineer M’Andrew – will appear to recite Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem. Meet 0900 at the Kara Kara steam engine in the Navy exhibition followed by smoko in the duty mess. Members $10 guests $15. Includes morning tea Special one-day seminar: Trash or treasure seminar 9.30 am–4.30 pm Sunday July 27 at the museum Travel has captured the imagination of people around the world for centuries. We return home bearing cherished trophies of our journeys which we proudly display, and share stories of snaring a bargain or an unusual relic. Hear tales and traditions of souvenir hunting from a variety of well-travelled speakers including Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet; Daryl Mills, collector of antique travel items; holiday historian Dr Richard White from the University of Sydney and cultural guru Professor Peter Spearritt from the University of Queensland. Members $55 guests $65. Includes morning and afternoon tea, light lunch, reception, Ensign wine and James Squire beer Special seminar and film screenings: The search for Cook’s lost anchors and cannons 11.30 am–4.30 pm Sunday 10 August at the museum Learn the stories behind the search for James Cook’s cannon and anchor, jettisoned on the Great Barrier Reef in 1770, as well as the search and recovery of one of HMS Resolution’s anchors lost at Tahiti in 1773. You will see three little-known documentaries: Six Heavy Fish and a Ton of Sinkers (1971) by Roland Beckett; Cook’s Anchor (1975) by Don Murray; Lost and Found, The Story of Cook’s Anchor (1979) by legendary film-maker Sir David Lean. Speakers will include corrosion expert Emeritus Professor Colin Pearson from the University of Canberra, Australian film producers Roland Beckett and Don Murray, and Dr Nigel Erskine, ANMM curator of exploration. Members $45 guests $55. Includes light lunch, afternoon tea, reception, Ensign wine and James Squire beer BOOKINGS AND ENQUIRIES Booking form on reverse of mailing address sheet. Phone 02 9298 3644 or fax 02 9298 3660, unless otherwise indicated. All details are correct at publication but subject to change.
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Tours and walks Special: James Squire – beer lover’s tour & tasting 5–7 pm Wednesday 6 August at the Malt Shovel Brewery
Discover how the museum’s beer sponsor Malt Shovel Brewery, brewer of James Squire beers, produces this unique range of hand-crafted brews. Tour the Malt Shovel Brewery in Camperdown and learn some of the secrets of these distinctive beers, based on the traditional methods of Australia’s first brewer, James Squire. Beer lovers will enjoy sampling a range of outstanding brews with Australia’s most experienced brewmasters, including Chuck Hahn. Members $15 guests $20. Includes beer and food tasting. Meet at Malt Shovel Brewery, 99 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown
On the water Whale-watch cruise 9.30 am–12.30 pm Saturday 26 July and Sunday 3 August Experience the unforgettable thrill of watching whales migrate north along the coast of Sydney. See them close-up from the luxury offshore vessel True Blue, a built-for-purpose whalewatch vessel. A speaker will be on board to provide commentary. Last year there were record sightings, so don’t miss the chance to see these magnificent creatures and don’t forget to bring your camera! Members: adults $60 child $35 family (2 adults + 2 children) $160. Guests: adults $65 child $40 family $180. Meet at Festival Pontoon next to submarine HMAS Onlsow. Tea and coffee provided on board. Cruise may be subject to change depending on conditions off-shore. Guaranteed sightings or receive a replacement cruise free Special: Annual HMAS Vampire wardroom dinner 6–9.45 pm Wednesday 13 August on HMAS Vampire On 13 August 1986 HMAS Vampire was officially decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy. After 27 years she had steamed 808,026 nautical miles. Exactly 20 years after her decomissioning, join us to celebrate the ship’s service in the RAN with a Navy dinner in the Vampire wardroom. The dinner president will be CMDR Mike Taylor RAN (Rtd) who commanded Vampire 1980–82. Former ship’s officer CMDR Bill Ruse RAN (Rtd) will be the vice-president. Includes predinner cocktails, traditional three-course meal, passing of the port and the loyal toast. Members $99 guests $110. Strictly limited places due to the size of the wardroom. Black tie or Navy uniform
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Vintage model skiff race on the harbour A Bateaux Jouets farewell event 10 am–2 pm Sunday 17 August at the museum and off Rodd Island
Balmain Bugs – racing model skiffs – are a unique part of Sydney’s harbour heritage tracing their roots to the water sports of the boatmen of Balmain, all the way back to the 1860s. Those who couldn’t race a full-sized skiff turned to sailing models that, like the skiffs, carried enormous rigs dwarfing their hulls. The competition was stiff in popular races conducted regularly on the harbour up until the 1950s. Join Dennis and Harry McGoogan, both lifelong Sydney Harbour sailors and passionate model skiff builders, who talk about these model boats and their history. We then head out by ferry to watch Dennis and Harry pit their two-footers against each other in a match race off picturesque Rodd Island. Members $50 guests $60. Includes talk at museum, light lunch and refreshments on the ferry
For kids After-dark ghost ship tour 5–7 pm Wednesday 9 July on the James Craig and the museum Bring your torches for a night of ghoulish adventure at the museum. Meet our resident ghost, Pirate Fear, who wanders the halls of the museum after dark. Come aboard his ship to find the lost treasure of his ghastly crew. Listen to scary stories and join in some stirring shanties and activities along the way. Mums and dads can enjoy a glass of Ensign wine and view our exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950. Members’ children $12 guests $15. Includes refreshments and supper and a rollicking good time. Aghhhh! Suitable for children aged 4 to 9
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What’s on at the museum Winter school holidays 6 July–20 July 2008 KIDS DECK Bateaux Jouets (toy boats) Hourly sessions 10 am–4 pm Daily Inspired by the exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950, children can construct and decorate their own paddlewheel boats with elastic band propulsion. Race some small toy boats to the centre of Paris in our custom-built maze. Play with toy boats with simple mechanisms. Dress up in clothes from the time. For children aged 5–12. $7 per child or FREE with any purchased ticket. Adults/Members FREE.
During Term Fun family Sundays 11 am–3 pm every Sunday Themed on the exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950. Children can race their boats through the maze and play with toy boats with simple mechanisms. Dress up in clothes from the time and make your own toy boat to take home. For children 5–12. $7 per child or FREE with any purchased ticket. Adults/Members FREE.
Endeavour recruits School holiday weekdays 11 am 12 pm and 1 pm The HM Bark Endeavour replica has arrived once again and Captain Cook has instructed his officers to look for new recruits for the return voyage to England. Join in the Captain’s challenges, performing the many duties of an 18th-century sailor at sea. Is the life of a sailor what you imagined? Approx 30 minutes. For children 5–12 years. $7 per child or FREE with any purchased ticket. Adults/Members FREE. FREE ACTIVITIES NAIDOC storytelling Sunday 6 & 13 July 1.30 pm and 3 pm Celebrate NAIDOC week and Indigenous cultures. Join our Indigenous storyteller Marlene Cummins as she brings some of her ancestors’ stories to life. Approx 30 minutes duration. For children 5–12 years. FREE Family film 1.30 pm daily Toad of Toad Hall A free film to complement the temporary exhibition program. SPECIAL GROUP RATES For groups of 10 children or more. $7 per child for a fully organised program of activities that includes: • all museum exhibitions • all children’s activities • entry to the destroyer Vampire and the submarine Onslow • FREE entry for 2 adults per 10 children • FREE bus parking NB $4 extra per child for the HMB Endeavour replica or 1874 tall ship James Craig. Bookings essential to ensure your space! Phone 02 9298 3777 Fax 02 9298 3660 Email: bookings@ anmm.gov.au
Enfants Tuileries. Courtesy Musée national de la Marine
National whale day 11 am–3 pm Sunday 15 June Celebrate the inaugural National Whale Day: view the International Fund for Animal Welfare exhibit of drawings, stories and poems around the theme ‘We love whales’. Help create a giant whale wall mural and hear stories about these majestic creatures of the deep. In association with IFAW. For children 5–12. $7 per child or FREE with any purchased ticket. Adults/Members FREE. Movies on Sundays 1.30 pm every school term Sunday A FREE film to complement the temporary exhibition program. Visit www.anmm.gov.au for full film program. Mini Mariners 10–10.45 am every Tuesday during term, 2–5 years + carers June – Pirates Follow a treasure map to find out where the loot is hidden. Make your own treasure chest to take home. Come dressed as a pirate to double the fun. July – Tall Ships Unfurl sail on a rollicking high-seas adventure. Climb the rigging and perform the duties of an 18th-century sailor. August – Boats in the harbour Join the crew as we row, row, row through stormy seas, singing songs as we go merrily along. Cost $7 per child. Members/adults FREE. Booked playgroups are welcome. Please call 02 9298 3655. Please note that this program is not offered during the school holidays and for safety reasons is held inside the museum. For more information please visit our website at www.anmm.gov.au
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Winter 2008 program Special events 2008 Cruise Forum No 2 in association with WEA France On The Foreshores: Joubert, Jeanneret and Bateaux Jouets 10 am–2 pm Thursday 5 June To complement our exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950, historian Joan Lawrence describes early French connections with the harbour, notably Hunters Hill’s ‘French Village’. Photographer and model boat builder David Mist demonstrates the intricate skills and imagination required to build smaller versions of the real thing. Cruise to Hunters Hill and join historians Maureen Fry and Joan Lawrence for a guided walk past the French houses, enjoy a picnic at Yurulbin Point, Birchgrove and, on return, view the exhibition. Cost $60 (concession $55) includes morning tea and lunch. Bookings essential WEA 02 9264 2781
Crossing the ditch 1 pm Sunday 20 July In January 2008 James Castrission and Justin Jones reached New Zealand in 62 days after paddling 3,318 km from Australia in their custom-built kayak Lot 41. They braved 10-metre swells, winds of over 50 knots, adverse currents, severe deprivation of food and sleep and wasting muscles to become the first kayak expedition to complete the Tasman Sea crossing – the longest trans-oceanic kayaking voyage by two expeditioners. James and Justin’s tell their incredible story. Lima – City of Kings A Peruvian cultural and gastronomical day 10 am–5 pm Sunday 17 August
Summers Past: Golden Days in the Sun 1950–1970 Photographic conservation workshop and clinic 10 am–4 pm Sunday 8 June Inspired by our nostalgic photographic exhibition from National Archives, Summers Past: Golden Days in the Sun 1950–1970, professional conservators reveal how to store, preserve, handle and display photographs from both family and institutional collections. Bring your own photographs to the clinic for advice. 10 am morning tea. 10.30 am presentation and workshop. 12.30 pm lunch (BYO). 1.30 pm clinic. FREE. Bookings essential: 02 9298 3655 Musicfest: make your own music, have your own stage Saturday 21 June
In association with The Consulate General of Peru and Soul of Peru, this festival unveils the richness of the Peruvian culture and gastronomy. The streets of romantic Lima, gateway to Peru, are evoked in a day of celebration, music, dance, lectures, films, handcrafts, photography, paintings and themed entertainment for children. Live-cooking demonstrations complement food stalls offering a feast of traditional dishes. An Alpaca-fibre fashion parade is a highlight and our two Alpacas are sure to delight young and old. An experience to be shared and cherished. Entry is FREE. International symposium: Great White Fleet 1908–2008 9 am–5 pm Saturday 23 August
MusicFest is the Australian edition of Fête de la Musique, an international festival that celebrates the summer/winter solstice around the world. Musicians of all kinds, amateur and professional, take to the streets and public buildings of Sydney to share their craft. To celebrate the exhibition Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950, French-styled music will spontaneously erupt around the museum throughout the day. FREE. More at www.musicfest.org.au
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Features speakers from Australia and the USA exploring the centenary of the first American battleship fleet to visit Australia. This visit had a significant impact on the Australian people, the future development of the Royal Australian Navy, and Australia’s long-term alliance with the USA. Inspect an exhibition in the USA Gallery, Great White Fleet – US sea power on parade 1908. In association with Sea Power Centre Australia. Cost $25. Bookings essential: 02 9298 3709 Program times and venues are correct at time of going to press. To check programs before your museum visit call 02 9298 3777.
Winter 2008 exhibitions In our galleries
Living Knowledge – Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2008 28 June–31 August North Gallery
Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950 20 March–17 August Gallery One
The museum marks the annual Indigenous cultural celebration, NAIDOC Week, with an exhibition of artwork, and we launch the science education website Living Knowledge – Indigenous Knowledge.
Arnaud Fux courtesy Musée national de la Marine
Over 200 toy boats from the Musée national de la Marine, Paris, showcase dreams of childhood adventures on the high seas. These mechanical marvels were inspired by a century of steam navigation, transatlantic liners, battleships and speedboats. Children, adults and collectors will enjoy this stunning collection on show for the first time in Australia. Summers Past: Golden Days in the Sun 1950–1970 Until 22 June South Gallery
Miss Pacific finalists Bondi Beach 1952
These images encapsulating Australian summers were taken by the Australian News and Information Bureau, and vividly recall our enduring love affair with sun and sea. A National Archives touring exhibition supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government Program Tall Ship Adventure: A Young Man’s Journey New York to Fremantle 1905 Until late July USA Gallery
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution
This is the story of 19-yearold Fred Taylor’s adventure under sail aboard the barque Queen Margaret from New York to Fremantle, told through his journal and photographs. The collection comes from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. Little Shipmates – seafaring pets Until 24 August 2009 Tasman Light
Samuel J Hood ANMM collection
Cats, dogs, monkeys and birds have long been cherished on board ships. Sydney photographer Sam Hood photographed them for over 50 years and this selection of 14 delightful pictures shows just how much pets meant to seafarers.
Trash or Treasure? Souvenirs of travel 5 July–1 February 2009 Discover a diverse array of souvenirs collected by pilgrims, sailors, soldiers, cruise passengers and tourists. It’s a ritual travellers have performed for centuries. Quaint, cheap, stylish or precious, a souvenir embodies just a little of our irreplaceable travel experiences. Great White Fleet – US sea power on parade 1908 From 14 August USA Gallery It’s 100 years since the USA’s ‘Great White Fleet’ visited Australia, despatched by President Roosevelt to demonstrate American naval capability to the world. Australians greeted its 16 white-painted battleships and their escorts with huge enthusiasm.
On the water Replica of James Cook’s Endeavour Open 10am–4 pm until 15 August only Visit the magnificent Australian-built replica of Captain James Cook’s ship in which he circumnavigated the world (1768–71), charted Australia’s east coast and claimed it for Britain. Members FREE. Adult $15, child/concession $8, family $30. Other ticket combinations available. Enquiries 02 9298 3777 Barque James Craig (1874) Daily Wharf 7 (except when sailing) Sydney Heritage Fleet’s magnificent iron-hulled ship is the result of an award-winning 30-year restoration. Tour the ship with various museum ticket packages (discount for Members).
ANMM travelling exhibitions The River – Life on the Murray–Darling 7 June–26 August Museum of Riverina Wagga Wagga Antarctic Views by Hurley and Ponting 5 June–20 July Manning Regional Art Gallery Taree Currach Folk – Photographs by Bill Doyle 5 July–2 November Public Records Office Victoria Melbourne Great White Fleet – US sea power on parade 1908 August 2008 Melbourne Museum SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
For schools Over 30 programs for students K–12, across a range of syllabus areas. Options include extension workshops, hands-on sessions, theatre, tours with museum teacherguides and harbour cruises. Programs link to both core museum and special temporary exhibitions. Bookings essential: telephone 02 9298 3655 fax 02 9298 3660 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: www.anmm.gov.au
Arnaud Fux courtesy Musée national de la Marine
Bateaux Jouets – toy boats from Paris 1850–1950 Years K–2 HSIE, Science Primary school programs revolve around subjects such as transport, simple machines and the science of toys, covering areas such propulsion, design and toys of the past. Relates to primary units The Way We Were and Toy World, and COGS unit Simple Machines. Optional craft workshop where students can design their own boat and make an origami boat-hat to wear. Secondary programs include science (propulsion), design & technology and Children in History elective for Stage 4 history. French language tours available for all ages. Optional 3-course French lunch at Little Snail restaurant, Pyrmont. $6 per student (workshop $2 extra; French lunch $20 extra) Transport Years K–2 HSIE, Science Students tour the museum identifying various forms of transport connected with water – sailing ships, row-boats, ferries, tugs, a Navy destroyer, water traffic and even a helicopter! An optional cruise by heritage ferry takes in industrial, commercial and passenger transport systems on the harbour. $6 per student (cruise extra) Navigators Years 3–6 HSIE This program investigates early contact with the Australian continent. Students encounter non-European traders, traditional navigation techniques, and early European explorers. They view constellations in the night sky used for navigation, and look at the influence of European explorers in the Age of Sail. Items on display include artefacts from ships such as Endeavour and Batavia, and material from Dutch, English, French, Torres Strait Islander and Makassan explorers. $6 per student
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Refugee Week 18–20 June Primary and Secondary HSIE Refugees from many countries have crossed the seas to make Australia their home. Students will visit our Passengers exhibition to investigate some of their stories, board the museum’s restored Vietnamese refugee vessel Tu Do (it means ‘Freedom’) and attend a talk by a Vietnamese refugee who will reflect on the experience of fleeing to Australia as a child and making a new home. $8 per student Pyrmont walk Years 9–12 History, Geography Explore this inner-city suburb from the perspective of changing demographics, construction, planning and development. Led by a teacher-guide, students walk the streets of Pyrmont and examine changes. The program is suitable as a site study for History and Geography. A harbour cruise examining change and development along the waterfront is also available. From $12 per student. Cruise extra Shipwrecks, corrosion and conservation Year 12 HSC Chemistry Relating to the NSW Stage 6 Chemistry syllabus option Shipwrecks, Corrosion & Conservation, this program includes a talk on metals conservation, an experiment-based workshop and a tour of related shipwreck material in the museum’s galleries. Students may also visit our ex-RAN destroyer Vampire and submarine Onslow, and view the tall ship James Craig from the wharf. $20 per student (minimum numbers apply) Pirate school Years K–4 English, Maths, HSIE, Creative Arts Join the pirate school for lessons in treasure counting, speaking like a pirate, map reading and more! Then join a treasure hunt through the museum and board the tall ship, James Craig. $10 per student (James Craig $2 extra per student) Maritime archaeology Years 5–12 History, Science Hands-on workshops where students use a mock seabed and examine objects from shipwrecks as a way of exploring unwritten records of the past. Students learn about the process of maritime archaeology, conservation and interpretation of material history. Programs are available for both primary and secondary students. $10 per student (Years 5–6); $12 per student (Years 7–10); $15 per student (Years 11–12)
A submariner at the helm
Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s governing council, Peter Sinclair am csc, spoke to Signals about an eventful career and its undoubted highlight – test-driving what was at the time Australian’s most expensive and most controversial military purchase, the Collins class submarine. Interview by Signals editor Jeffrey Mellefont.
Museum chairman Peter Sinclair with a model of the Collins class submarines he once commanded. He was at the launch of a history of the Collins submarine project at the museum in April this year. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM
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their families, not knowing what’s happening while they’re out there underneath the ocean. Signals: Is it true that submariners come home smelling of diesel?
SIGNALS: Heading up its council, this museum has previously had a famous fisherman-cum-restaurateur, the late Peter Doyle; an equally famous woman solo circumnavigator, Kay Cottee; a yacht-racing mining engineer, Mark Bethwaite – and now we’ve got a submariner. Why did you go underwater, Mr Chairman? Peter Sinclair: There’s no doubt there was some early influence from my father, a very successful naval man [Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair ac ao, a former governor of NSW – Ed]. The seafaring blood must flow in my veins through him and other ancestors. But in my later years as a teenager, we lived in Neutral Bay near the submarine base at HMAS Platypus and I became fascinated with these black messengers of death that used to come in and out of Sydney Harbour daily. So when I left school I announced that I was going to join the navy – although my dad thought it could be difficult for me because of the concern that I’d always be sailing in his wake. I joined up regardless and as soon as I’d finished my degree at HMAS Creswell [the Royal Australian Navy training establishment at Jervis Bay] and got my seagoing qualifications on surface ships, I volunteered for submarines. And I have to say that from the first day of setting foot on a submarine as a young 21-yearold, I just fell in love with it. Signals: Still, the view from your bedroom window must have been very different from the inside of a submarine. They say submariners are another breed compared to surface sailors. What is it about them? Peter Sinclair: I think there’s an excitement that isn’t realised in any other part of the navy, and it occurs every day on a submarine. There isn’t an hour when something isn’t happening aboard the boat that gets the adrenaline pumping. It is such a dangerous environment, one SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
reason why it’s purely a volunteer service. On top of this you have the operational environment, where you’re trying to get inside convoys, sink ships and engage with other submarines. You could compare it to the life of a fighter pilot – a submarine is just a plane underwater and you’d probably have that same sort of rush every second that you’re manoeuvring your aircraft. And one of the other attractions of submarines is that you get command very early. Signals: How long does it take until a submariner achieves his first command? Peter Sinclair: I joined submarines in 1983 and I commanded HMAS Otway in 1992 so it was about nine years. I was 31 when I commanded for the first time … and that’s a young age to be in charge of a billion dollars worth of equipment [in today’s dollars]. Signals: One of the things about submarine service in Australia, we’re told, is that it involves very long deployments over huge distances – much of that time underwater. How far away from Australia do you operate? Peter Sinclair: On Australian submarines, as far north as Japan, Canada, the whole Pacific effectively. I was second in command of a British Oberon class submarine during the late 1980s – HMS Onyx; I think she’s a museum piece now – and we operated to the north of Norway and the Baltic, the Mediterranean, across to Canada and the USA. It was a fantastic two years, a very special time in my career. Signals: You were married by that time. Is it harder on submariner’s wives than on surface sailors’ wives? Peter Sinclair: Yes, I believe it is. When we arrived in the UK I called on the captain of the submarine squadron at HMS Dolphin on my first day and he said, ‘Sinclair, thank god you’re here, we need someone to go to sea tomorrow.’ So I left my wife not knowing anything about the UK, with two young babies to find a house for, while I went to sea for three months. Submariners go to sea for several months at a time and they have no communication with families. That is psychologically very tough on them and
Peter Sinclair: [laughs] They don’t any more. The Collins class is a very clean submarine and the diesel compartment is separated from the living quarters. But in the old Oberon class you didn’t just come home smelling of diesel – it simply permeated everything, your clothes, your skin, your lungs. When I was the head of submarine sea training I went to sea in both classes of boats. I hadn’t stepped on an Oberon for about three years and I went to sea for several weeks – I think it was on board Onslow [now displayed at the museum]. When I came home I was lying in bed still smelling diesel as I breathed in and out, and my wife looked at me and said, ‘Well I put up with that for 10 years!’ So they are special, submariners’ wives. Signals: You were the first commander of what was then the Royal Australian Navy’s brand new, untested Collins class submarine … Peter Sinclair: It was a fascinating experience. I was the captain of HMAS Collins from 1993 to 1996, and of course being part of the first crew to take the Collins class to sea we had to find all the problems. It was a brand new design built by a brand new Australian shipyard, based on a Swedish submarine design but really designed from the keel up for Australian requirements and conditions. It was an extraordinary feat in Australian engineering. Nothing like this had ever been done in Australia before. When I look back on it I think that the crew were real heroes; it took incredible courage to take a submarine like that to sea. Normally when a vessel is launched the shipyard would have its own crew to test and trial it, but with this new submarine they had to call on [their client] the RAN to provide a trials crew. So we were meat in the sandwich. We belonged to the navy but we worked with the shipyard to fix the problems that we found. Signals: We all remember the publicity and the stories about the submarine’s reputed shortcomings. What was that like? Peter Sinclair: We were under a lot of scrutiny! There were problems in the Collins class, things that didn’t meet the design specifications. We ran into a wharf on two occasions and damaged the boat because of propulsion problems. Page 31
There were boards of enquiry to find out if it was the driving or the machinery – luckily on both occasions it was proven that the machine itself was at fault. Things did improve, and that was part of the process. Rear Admiral Peter Briggs was in charge of the team that I was part of, and in six months we raised a billion dollars from the government (which was an unheard-of sum) and set in place the program to rectify all those deficiencies that we found. What we wanted was the best submarine in the world. Even in its early state, that first Collins class boat was far better than the Oberons. When I left the navy some years later, they were without doubt the best anywhere.
nervous moment that I had was on my first day at sea as a captain. We were at about 400 feet and we suffered a fairly significant fire in the motor room which filled the submarine with smoke. There are two worst nightmares submariners have. One is obviously the water coming in, and the other one is the boat full of smoke. The crew reacted incredibly well, though, and did all the things that they were trained to do. Everybody got their breathing masks on, we surfaced and cleared the smoke and there were no injuries, thank God … but I remember standing between the periscopes and thinking to myself, ‘How can this be occurring on my first day of command?’
Signals: You then went on to command another Collins class submarine, at a very historic moment in submarine service history …
Signals: What was the high point, then?
Peter Sinclair: Yes, and that was purely by accident – a third command is very much a rarity. It’s a very competitive environment and normally a submariner would be lucky to get two commands. In 1999 the captain of HMAS Waller slipped as he was going up the conning tower and broke his leg just as the boat was deploying the next day. I had to go home that night and try to keep the smile off my face while telling my wife that I was going back to sea for three months as the captain of Waller. And that deployment was particularly interesting because I took the first female submariners to sea. Signals: That was also at a very sensitive time in Australian foreign and defence affairs? Peter Sinclair: Yes, we were transiting to Singapore at the time that the whole Timor [independence] incident started to flare up and so we found ourselves in a pretty hot and dangerous environment. We were in the right place at the right time to be able to do a few useful things during that transit. We moved on, though, because the last thing that the surface task group needed was another submarine sitting in that pond of water, since the Indonesians had their submarines there as well … Signals: You’ve indicated that the life of a submariner has many excitements. What was your most hazardous moment as a submariner? Peter Sinclair: I guess I’d have to breach the Secrets Act if I told you some of the circumstances that we found ourselves in, so I can’t do that – but I think the most Page 32
Peter Sinclair: I think the highlight is actually taking command. There’s no doubt about it, there’s something very special about being a submarine captain. There’s a great buzz that you get when you stand at the periscope and there are ships coming at you and there’s the reliance that the ship’s company have on your knowledge as a submariner and your ability to fight that ship. That’s a very special feeling. And another one is passing the submarine command course. It’s held in the UK and it’s called the Perisher Course because most people fail it. From the day you join the submarine arm you hear stories about this very scary course, so to pass it was a great feeling. Signals: What’s your opinion of what the museum’s done with its Oberon class submarine Onslow? Peter Sinclair: Oh I think it’s wonderful. What a great opportunity to show Australians how submariners lived. It does worry me that Onslow is still in the water; I think for her to be sustained as a museum piece she needs to be sitting in a dock or brought out of the water. Perhaps in my tenure we might deal with those sort of issues – I was thinking about the car park here [laughs]. Seriously, though, I’m sure there are different solutions that can be considered. Signals: How does being chairman of the museum fit in with your other careers? Peter Sinclair: It’s a wonderful alternative to a busy business life, particularly as I sit in meetings to discuss business activities most of the day! It is tremendous to be able to focus on my love for the maritime environment for a few days a month. Signals: What do you see as the museum’s strengths?
Peter Sinclair: It’s still early days in my tenure but what I’d say is what a tremendous job that [former chairman] Mark Bethwaite and [director] MaryLouise Williams have done over the preceding years. There’s just no doubt that the volunteers and members of staff are the real strength of the museum. What a great bunch of people we have here. I’ve been delighted to be able attend various functions and speak to so many of the staff and volunteers. The other thing that is a strength is the museum’s location. I can’t think of a better place for a maritime museum in Australia or the world for that matter. I think this is probably one of the most significant museums in the country and its importance to the nation was demonstrated when the President of the United States wanted to come through this museum above anything else he was doing during his APEC visit last year. Signals: How do you see the role of Council and its chairman? Peter Sinclair: Our job is to ensure that the governance and strategy for the museum are maintained. By governance I mean that we are meeting all the legislative requirements, so that’s our primary job. The second is to ensure that the museum is in a fit state strategically to provide the service that it should. I guess time will allow me to gain more experience in how the museum works, and when I get that experience I’m looking forward to the contributions I can make. There are some things that we need to develop … some of the museum’s facilities that the government needs to commit to improving. We’ll be addressing that.
Appointed chairman of the museum’s council in 2007, Peter Sinclair served in the RAN for 26 years in operational, strategic and senior management roles. As first commanding officer of a Collins class submarine he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross. He had command of the Submarine Task Group (2001–02), and in 2002 he became the first Australian submariner to command a multinational surface task group at war, in the Persian Gulf. He was head of the Operations Division for the Commander Australian Theatre in 2003, the year in which he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. Peter served as an executive director at P&O Ports from 2004 to 2007. He is currently a general manager with the Skilled Group. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
It was the first class of Australian warship designed specifically for Australian requirements, in a project that started by selecting the best existing foreign design but went on to develop an entirely new class of submarine, with all the risks entailed. It was the country’s largest military contract and it aimed to achieve the highest proportion of Australian industry involvement of any major project. The book’s authors are Peter Yule, research fellow in the history department at the University of Melbourne, and Derek Woolner, visiting fellow of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. Their study of the project is fascinating and detailed, and a valuable focus on an important aspect of our naval history that would normally be buried in inaccessible or classified archives. While it deals with highly technical subjects (and nothing, it seems, is more highly technical that a modern submarine) the authors eschew military techno-jargon in order to keep it comprehensible. There’s not a huge scope for levity in such weighty subject matter but the book is not without its lighter moments. A local design for an air scrubber to remove CO2 and acid gases from the submarine, we’re told, was nicknamed Kylie – ‘the little Aussie scrubber’. A second such unit was called ‘Dannii’.
Steel, spies and spin The Collins class submarine story by Peter Yule and Derek Woolner, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne 2008. ISBN-13 978-0-521-86894-5. Hardcover, 365 pp, black and white plates, endnotes, index. $60 from The Store (Members $54) ‘On our very first dive the sequence of steps we had practised hundreds of times in the simulator were in the reverse to reality, with the result that the submarine ended up with the propeller about 20 feet out of the water.’ CMDR Peter Sinclair So began three-and-a-half years as commander of the first Collins class submarine for Peter Sinclair, now chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum. His experience ‘de-bugging’ HMAS Collins features prominently in this new history of a project that was, at the time, Australian’s largest, most expensive and most controversial military purchase. The book was launched at the museum last April by former Minister for Defence in the Hawke and Keating governments, and more recently Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beasley. Our chairman was one of a glittering cast of military brass, defence and industrial experts who gathered for the book launch.
The authors range across the wide spectrum of political, strategic, military and industrial issues that underpinned such a complex project, introducing a diverse cast of players and personalities, and the inevitable rivalries and conflicts that emerged. They locate the project firmly in the politics and macroeconomics of the times, when monetary, tariff and industrial reform were at the heart of the then Labor government’s attempts to lift Australia out of economic stagnation in the early 1980s. Indeed, the submarine project was designed to revitalise Australian manufacturing by means of better technology, a skilled workforce and flexible work practices. As it turned out, Australian research into areas as diverse as steel, sonars and anti-echo rubber tiles matched anything of its type produced by the world’s superpowers. It is, as the publishers say, an extraordinary story with heroes and villains, intrigue, lies, spies and backstabbing. Jeffrey Mellefont Hear the authors and museum chairman Peter Sinclair (to be confirmed) talk about the Collins submarine project on Sunday 29 June – details page 24.
‘The construction of the Collins class submarines was … subjected to an unprecedented level of media scrutiny and criticism, became highly politicised and on several occasions faced the prospect of being abandoned,’ says the book’s publisher, Cambridge University Press. ‘The general public perception … is that it was a hugely expensive failure and that the submarines are noisy “dud subs.”’ These views are not shared by those involved in designing, building or operating the submarines, as it becomes clear in the interview with the first Collins commander, Peter Sinclair, on pages 30–32. Indeed, navy and military analysts now see the project as an extraordinary industrial achievement and the submarines as potent weapons, among the best of conventional (i.e. non-nuclear) submarines. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Kim Beasley speaks at the launch of The Collins class submarine story at the museum. With kind permission of the photographer, Mick Toal. Page 33
left and right: Builder’s ship model
representing HM Colonial Cruisers Katoomba, Mildura and Wallaroo, built 1890 for duty on the Australia Station, and paid for by the colonies. Model built by the shipbuilder Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd, Elswick Shipyards, Newcastle on Tyne. Detail shows the extensive use of brass by the modeller, to represent various metal fittings. ANMM collection; photographer A Frolows/ANMM Bottom right: Model of the Dutch jacht Duyfken, in 1606 the first known European vessel to land in Australia. Planking and framing left incomplete by Australian model maker Michel Laroche, to reveal internal structures. ANMM collection; photographer A Frolows/ANMM
The magic of
the miniature Key aspects of the ship modeller’s art are explained by museum volunteer Richard Keyes, one of several model makers who demonstrate their skills and answer visitors’ questions at a workbench near the entrance to the museum galleries. PEOPLE have always been fascinated by ship models – as well they should, since ship models are one of mankind’s noblest creations, second only to those magnificent old sailing ships themselves. Ship models have been with us for a long time. They have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs and votive models have hung in European cathedral naves for centuries to ensure the safety of sailors and fishermen. Some models have been made as an aid to shipbuilders, others to record and advertise shipbuilders’ work. In museums they help us to understand the past, so that now it would be hard to find a person who has not been exposed to a ship model. Once made by sailors to kill time on long voyages, and artisans employed by shipyards in the 17th and 18th centuries, ship modelling is now practised by hobbyists and professionals alike. Around the 1920s commercially made model ship kits started to become popular and today, with laser cutting and photo-etching of parts making the best of them very detailed and precise, there are more models to choose from than ever before. Models can be seen as an extension of marine painting with the major difference Page 34
that while an artist can indicate a deck cabin with a few brush strokes, the model maker must reproduce the whole unit in three dimensions including the reverse side which an artist does not have to be concerned with. There can be no fudging of details behind a cloud of gun smoke or a wisp of sea spray. Basically, models are a proportional miniature of the original. The question of proportion is important. Only works that are truly to scale, with each part in accurate proportion to all the others, can be classified as models in the fullest sense. Otherwise they’re toys, or caricatures, or impressions. As Ted Myles
usually modelled at a smaller scale in order not to produce an unmanageably large model. One club of model makers in Australia is named ‘Task Force 72’ because members make all their modern warship models to a common scale of 1:72. The smaller the scale, the less detail the modeller can successfully render on the model – except for the subculture of model makers known as miniaturists who work in incredible scales of 1:250 and smaller, and are essentially superior to the rest of us mortal ship modellers! Due to the large number of kit-based ship models in existence we need to differentiate between ‘scratch-built’
Ship models are one of mankind’s noblest creations, second only to those magnificent old sailing ships themselves of the San Francisco Maritime Museum once said, ‘Ships are models made to a scale of 12 inches to the foot’. Perhaps the most popular scale and the one preferred by museums is 1:48 or 1:50. This means the model is 50 times smaller than the original. Larger ships are
models and kit models. A scratch-built model is one where the model maker has fabricated all the parts himself. Purists insist that a model can only be called scratch built if the model maker creates everything, including the plans. More realistically, however, a model can be considered scratch built if it is not made SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
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The more recently a ship was built the more complete and accurate should be the information on which to base a model. We know everything there is to know about 20th-century aircraft carriers but very little about the Santa Maria. Many fine ship plans can be obtained from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. While the discussion so far is of models made by individuals, in the museum there are several large corporate or industrial models of ships that were made by shipbuilding companies to promote their products – whether naval, cargo or passenger and cruise ships. Generally the shipwright apprentices did the basic modelling work under the guidance of master craftsmen, who undertook the more intricate work. While some of the more recent of these corporate models use plastic and fibreglass, others are very fine works of art indeed. A number of factors generally separate a good model from an average one, and with a bit of experience anyone should be able to discern whether the model that they are looking at is first or second rate. top: One answer to the model maker’s
dilemma – where to put them? – is everywhere. Richard and Keitha Keyes in the author’s dining room. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM bottom: ‘Schooner for Port Jackson’, displayed
at the museum’s volunteer-manned shipmodel desk, is an Australian-developed model kit based on the vessel believed to have been the first ship built in the colony – the one that appears on the $20 note. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM
The quality of today’s model kits – among which Italian and Spanish products feature prominently – ranges widely from very good to those that contain a lot of errors, faulty parts and poor quality material. An example of a
Some really excellent models have been made from kits and some scratch-built models never should have been launched
from a kit – even if there are some readymade parts such as chains and deadeyes included on it. When parts that are time consuming and tedious to make by hand are available commercially to perfectly acceptable standards, it seems logical to use them and free up time for the more creative aspects of model making.
good kit that has been developed locally and become very popular is Australia’s own ‘Schooner for Port Jackson’, the small ship that is believed to be the first built in the infant colony and is now widely accepted to have been named Mercury. It’s the ship that appears on our Australian $20 note.
Neither type of model is inherently better than the other. Some really excellent models have been made from kits and some scratch-built models never should have been launched. Most beginners start with model kits and, as they gain experience and discover the limitations of kits, many switch to scratch building. Some kits models are improved by ‘kit bashing’, where a kit is used as the basis for the model but a large amount of original material is added by the model maker.
Problems with poor kits include instructions that have been badly translated and are generally pretty useless except for their comic value, parts that are not always to scale (eg the same windlass included in several different kits for economic reasons), and plans the accuracy of which is often suspect. It’s easy enough to take a reality check since there are plenty of resource books and websites to consult, and ships like Victory, Charles W Morgan and Cutty Sark are still in existence.
The first is technical and chronological accuracy. Everything on a model should be correct for the era and for the type of ship, and should be in the proper scale. This is certainly an area where expert knowledge helps, but even a novice should recognise that a 19th-century
clipper ship would not have round Elizabethan castle tops on its masts. They just look wrong. Technical accuracy can sometimes give way to artistic licence, for example in the use of brass for fittings that would normally be made of other metals such as black iron. Brass is easily worked, it’s strong and, whether polished or patinated, can look good on a nautical model. Funnels, railings and winches on models of modern ships are often made in brass to very good artistic effect. Brass is less often found on older models but on an
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artistic model, as opposed to a strictly accurate representation, brass rudder straps can look quite effective. There is also a style of ship models known as dockyard or Admiralty board models in which planking has been omitted to expose frames and deck beams. While this treatment of framing is not always technically accurate in depicting the way the real ships were framed, antique examples are highly prized for their artistic value, especially when they have extensive decorative carving. The second factor in determining a good model is workmanship. The quality of a model depends on the craftsmanship of its builder and the skill with which the many parts are fabricated and assembled into a harmonious, finished creation. There should be no gaps in joins; cabins and hatches should follow the curve of the deck and the tag ends of rigging lines should be properly trimmed. Posts and uprights should be properly lined up. Poor workmanship is usually fairly obvious but so is the good stuff. Judging by their comments, a fair number of museum visitors recognise good workmanship. A third factor is finish. Except for some modern craft, no model should have a glossy finish. Only flat or satin paints and varnish should be used. Many otherwise fine models have been ruined by the application of a thick coat of gloss varnish. Blemishes such as saw marks and excess glue should have been removed, and in general things should be properly lined-up and looking ship-shape. Finally there is another undefinable, elusive quality that could be called soul or spirit. The best models capture the essence of the original craft. By way of example we could look at Krait, the old timber fishing boat that became a World War II commando raider and is now in the museum’s floating collection. A somewhat less than perfectly crafted model of Krait could better capture the
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real spirit of this famous Australian ship than a pristine and flawlessly constructed model might. I remember seeing a large collection of models of modern ships in Munich made with absolute precision. They were so perfect that they were soulless. Kit manufacturers often claim that their kits can create models that are ‘museum quality’ – a much overused term. What constitutes museum quality can be quite technical. It refers not only to the
model of the 74-gun ship of the line HMS Bellona takes up a massive 244,240 cubic centimetres in a case. There are really only three things you can do with the results of your hours of loving labour: impose on your long-suffering spouse to make room for another treasure in the house, give it away or try to sell it. Unfortunately, the number of discerning buyers of ship models is small and there are few outlets. A non-professional model maker can never charge enough to
Judging by their comments, a fair number of museum visitors recognise good workmanship accuracy and quality of construction but also to the type of materials used, their durability and the absence of chemical content that could react adversely with other museum artefacts. There are exceptions of course. Sometimes in a museum you will see a dilapidated old clunker of a model with apparent deficiencies in workmanship. You could be looking at a valuable masterpiece, somewhat the worse for wear but treasured for its provenance and the insight it gives into another era. One challenge for all model ship makers who aren’t working to a commission is what to do with their masterpieces when they are finished. A decent model should always be put in a glass or Perspex case to protect it from inquisitive fingers, bumps and knocks, and in particular the ravages of dust that settles on the model and eventually permeates the surfaces until it is impossible to clean. Unfortunately, putting a model in a showcase gives you a pretty big item to accommodate. For example a 1:100 scale
compensate for the hours spent creating their model; you just have to decide what price you’re willing to accept. Worldwide there are only a handful of ship model makers who earn a living from their art, compared to thousands of professional artists. While most model makers like to think of their models as art, the rest of the world does not yet deal in ship models in the same way it does with paintings and sculptures – with a few exceptions. Hopefully some day ship models will be valued, collected and displayed for the works of art that they are. In the meantime remember, as you watch our volunteer model makers performing their magic by the Sirius anchor, that you are observing an artist at work. Professional model maker Mike Bass of Cutting Edge Models was commissioned to build this model of the first HMAS Sydney in 2003 for the museum’s redeveloped Navy exhibition. Photographer A Frolows/ANMM
A river of memory A story of the stolen generation was wrapped up in a possum cloak acquired by this museum and widely displayed along the Murray–Darling Basin. Bill Richards interviewed the artist who made the cloak, and brings us her story.
THERE WAS a hidden story in the beautifully made Indigenous possum-skin cloak on view recently in the museum’s travelling exhibition The River – Life on the Murray–Darling. The cloak was created by artist Treahna Hamm, a member of the Yorta Yorta community in the Murray Valley. Some 40 skins (from New Zealand, where possums are not protected as they are in Australia) went into the 1.5 x 1.5 metre garment and Treahna embellished the smooth inside of the cloak with a beautifully painted Murray River ‘creation story’. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Yorta Yorta artist Treahna Hamm and special guest John Doyle at the opening of the exhibition The River – Life on the Murray–Darling; her possum-skin cloak is shown in full. Photographs B Richards, A Frolows, ANMM
The creation spirit Biaimi is shown directing an elderly woman down from the high country and across waterless plains to the sea (the mouth of the Murray River). The woman, dragging a yam stick, is followed by a giant serpent whose writhing body creates the river bed. What visitors to the museum didn’t know is that Treahna’s research into the creation story and her work on the possum skin cloak were central to a thesis she wrote recently for a PhD at Melbourne’s RMIT University. One of the stolen generation, Treahna’s thesis describes and illustrates her cultural reconnection with the Yorta Yorts community. The PhD has now been confirmed. Treahna was removed from her Indigenous mother at birth in Melbourne in 1965 and adopted out to a loving non-indigneous family at Yarrawonga on the Murray. Ironically Yarrawonga is located just 150 km upstream from Echuca where many of Treahna’s family live. Both towns are in Yorta Yorta country. ‘When I was growing up, I could feel a close connection with the river all the time … even though I didn’t know who my natural mother was or where my Indigenous family lived,’ Treahna says. ‘This didn’t make sense until much later when an Indigenous aunty explained you can sense your own home soil simply by standing on it. You can feel it through your feet.’ Treahna went to school in Yarrawonga, studied art and printmaking at Wangaratta TAFE then proceeded to a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Diploma in Education and Master of Visual Arts Degree at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, and a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University.
national ceremony when Prime Minister Rudd delivered an apology to the stolen generation last February, as his newly elected government’s first item of business. That particular possum cloak was worn for the occasion by Elder Aunty Matilda House-Williams. The cloak displayed in The River – Life on the Murray–Darling is now part of the Australian National Maritime Museum collection. The artist attended the opening of The River – Life on the Murray–Darling at the museum on the evening of 10 April and heard John Doyle, the popular broadcaster and author, talk of his televised voyage along the Murray–Darling in a ‘tinnie’ – an open alumininium outboard boat, for our overseas readers – with palaeontologist, noted environmentalist and Australian of the Year Dr Tim Flannery.
Artworks are our books; they contain our identity, our heritage, our lore and most importantly our stories In 1988, having seen some of the celebrations of Australia’s bicentennial of European settlement on television – particularly the First Fleet re-enactment that sailed from Portsmouth, England, to Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour – she started to ask questions about her family and heritage. Several years later she located her natural mother in Sydney and, having learnt her ancestry, she eventually returned to the Murray and connected with the Yorta Yorta people. ‘From that point it was a matter of self-analysis and looking back through family history and the community’s heritage,’ she says. ‘Our people communicate through art, not the written word,’ she adds, explaining the way her formal training came to the fore. ‘Artworks are our books; they contain our identity, our heritage, our lore and most importantly our stories which entwine all aspects of our culture together.’ Treahna’s art has included six possum cloaks, four of which are now in national collections. One was among the Indigenous artworks displayed in Parliament House in the two days of SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Treahna agrees with John Doyle that the river system has been devastated.
‘The Murray is our creation site,’ she says. ‘People in different religions and cultures worldwide look after their sacred places. Ours need to be restored ... for everyone’s benefit. All people need to repect each other’s beliefs. When I see rubbish in or along the river, well that’s a reminder of how values have been pushed aside.’ Having gained her PhD, Treahna Hamm will continue to collect community stories as a post-doctoral project at Monash University, Melbourne. She will also continue to teach and give talks to classes from kindergarten up to university. The River – Life on the Murray–Darling, an Australian National Maritime Museum travelling exhibition, is supported by Visions of Australia, a Commonwealth Government program that funds the touring of cultural material across Australia. The exhibition was developed by curators at the Australian National Maritime Museum and South Australian Maritime Museum, and has toured around the Murray–Darling Basin including at Port Adelaide (South Australian Maritime Museum), Murray Bridge, Deniliquin, Hay, and Griffith. After leaving us in Sydney it will tour to Wagga Wagga and Albury. Page 39
Twelve of a kind Sylvia Purcell recalls the experience of migrating from the Netherlands to Australia in a large family group – no cheaper by the dozen.
ON 15 SEPTEMBER 1957 my parents Jan van Bockel and Maartje van Bockel-Bijl, and ten of their 13 children, stepped off the ship Waterman onto the dock in Sydney. The children were Jan (John), Constance Agnes, Maartje (Mary), Ferdinand (Fred), Arie, Irene Sophia, Lena Constance (Helen), Astrid Charlotte, Ingrid and me, Sylvia. John, the eldest was 21 and I was the youngest at just ten months old. Both my parents were born in 1911, and it was fruit and vegetables that brought them together – my father’s family were fruit and vegetable retailers in Rotterdam, and my mother’s family were wholesale share farmers from ’sGravendeel. Dad’s purchase of an A-model Ford truck made transport between the two towns easier – and it also facilitated a blossoming relationship with my mother. The investment was the also the beginning of a successful transport business venture. To this day, a company called ‘J van Bockel Transport’ still exists in Holland.
the houses of his friends and colleagues, so that he could reassemble it after the war and resume his business in peacetime. Once my oldest brother John turned 20, he faced conscription under the Dutch national service system. My parents, having lived through World War II, didn’t want him to become a soldier and so they decided to migrate to Australia. My father had a business contact who had already migrated to Queensland, and migrants were in demand at the time, so out we came. Of course as a 10-month-old baby I don’t have any memories of my arrival in Australia. I do, however, remember being told of Mum’s first impressions of our adopted country. Once my
We girls slept in the biggest room in wall-to-wall double beds and bunk beds, all of us laid out top-to-tail
My parents married in Rotterdam on 23 October 1935 and our family grew from there. Before I was born, the devastation of Rotterdam during World War II caused my family to apply for migration to South Africa. The transport industry that my Dad worked in was booming in South Africa at that time and there was already a large Dutch population there. However political events in South Africa, where apartheid laws were enacted in 1948, as well as Mum’s 12th pregnancy with my sister Ingrid, put a stop to that move.
My father was fortunate enough to avoid being conscripted during the war, but the invading Germans needed his business to transport their tanks and other equipment. He had the foresight to disassemble the parts of one of his trucks and hide the them in Page 40
family arrived in Sydney they settled in the Wollongong area, and as they first travelled down the Bulli pass, Mum was blown away by the spectacular landscape – all the trees and that beautiful view of the ocean from the escarpment were such a contrast to Holland which is so flat. It was amazing! The hardest part about resettling in Australia was finding accommodation for our large family when we first arrived. As we had come out independently as self-funded migrants, there were no government hostels for us to stay in. Mum had made contact with the minister at the Dutch Reformed Church in Wollongong and he asked the congregation whether anyone had any spare rooms to help to house our family while we got SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
The museum’s tribute to migrants, The Welcome Wall, encourages people to recall and record their stories of coming to live in Australia.
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Waterman was a US-built Victory ship sold to the Dutch Government after world War II. She was used to carry troops to the Netherlands East Indies, and later to repatriate Dutch colonials after Indonesian independence. She was then converted to carry Dutch emigrants to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Photographs reproduced courtesy of Sylvia Purcell.
settled. As we were such a large family we had to be split up, and groups of two or three van Bockel siblings were sent to live in different homes. Being the baby, I stayed with Mum and Dad. For the first couple of months, until we got a house, the only day that we all got to see each other was on Sunday when we went to church! The house that my parents ended up buying had only three bedrooms. We girls slept in the biggest room in wall-to-wall double beds and bunk beds, all of us laid out top-to-tail. Fortunately my oldest brothers and sisters started getting married and moving out, giving us more room. One of the biggest challenges for my older teenage siblings was starting school when they arrived in Australia. Because we arrived in Australia in September, they went straight into school and almost immediately had to sit their exams. Because their English wasn’t very strong, and there were no ESL programs in place at the time, it was a pretty tough time for them. I remember my brother Arie getting two marks out of 100 for one test because he didn’t understand the questions. The two marks were for spelling his name correctly. When we were growing up we always spoke Dutch at home. It was only when I began going to school that I really started to learn English. Mum used to subscribe to a Dutch-Australian newspaper and at one point there was an advertisement from a school teacher back in Holland requesting people to write to his students so that they could practice their English. I wrote in Dutch to a girl of a similar age who would write back to me in English. We started writing to each other when I was eight and we recently celebrated our respective 50th birthdays in Australia and Holland! SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
The van Bockel family on Dutch soil for the last time in 1957, in front of the ship that would carry them to Australia. A shipboard menu became a memento of the voyage. Family members at the museum in 2007, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their arrival. Author Sylvia Purcell is on the left.
Of my siblings, I’m the only one in the family who carries on the tradition of ‘Sinterklaas’ (children’s Santa Claus) on 5 December each year. When my children were growing up we would celebrate it with friends and other Dutch families in the area. In 1995, my (Australian) husband, my three children and I went to live in the Netherlands for a year. We felt that it was important for my children to experience the Dutch culture and my family’s heritage. Flying back to Sydney after that year, however, I truly felt that I was coming home. On 15 September 2007, exactly 50 years after we landed, our extended family held a 50th-anniversary lunch at Yots Café at the Australian National Maritime Museum. I had registered my parents’ names on the Welcome Wall in 1999, the year after Dad died. Mum had passed away in 1990. There were 32 of us at the lunch, including sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, and great-nephews and nieces. Of the ten siblings who came out, there were seven of us at the lunch. It was a great opportunity for us to catch up as a group and for those who hadn’t seen the Welcome Wall to have a look at this memento of our family’s journey to Australia.
It costs just $105 to register a name and honour your family’s arrival in this great country! We’d love to add your family’s name to the Welcome Wall, cast in bronze, and your story to the online database at www.anmm.gov.au/ww. So please don’t hesitate to call Helen Jones during business hours with any enquiries regarding the project on 02 9298 3777.
COLLECTIONS The Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbour 1908 by Julian Ashton. watercolour on paper, 17.0 x 46.0 cm. ANMM collection
Meet and greet the Great White Fleet One hundred years since a US naval fleet visit that had profound social, political and strategic implications for Australia, the museum acquires a significant work depicting the event, by an important artist of the period. Report by Gaynor Stanley.
THE AUSTRALIAN National Maritime Museum has acquired a painting capturing America’s Great White Fleet on Sydney Harbour in August 1908 – a momentous event in Australian history. The panoramic watercolour, by well known Australian artist and art teacher Julian Ashton, will feature in the museum’s upcoming exhibition commemorating the centenary of the visit of this huge American battle fleet, dispatched by President Teddy Roosevelt on a world circumnavigation to demonstrate US naval capability. The visit of the 16 great American battleships, in four squadrons of four battleships as well as their smaller escorts, was a huge and spectacular public event. The battleships were painted in their peacetime livery of white, and decorated with gold scrollwork and banners of red, white and blue on their bows – a magnificent sight. It was the end of of President Roosevelt’s administration when he sent the ships of the US Navy’s Atlantic Fleet on this circumnavigation lasting from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909. Roosevelt was demonstrating to his countrymen and the world that the US Navy was capable of operating globally, particularly in the Pacific at a time when US relations with the Japanese – and the growing Imperial Japanese Navy, which had just defeated the Russians – were becoming uneasy. At the request of Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, Roosevelt sent the fleet to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany during its 43,000 mile (69,200 km), 14-month world voyage to 26 countries. ‘Between 500,000 and 650,000 Sydneysiders turned out to see the fleet enter Sydney Harbour and to attend celebrations over the eight days the Great White Fleet was in port,’ the senior curator of the museum’s USA Gallery Paul Hundley said. Page 42
‘The visit had a significant impact on Australian society, politics and defence. It resulted in Australia asserting a degree of independence from Britain and forming a new alliance with America, and the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy. ‘At the time Britain was changing its naval strategy and recalling its vessels from around the world. Britain had entered a treaty with Japan that would see Japan take responsibility for Australia’s defence, something which Australians most certainly did not want. In response, Prime Minister Deakin directly invited President Roosevelt to send the Great White Fleet to Australia, bypassing the British Home Office.’ Back in 1908, and in the context of Australia’s close and unquestioning allegiance and deference to Britain, such a direct approach to the US President without the involvement of the Home Office was a diplomatic no-no. However, the public response to the American fleet’s visit underlined Australia’s need for a navy of its own and was among the factors that led to the creation of the Royal Australian Navy, the title of which was granted by King George V in 1911. The Great White Fleet arrived in Sydney at 11.30 am on Thursday 20 August 2008 to a rapturous welcome, beginning a week of festivities on a scale surpassed only by those for Federation sin 1901. Macquarie and Pitt Streets were lined with decorations and prominent city buildings were gaily illuminated with signs of welcome, including the GPO, Town Hall, Fort Denison, St Andrews Cathedral, and the Customs House. The Daily Telegraph mounted a five-storey replica of the Statue of Liberty on top of its offices. The Sydney Morning Herald devoted page after page of coverage to the fleet’s visit and published its first SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
ever photographs: three images of the Great White Fleet’s arrival in Sydney Harbour. The official landing took place on Friday 21 August at Farm Cove, followed by a public reception at the Domain, a procession through the city and an evening state banquet at
Julian Ashton was born in England in 1851, elder son of a wealthy American, Thomas Briggs Ashton, and his wife Henrietta who was the daughter of a Sardinian diplomat, Count Carlo Rossi. Ashton migrated for health reasons to Australia in 1878 when he was 27, to work on the Illustrated Australian News in Melbourne. In 1883 he moved to Sydney and began drawing for the Picturesque Atlas of Australia and the Bulletin magazine. An advocate for the arts, he opened his own art school in 1890. George Lambert, Jesse Hilder and William Dobell were among his students.
The battleships were painted in their peacetime livery of white, and decorated with gold scrollwork and banners Town Hall. In the Great Naval Parade on 23 August, 14,000 US sailors marched down Pitt St, renamed American Avenue for the occasion. Next day 250,000 people gathered in Centennial Park to watch a review of the combined Royal Navy, American Navy and Commonwealth naval and military forces of NSW. The American officers and men took part in excursions to the Blue Mountains, Parramatta and Newcastle, attracting crowds of up to 200,000. The week concluded with a mass demonstration by 9,000 public school children at Sydney Cricket Ground before the fleet sailed for Melbourne (visiting 29 August–5 September) and Albany, Western Australia (11–17 September). The 17 cm x 46 cm painting, purchased at auction for $13,000, and was previously held in a private collection. The USA Gallery’s senior curator Paul Hundley regards the painting as an important work, complementing the many panoramic photos and postcards in the museum’s collection recording the event. ‘It’s particularly interesting because it was painted by such an influential artist,’ said Hundley.
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Ashton became a trustee of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, influencing patronage of local artists, and he organised an 1898 exhibition of Australian art in London to promote the work of Hilder, Norman Lindsay and the Australian impressionists. He was prominent as an artist and teacher for more than 50 years and was appointed CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for his services to arts in 1930. He died in 1942. The Julian Ashton Art School continues to operate today at George Street in The Rocks, Sydney. The exhibition Great White Fleet – US sea power on parade 1908 will be on display in the USA Gallery from 14 August 2008 to January 2009. A travelling exhibition of the same name will visit Melbourne and Albany, the other two ports of call on the Great White Fleet’s visit, from August 2008 to March 2009. An international symposium, Great White Fleet 1908–2008, to be held at the museum 9 am–5 pm Saturday 23 August, will feature speakers from Australia and the USA exploring the themes of the 1908 visit.
CURRENTS Maritime workers admire Wharfies Mural OVER 300 maritime workers crowded the museum galleries on 8 April to inspect a large section of a mural that’s one of the most vivid reminders of the 20th century’s epic industrial struggles on Australia’s waterfront. The Australian National Maritime Museum had just put on display one panel from the renowned Wharfies Mural, a large-scale work of art which originated on the walls of the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) canteen in Sussex Street, Sydney, in the 1950s and 1960s. The mural, painted by several artists including waterside workers or ‘wharfies’, uses powerful imagery to narrate the history of Australia’s working class and the wharfies’ union from the Depression to World War II. ‘It’s a significant Australian social document exalting the power of unity and the workers’ struggle against oppression,’ said the museum’s curator of commerce, Patricia Miles. ‘When the union moved its offices in 1991 the mural was removed from the walls and re-mounted in new premises. In 1995 the recently-formed Maritime Union of Australia – incorporating the wharfies, seafarers and other maritime occupations in one union – moved again and donated the mural to the Australian National Maritime Museum.’ Since then the museum, with considerable assistance from the MUA, has carried out extensive conservation treatment on the various sections of the large artwork. ‘The Maritime Union of Australia has gone to great cost to preserve this masterpiece of labour culture,’ the union’s national secretary Paddy Crumlin said recently. ‘By donating this work of art to the museum we made an investment in union culture and union history. The donation also reflects our appreciation for the role the Australian National Maritime Museum plays in preserving that heritage.’ The 2.2 metre x 1.8 metre section now on display has scenes illustrating the suffering of the working class in the 1930s Depression, industrial resistance and the fight against Facism. A family is evicted from its home. Wharf gates are locked and unemployed workers line up for the dole, while the unemployed workers movement demonstrates against the dole and for the right to work. In other scenes wharfies stack heavy lead ‘pigs’ (bars) by hand, displaying their strength while they raise their fists in resistance to oppression. Elsewhere in
Clem Millwood, the sole survivor of the artists who painted the mural, with curator Patricia Miles. Photographer B Richards/ANMM
the panel workers reach out to help their fellows under the Nazi yoke in Europe. In the centre the face of WWF leader Jim Healy symbolises the triumphs of the union and the workers. The waterside workers and international labour leaders who inspected the mural in April were in Sydney for the Maritime Union of Australia national conference, the
associated Laborfest Oz arts program and activities marking the 10th anniversary of the divisive waterside industrial dispute centred on the stevedoring company Patricks. Among those attending the viewing at the museum was Clem Millwood, the sole survivor of the team of wharfie artists who painted the mural. Bill Richards
SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Museum volunteers win Sydney Harbour award THREE ANMM volunteers – Alfred Knight, Paul Maile and Vivian Balmer – were nominated for awards in the Community Division of the 2008 Sydney Harbour Awards announced last February on board the 1874 barque James Craig moored at the museum’s Wharf 7 Maritime Heritage Centre. The awards, hosted and supported by the state waterways authority NSW Maritime and announced by its CEO Chris Oxenbould, recognise those who encourage the caring and sharing of Sydney Harbour by informing, educating or engaging the community.
Three other nominations for the same category came from the Sydney Heritage Fleet (restorer and operator of James Craig) for Bernie Norington, Hilary Hansen and Bruce Hitchman. The judges found it impossible to pull one winner out of the six nominations since each one of them had made an enormous contribution to Sydney Harbour’s rich cultural heritage in their own way. It was therefore decided to give two awards to both organisations for their exceptional volunteer programs – and to the six volunteers in particular.
The man behind Sydney’s first marine biology institute, Professor Frank Talbot, won the Sydney Harbour Week Award for Lifetime Achievement. His Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) at Chowder Bay promotes collaboration and research in urban marine ecology. Other awards recognised a host of achievers in the arts, environment, heritage and tourism. They included the ‘No Frills Divers’ team who discovered the missing World War II Japanese midget submarine M24, and Alexandria Park Community School for an indigenous boat building project.
L to R: Volunteer guide Alfred Knight holding his award; registration volunteers Paul Maile and Vivian Balmer. Photographers B Richards, J Mellefont ANMM
Judy Gibson (née Worrad) was a special guest at the opening of the exhibition Summers Past: Golden Days in the Sun 1950–1970, a National Archives touring exhibition of images taken by the Australian News and Information Bureau. And that’s Judy at the right of the 1952 photograph of Miss Pacific finalists Mary Clifton, Pamela Jansen and her younger self, Judy Worrad, on Bondi Beach, Sydney. Contemporary photograph B Richards/ANMM; 1952 photograph courtesy of National Archives of Australia.
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SPONSORS First Lady Celebrates 20th Anniversary JUNE MARKS the 20th anniversary of Kay Cottee’s history-making voyage around the world. On June 5 1988, Kay sailed into Sydney Harbour and into the record books, becoming the first woman to successfully complete a solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation of the globe. After six months, or 189 days at sea, Kay returned safely to Sydney in her 11-metre yacht, Blackmores First Lady. Having faced mountainous waves, violent storms and rogue icebergs she was cheered on by 100,000 people at Darling Harbour, with Admiral Tony Horton the first to congratulate her. Kay was officially welcomed by Hazel Hawke, Sir Eric Neil, and NSW Premier Nick Greiner. Having successfully overcome fatigue, danger and loneliness Kay captured the hearts and minds of the Australian people, and was honoured for her achievement by being named 1988 Bicentennial Australian of the Year. In the 12 months following her return, Kay capitalised on her epic voyage to raise over $1 million for the Ted Noffs inspired Life
Education Centres (a charity that aimed to educate Australian children about the dangers of drug abuse). Twenty years on Kay remembers the voyage fondly, and hopes that other Australians will be inspired by her story and be encouraged to get out there and give it a go, and to also consider the satisfaction that can be achieved by helping others. Blackmores is very proud to have been a part of this history making journey by providing financial, logistical and moral support in 1988, and today through its sponsorship, since 2001, of the Watermarks Exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Marcus Blackmore AM, former member of the ANMM Council and a long-time friend of Kay, said: ‘Kay has left a wonderful legacy for all Australians to be proud of, and we encourage you to step on board the Blackmores First Lady to learn more about her epic voyage and imagine first hand what it might have been like to sail, solo and unassisted around the world.’
Kay Cottee AO on her yacht Blackmores First Lady in the museum’s Watermarks exhibition. Photographer A Frolows/ANMM
For effective joint pain relief Phil Kearns relies on Blackmores Joint Formula Nearly 1 in 5 Australians suffers from arthritis related joint pain.1 Thankfully, Blackmores Joint Formula can help. It’s specially formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to help maintain healthy joints, provide building blocks for the regeneration of cartilage and help provide lubrication and nutrition to the joints. If Blackmores Joint Formula can provide effective joint pain relief for Phil Kearns after 20 punishing years of rugby, imagine what it can do for you. Blackmores Joint Formula… helps you be your best. TM
For free advice from our naturopaths call Blackmores on 1800 803 760 or visit blackmores.com.au Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Reference: 1. Access Economics study: ‘Painful Realities’ www.arthritisaustralia.com.au
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Leave a gift in your will LEAVING A GIFT to the Australian National Maritime Museum in your will is a thoughtful way to benefit the community, showing forethought, planning and commitment. People from all walks of life leave gifts both large and small to museums and galleries, recognising the role such institutions play in our lives. It can be a way to make the type of gift that you may not be able to make during your lifetime. Your bequest (or gift) to the Australian National Maritime Museum can take many forms including cash or securities, real estate, life insurance policies, life income plans, annuities or trusts, cultural property such as books and maps or maritime related works of art. A bequest can be used for many things including developing and managing the National Maritime Collection; research, acquisition, conservation, interpretation, scholarship, publication outreach and education; or fostering traditional maritime skills and practices. Unrestricted bequests can also be made without a designated purpose so that they assist with the ANMM’s priorities at the time. This allows greater flexibility and a way for the ANMM to meet sometimes unpredictable future needs. The museum will follow the wishes of the person making a bequest wherever possible. With bequests of objects and artworks, we have to check the condition of the object before accepting it into the collection. There are a number of different types of bequest. An outright bequest is an unconditional gift of cash, financial instrument, real or any other form of property.
A residuary bequest provides for the ANMM to receive the remainder of your estate after all other bequests have been granted. In a contingent bequest, you stipulate that the ANMM will receive the bequest only if your other named beneficiaries (usually family members) die before you. An endowment bequest uses endowment funds to ensure the permanence of your gift. These are managed in a way that protects the original value of the capital against inflation. Your original gift stays intact and only the annual income is used. It’s an excellent way to help build the future while creating a lasting tribute in your name or in memory of someone special to you. Whatever area of the ANMM your bequest supports, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have added a legacy of quality for those who live after you. As each individual’s financial and family situations are unique, please discuss all options with your solicitor, accountant or other financial adviser to determine the best one for your situation. If you make a bequest in your will to the Australian National Maritime Museum, do let us know about it. We can then keep you up to date with information and developments at the museum and invite you to relevant special events throughout the year that we hold for our benefactors. All information received by the museum is treated in the strictest confidence and we will respect your wishes if you choose to remain anonymous. To discuss leaving a bequest or receive further information, please contact us on 9298 3777 or email email@example.com.
Corporate Members of the museum Admiral Memberships Abloy Security Pty Ltd CHAMP Pty Ltd Leighton Holdings
Commodore Memberships Hapag Lloyd (Australia) P/L Trace Personnel
Captain Memberships Art Exhibitions Australia Ltd Asiaworld Shipping Services Pty Ltd Australia Japan Cable Ltd DSTO Aeronautical & Research Laboratory Ferris Skrzynski & Associates P/L HMAS Albatross Welfare Fund HMAS Creswell HMAS Kuttabul
SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
HMAS Newcastle HMAS Vampire Association HMAS Waterhen HMAS Watson Welfare Fund LOPAC Pty Limited Maritime Workers of Australia Credit Union Maritime Union of Australia (NSW Branch) Maruschka Loupis & Associates Middle Harbour Yacht Club Naval Association of Australia Canterbury-Bankstown Sub Section Penrith Returned Services League Pivod Technologies Pty Ltd Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises SME Regimental Trust Fund Svitzer Australasia Sydney Pilot Service Pty Ltd Thales Underwater Systems P/L Zim Shipping Australasia
Museum sponsors Princial sponsor ANZ Australian Customs Service State Forest of NSW
Major sponsors Akzo Nobel Blackmores Ltd Raytheon Australia Pty Ltd Tenix Pty Ltd
Sponsors Australian Maritime Safety Authority Abloy Security Bill and Jean Lane BT Australasia Centenary of Federation Institution of Engineers Australia Louis Vuitton Speedo Australia Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics
Project sponsors ABLOY Australia Cathay Pacific Cargo CSIRO Forrest Training Harbourside Darling Harbour ‘K’ Line Lloyd’s Register Asia MCS Maritime Union of Australia Maxwell Optical Industries Mediterranean Shipping Company Mercantile Mutual Holdings Patrick Penrith Lakes Development Corp Philips Electronics Australia SBS Scandinavian Airlines Shell Companies in Australia Specific Freight Sydney by Sail Visions of Australia – Commonwealth Govt Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Founding patrons Alcatel Australia ANL Limited Ansett Airfreight Bovis Lend Lease BP Australia Bruce & Joy Reid Foundation Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant Howard Smith Limited James Hardie Industries PG, TG & MG Kailis National Australia Bank P&O Nedlloyd Telstra Westpac Banking Corporation Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Zim Shipping Australasia
Donors Grant Pirrie Gallery State Street Australia
From the Director
JUST AS SIGNALS went to press we welcomed the new Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, on his first visit to the museum. Our discussions ranged widely over the museum’s national role, which is reflected in our Charter of Operations 2008–09. Its themes include national leadership; collaborations with other cultural and educational institutions; ensuring the greatest possible access to our collections and programs; sharing our expertise and reaching out to ever-widening audiences. You need only turn to the front cover to see an example of those new audiences. It shows just a section of the record crowd of almost 2,000 people who attended our most recent celebration of new names on the Welcome Wall, the museum’s tribute to migrant Australians, on International Museum’s Day. It was wonderful to welcome them into the museum’s growing ‘family’. NAVAL AFFAIRS are a recurring theme in this issue of Signals. Naval history is just one of many areas of maritime heritage that we are active in, but it’s a very important one for us. That’s reflected by the permanent position allotted on our council for a senior RAN officer, the Commander Australian Navy Systems Command. Currently that’s Commodore Stephen Gilmore am csc, who was with us last month at a seminar we held to mark the 20th anniversary of our first important navy acquisition, the Attack Class patrol boat ex-HMAS Advance. CDRE Gilmore delivered a fascinating presentation about the role of patrol boats in Australian naval history. Read more about Advance on page 18. Now, for the first time, we have an RAN veteran as chairman of our council, the submariner Peter Sinclair am csc. Peter had a fascinating career at the time the new Collins class submarines came on line, as you’ll see in the interview with him that begins on page 30. On page 2 there’s the fascinating story about two warships called Canberra, and the events that led to the bell of one of them, the USS Canberra, being displayed in this museum to commemorate the US-Australian alliance. Its place here is a tribute to one of our oldest and staunchest supporters, the former Page 48
In February the mizzen mast of the Endeavour replica was removed for the first time since its installation in 1993, for maintenance and repairs. In keeping with tradition a brand new silver coin – a 2008 limited edition from the Royal Australian Mint – was placed into its heel by director Mary-Louise Williams. The original 1993 silver coin placed in the mast when it was first stepped remains in place, aged, weathered but in good condition. Endeavour replica staff, master Ross Mattson (left) and shipwright/rigger Anthony Longhurst, assisted. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM
US Ambassador Bill Lane ao, whose efforts not only secured the US Government gift that funded our USA Gallery back in 1988, but helped ensure that the Canberra bell is displayed here at the museum where it will be seen by the widest audience. The recent discovery of the wreck of the light cruiser HMAS Sydney, lost off Western Australia in 1941 in Australia’s worst naval catastrophe, set the whole country abuzz. Our phones ran hot, as senior curator Lindsey Shaw relates in her article on page 14. We were both interviewed on radio about the significance of the ship and its discovery, and I attended the memorial service for the Sydney’s lost crew that was held on 24 April at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney. This important event, attended by the Prime Minister, showed how deeply these naval events resonate in the national psyche. The museum has played a role in the management of another very significant Australian naval vessel lost in wartime – this time far from our own shores, in the Dardanelles strait in Turkey. Assistant director Max Dingle delegated for me as part of an expert group set up to advise on the wreck of the World War I RAN submarine AE2, sunk during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. At a conference in Istanbul in May the group recommended that the wreck be left where it sank in 72 metres of water, with efforts made to conserve it in situ. A shore display will commemorate both AE2 and the Turkish torpedo boat Sultanhisar which holed it. SIGNALS 83 June–August 2008
Online shopping now available safely and securely at www.anmm.gov.au ... click on SHOP. Hundreds of books … something for everyone … from key rings to shipmodels and boating clothes … friendly service … mail order … Members discounts! We’re open 9.30 am to 5.00 pm seven days a week. To contact our helpful staff phone 02 9298 3698 or fax orders to 02 9298 3675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nautical naughts and crosses in brass-inlaid box $25.00 Members $22.50
Boxed brass sextant, 5˝, the perfect corporate gift $99.95 Members $89.95
Russian Matryoshka dolls within dolls, sailor with wheel $59.95 Members $53.95
Dunoon English fine stoneware/bone china mugs, very nautical $49.95 Members $44.95
Steam tin tug boat $18.90 Members $17.00 Tin toy flying boat $20.00 Members $18.00
Check, mate! Russian navy chess set $120.00 Members $108.00
Tie land – signal flags, map of discovery and Bayeux tapestry. $79.95 Members $71.95
Keep your weather eye on this thermometer/hygrometer in brass shipwheel $150.00 Members $135.00
Esquisite enamelled lighthouse pill box$69.95 Members $62.95
Assorted small fish for your glass menagerie $10.00 each Members $9.00
Replicas of RAN ships’ badges mounted on wall plaques Vampire or Onslow $69.95 Members $62.95
Monogrammed ANMM leather document satchel $99.95 SPECIAL OFFER Members $60.00
The Museum Open daily except Christmas Day 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (January to 6.00 pm) Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW Australia Phone 02 9298 3777 Facsimile 02 9298 3780
ANMM Council Chairman Mr Peter Sinclair am csc
Director Ms Mary-Louise Williams
Councillors Cdre S Gilmore csc am ran Hon Brian Gibson am Ms Gaye Hart am Emeritus Professor John Penrose Mr John Rothwell ao Dr Andrew Sutherland Mrs Nerolie Withnall
Signals ISSN1033-4688 Editorial production Editor Jeffrey Mellefont 02 9298 3647 Assistant Editor Antonia Macarthur
Photography Staff photographer Andrew Frolows
Design & production Jeremy Austen, Austen Kaupe
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Signals back issues The museum sells a selection of back issues of Signals. Back issues $4.00, 10 back issues $30.00. Extra copies of current issue $4.95. Call Matt Lee at The Store 02 9298 3698 Material from Signals may be reproduced only with the editor’s permission 02 9298 3647. The Australian National Maritime Museum is a statutory authority of the Commonwealth Government. For more information contact us at: GPO Box 5131 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
ANMM on the web www.anmm.gov.au