Page 1


March April May 2012 Number 98

new venue new menu After renovations, Yots and the Ben Lexcen Terrace are open again for venue bookings – revitalised on the inside with the same fantastic views outside.

March to May 2012 Number 98


Signals 4

For formal dinners, stylish cocktail parties and memorable product launches, your guests will be delighted by our magnificent waterfront venues overlooking the historic fleet.

2 Bearings New director Kevin Sumption looks at contemporary museum practice


Fish in Australian art Fish and fishing, a timeless subject for artists from prehistory to the present

Award-winning Laissez-faire Catering offers flexible and exclusive menus. Book now for Christmas by the water.

18 Finding the Royal Charlotte Our maritime archaeologists locate another historic wreck

T: +61 2 9298 3625


20 Whale Song: home on the wave A visiting research vessel with a live-aboard family

24 Titanic: a ship of myth and legend Marking the centenary of an unforgettable disaster

24 Travels with Harold Lowe A new book about a heroic Titanic officer


31 Members message and autumn events 34 Autumn exhibitions and attractions 36 The coloured sails club Legends of Sydney 18-footer history come in for a forensic re-examination

Photos: bottom Blumenthal Photography; top Wyatt Song, Moments in Time

42 Whaling in Jervis Bay

Enjoy your wedding ceremony or reception at our unique waterfront setting. Located on the western shore of Darling Harbour, the venues have splendid city skyline and harbour views. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the decks of the HMAS Vampire before moving into the glassed Terrace Room.

Laissez-faire Catering, renowned for their innovative cuisine, along with delivering service of the highest standard, are the venue’s exclusive caterers. T +61 2 9298 3625

Cat and fish by William Buelow Gould (1803–53), oil, 1849. Lent by Kerry Stokes Collection Perth. Photographer Paul Green. It appears in our major new exhibition Fish in Australian art, the first attempt to comprehensively document this subject from rock art to contemporary art practices. It features vibrant and intriguing works by artists ranging from the unknown to major figures in Australian art, lent by more than 55 institutions and individuals. Signals magazine is printed in Australia on Impress Satin 250 gsm (Cover) and 128 gsm (Text) using vegetable-based inks on paper produced from environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable forestry sources.

From a hazardous, early Australian industry to a booming tourist sector

46 Edwin Fox: respect for age The last surviving convict transport, in Picton, New Zealand

50 Australian Register of Historic Vessels New additions to this important national database


54 Tales from the Welcome Wall From Russia with love


56 Collections – extending cabin bed A must-have accoutrement for the well-heeled traveller

58 Readings Three authors argue the centrality of the sea in our lives

63 Currents Cert no. SGS-COC-006189

Farewell to an old hand

Signals 98 march to may 2012



from the new director, Kevin Sumption

left to right: Director Kevin Sumption at his former berth, Britain’s National Maritime Museum. Photograph courtesy of NMM, Greenwich UK At the new Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, strikingly designed showcases highlight the treasures of the collection. Visitors interact with a touchscreen to select the pieces they wish to learn about. Photographer Kevin Sumption

As I reflect upon the many exciting challenges that lie ahead for the Australian National Maritime Museum, I believe that learning from current best practice in museums will be crucial. So I wanted to use my inaugural column to reflect on some of the most significant museum projects I’ve encountered while working at the Royal Museums Greenwich. A week before departing London for Sydney, I visited the new Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam. Here inside the magnificently restored 1656 Arsenal building, visitors traverse 400 years of Dutch maritime history. In one gallery I joined a small group on a virtual-reality experience starting with the golden age of the Netherlands Republic and travelling forward to World War I. In another wing a combination of thematic galleries, together with a set of immersive audiovisual projections, allowed me to explore the port of Amsterdam, both its history and contemporary operation. Finally, in the maritime paintings and navigational instruments galleries, Uwe Brückner’s strikingly designed showcases highlighted the treasures of the Scheepvaart’s collection. From the reaction of people around me, it was clear that the museum had very carefully considered visitors’ varied interpretive needs. And in response they had created 2

Signals 98 march to may 2012

a rhythm, pace and variety of storytelling, group interaction and object display experiences that supported a very diverse set of visitor learning preferences. Eighteen months earlier I had again been in Amsterdam, on this occasion to give a keynote address at the Europeana conference. Here I spoke to museums, libraries and art galleries from across Europe about the value of online user-generated content (UGC) projects. UGC often employs ‘crowdsourcing’ techniques to encourage the general public to generate high quality, researchdriven content for websites. My paper explored how the Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) had successfully used web-based projects such as and to not only conduct important historical and scientific research, but to also build new relationships with hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe. What both the Scheepvaartmuseum galleries and UGC projects demonstrate is what I believe to be an important emerging trend for museums: to use new technologies together with their collections to create more effective learning experiences, both in the gallery and online. This trend was also very evident in cultural institutions across London, where I have spent the last three and a half years.

Like Sydney leading up to 2000 Olympic Games, the 2012 games have been a catalyst for significant museum redevelopment in London. One of the most ambitious projects of recent years has been the Natural History Museum’s new Darwin Centre. Opened in late 2009, the Darwin Centre not only provided new storage for 20 million collection specimens, but also incorporated a new public collection research facility called NaturePlus. It equips every visitor with a card that enables them to access collection information at terminals throughout the centre. When returning home or to their classroom a visitor can use their NaturePlus cards to go online to access their own personalised view of the collection. The same website also allows visitors to delve deeper into the entire collection, as well as connect with museum curatorial and education staff through a series of blogs and forums. Compellingly, NaturePlus uses the web to break down the barriers between physical galleries and visitors’ homes and helps build new interactions between museum staff and visitors. During my time in London many museums began to re-focus their temporary exhibition programs. Some embraced new themes and stories that drew deliberately on the familiar and commonplace activities of life.

The idea was to create new programs that deliberately challenged sometimes deeply-felt beliefs, preconceptions or long held opinions. Nowhere has this been more imaginatively done than at the Wellcome Collection, a new medical museum that opened in 2007. The Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art and has a public program regime led by the catch-cry ‘A free destination for the incurably curious’. From this ethos the Wellcome has created an array of programs including: Miracles and Charms; Madness and Modernity; Dirt: the filthy reality of everyday life. All of these challenge visitors to rethink their relationship with historic and contemporary medical technologies and treatments. Just as compelling has been the Imperial War Museum’s (IWM) new series of exhibitions exploring the frontline stories of British soldiers. In an attempt to better contextualise ‘distant’ historic collections with the voices and lives of current soldiers, the IWM developed the exhibition War Stories: Serving in Afghanistan. Here museum photographers and curators interviewed returning servicemen and women to create a series of vivid and highly personal video and photographic portraits. These are

displayed in the IWM’s main entrance against a backdrop of World War I and II technological icons. The portraits create a powerful new entrance experience that, through the voices and images of servicemen and women, link historic military campaigns to contemporary British overseas deployments. While based in Europe I was fortunate to work with a number of European maritime museums, many of which are at the forefront of new ways of engaging visitors. My favourite of these is the Galata Museo del Mare, in Genoa Northern Italy, housed in a 17th-century building on the site of slips once used for Genoa’s famous galleys. It brings to life the technology, history and art of the maritime republic of Genoa through a series of carefully researched historic character studies, juxtaposed with detailed replicas and a series of panoramic, immersive experiences. Recently Galata began to assemble an historic fleet, the latest in 2010 being a Nazario Sauro class submarine. Making submarine technology accessible and understandable for the public can be difficult. So Galata conceived of a package that combined both a guided tour of the submarine, together with a largescale cinematic presentation. Together these powerfully brought to life both the stories of the men who served on board

S518, while explaining some of the basic operating principles and technologies found on board. Two significant European maritime museum projects are due for completion. In late 2012 the Wilkinson Eyre-designed Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will open. This will be followed by the new Danish Maritime Museum currently under construction in the old Elsinore Shipyard. In existence since 1915, the creation of this new home has allowed the museum to reconsider its mission and add an important new role, as a worldwide ambassador for the Danish maritime industry and profession. Both these projects are engaging some of the world’s foremost exhibition designers and cultural planners and will be worth following closely. As I hope this very brief survey of contemporary European museum practice demonstrates, museums are never static and are constantly looking for new ways to engage visitors in a meaningful dialogue. As we move forward with the next phase of the ANMM’s development, I am sure these examples - as well as others from Australia - will inform our planning and act as an important springboard for discussion. 

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Fish art

in Australian

During a lifetime of researching, collecting and writing about Australian art, Stephen Scheding was intrigued by the different ways in which fish have been depicted. Yet while there have been major exhibitions and books on birds, flowers and plants in Australian art, there was nothing on fish. Stephen worked with the museum’s curator of sport and leisure history, Penny Cuthbert, to create Fish in Australian art, the first attempt to comprehensively document the subject from rock art through to contemporary art practices.

Cat and fish by William Buelow Gould (1803–53), oil, 1849. Lent by Kerry Stokes Collection Perth Photographer Paul Green


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Fish have been a timeless subject for artists in many cultures. They have been on the human menu from the earliest times as homo sapiens spread along coastlines and developed early marine technologies. For many societies fish have been a primary source of dietary protein; for others, a high-priced luxury. In Australia, Indigenous people have created remarkable images of local fish on rock surfaces for thousands of years. Explorers, convicts, naturalists, ethnographers, scientists, artesans, and artists, both amateur and professional, have put fish into the picture to scientifically document, to decorate, to delight or to provoke. Fish appear in all our visual media and have been present in art movements as diverse as 19th-century Salon Painting and 20th-century Surrealism. This exhibition tells a story of people’s enduring fascination with both fish and fishing, and explores how fish have touched the lives of individuals and communities. It might also be viewed as a history of Australian art, told through fish. The earliest printed image in this exhibition is from an atlas published in 1540, before Australia was discovered and mapped by Europeans. Cartographers often introduced imagined creatures to convey the mysteries and dangers of uncharted places. In Sebastian Munster’s 16th-century map of the world, a fanciful sea monster swims where the Australian continent should be. During long sea voyages to South-East Asia and the Pacific, English explorers such as William Dampier and James Cook took crew who had trained as artists and their illustrations were later used in published accounts of the voyages. The colourful buccaneer Dampier was also a significant natural historian. Fish he studied appeared as engraved plates in his A Voyage to New Holland &c. in the Year 1699, which became a best seller in England. Although we do not know the identity of the artist these are the first known published drawings of Australian fish. One of the world’s rarest books was devoted to fish. Only 34 copies of Louis Renard’s 1754 edition of Fishes, Crayfishes and Crabs … are known to exist. The extraordinary illustrations have been judged by zoologists to be ‘crudely drawn and barbarously coloured’ but they were based on actual specimens collected and sketched by an artist for the Dutch East India Company. Included are fish species identified as inhabiting Australian waters – as well as some complete fabrications 6

Signals 98 march to may 2012

such as a spiny lobster that ‘lives in mountains [and] climbs trees’, and a mermaid. The earliest European accounts of Australia often include descriptions of Aborigines fishing. While comments were often belittling, the Europeans admired their fishing skills. It is now recognised that Aborigines had developed sophisticated land-care strategies and their fishing practices appear equally wellplanned and sustainable. Our exhibition conveys a sense of this in images by convict artist Joseph Lycett and an 1848 lithograph after a sketch by Captain Westmacott. The latter shows Aborigines fishing at Condon’s Creek in the Illawarra district of New South Wales, using a preparation derived from the bark of the ‘dog tree’ to stupefy fish which were then easily caught and thrown onto land. The fish soon recovered and were ‘apparently none the worse for the dose administered’. One of the great mysteries of Australian colonial art is the identity of ‘The Port Jackson Painter’, the artist (or artists) responsible for an important body of unsigned work produced immediately after the arrival of the First Fleet in Port Jackson in 1788. Possible contenders are Henry Brewer, a midshipman and friend of Governor Phillip, and Francis Fowkes, a former midshipman transported for theft. The Natural History Museum in London has over 500 watercolours by both ‘The Port Jackson Painter’ and the convict artist Thomas Watling, representing an astonishing visual record of the colony’s first years, including many watercolours showing the Aboriginal owners of Port Jackson fishing. Their detailed inscriptions, such as ‘A Native going to Fish with a Torch and flambeaux, while his Wife and children are broiling fish for their supper’, reflect the European attempt to understand Aboriginal life. A watercolour of four fish by Thomas Watling is inscribed with the Aboriginal names of the fish. Watling was one of at least 20 convict artists who produced significant work in Australia, including paintings featuring fish and fishing. Some had training prior to their transportation or had worked in trades such as printing, coach and sign painting or in commercial potteries. Over half of these artists had been convicted of forgery, a serious crime for which the penalty was death or transportation for life. Watling had taught drawing to ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ at Watling’s Academy in Scotland before being charged in 1788 with forgery of banknotes. Joseph Lycett continued

making forgeries in Sydney and was sent to Newcastle, a place of secondary punishment. So was fellow convict artist Richard Browne, whose works provide detailed information about Aboriginal fishing techniques and equipment. While Browne produced accomplished natural history drawings of birds and flowers, his portraits of Aborigines appear awkward and amateurish. It is unclear whether they are intentional caricatures. Their style might derive from the silhouette tradition, popular at the time, or could be the result of the artist using stencils to make multiple copies for sale to colonial visitors. Another convict artist, William Buelow Gould, painted the delightful composition Cat and Fish. Gould had studied painting with a teacher from the Royal Academy in London and had been a leading draftsman for well-known publisher and printseller Rudolf Ackermann before being sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing clothing. As an ex-convict in Hobart he lived in poverty with his wife and five children and was gaoled again for stealing. He drank heavily and is said to have paid for alcohol by giving hoteliers his work. Hoping to appeal to the taste of wealthy settlers, he painted still lifes in the prevailing European style, almost invariably including European flowers, fruit and game. However, in the painting on pages 4–5 it appears that the cat is about to pilfer Tasmanian redbait. Gould is also responsible for the remarkable sketchbook of 36 watercolours of fish and other marine life, commonly known as Gould’s Sketchbook of Fishes. They were probably painted while Gould was a convict on Sarah Island at Macquarie Harbour in Van Diemens Land, about 1832–3, working as a house servant for Dr De Little. The sketchbook accurately recorded species of fish found in Tasmanian waters for the first time and is still a visual reference for scientists today. It now has World Heritage status. Fish and fishing continued to be depicted in Australian art throughout the 19th century. Artists were often commissioned to paint pastoral properties that affirmed colonial land ownership and that, in many cases, would have included fishing spots. However, the oil painting Residence of George Augustus Robinson on the Yarra River, attributed to George Gilbert about 1840, may offer a different perspective. Robinson’s official title was Protector of the Aborigines. The prevailing view had been that Robinson hindered rather than helped the

The sketchbook accurately recorded species of fish found in Tasmanian waters for the first time and is still a visual reference for scientists today

clockwise from bottom left: Detail of Residence of George Augustus Robinson on the Yarra River attributed to George Alexander Gilbert (1815–c89), oil on canvas, about 1840. Lent by Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales Poissons, Écrevisses et Crabes … Que l’on Trouve Autour des Isles Moluques et sur les Côtes des Terres Australes Plate XLV by Louis Renard (c 1678–1746), hand-coloured etching in bound volume. Published by Chez Reinier & Josué Ottens, Amsterdam 1754. Lent by Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales Pygmy seahorse by Roger Swainston (1960–), acrylic on paper, 2009. Reproduced courtesy of the artist Southern pygmy leatherjacket by Ferdinand Bauer (1760–1826), watercolour on paper, 1801–03. Lent by the Natural History Museum, London

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Aboriginal bark paintings represent a social history, an encyclopedia of the environment, a place, a site, a season, a being, a song, a dance, a ritual, an ancestral story and a personal history

Balanay u by Galuma Maymuru (1951–), earth pigments on bark, 1998. ANMM Collection purchased with the assistance of Stephen Grant of the GrantPirrie Gallery

Djon Mundine OAM

Aborigines, with historian Manning Clark describing him as ‘that great booby’. But more recent studies (including Stephen Scheding’s The National Picture) have shown Robinson in a more sympathetic light. In the idyllic view on page 6, both Robinson and Aborigines are shown fishing the same river. Colonial artists could exhibit their work at the various Mechanics Institutes, in occasional intercolonial exhibitions, or at the annual exhibitions of the fine-art societies which were increasingly common in the major cities from 1870 onwards. Artist Henry Short arrived in Melbourne in 1852 and specialised in rather grandiose still-life paintings in a 17th-century Dutch style. He exhibited at venues such as the Victorian Society of Fine Arts and the Victorian Industrial Society and his paintings were also offered as prizes in art unions, which was a way for the better-known artists to ensure income. In Still life with Fish Short has placed his Dutch-looking fish in the Australian bush. The tender genre painting, Fisherboy by Aby Alston typifies the best work being painted and exhibited at the end of the 19th century, just before the Heidelberg school of Impressionism stole the limelight. (Interestingly, it is hard to find an actual fish being depicted by an Australian Impressionist, although restful scenes of river fishing are not uncommon.) Alston studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne for about five years before winning the school’s travelling scholarship in 1890. He never returned to Australia. From the beginning of the 20th century artists responded to rapidly 8

Signals 98 march to may 2012

changing social and political forces and developed new ways of seeing and expressing. Many artists left Australia to study overseas and styles were informed by international movements such as Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. John Wardell Power was the first Australian-born artist to explore surrealism and his painting A wreck on the shore clearly shows a connection with British Surrealism, particularly the work of Tristram Hillier. Power had trained as a doctor in London, inherited a fortune from his father in 1906 and subsequently turned to art. In 1961 his bequest of £2 million was gifted to Sydney University to establish the Power Institute of Fine Arts ‘so as to bring the people of Australia in more direct touch with the latest art developments in other countries’. There were also home-grown developments in Australian art. For example Clarice Beckett’s tonalist paintings of the 1930s, like the exhibition’s Low Tide, Black Rock, were influenced by the controversial artist and teacher Max Meldrum who polarised a generation of Australian artists. Painting mostly in the early morning and evening around the shoreline of the Melbourne bayside suburb of Beaumaris, Beckett exhibited her work regularly from 1923 but often received harsh reviews and sold few works. In the late 1960s hundreds of her canvases were discovered rotting in a farm shed, but enough could be saved to stage a succession of highly-acclaimed exhibitions. Beckett’s biographer Rosalind Holingrake has described the artist’s ability to transform a mundane subject into ‘a pictorial poem, evocative of some eternal yet always elusive truth’.

In the 1930s and 40s the George Bell School in Melbourne produced many fine, but now lesser-known, modernist artists such as Yvonne Atkinson and Ian Armstrong. In 1951 Armstrong and two friends held a joint exhibition in Melbourne. One of the artists was Fred Williams, now regarded as one of Australia’s greatest painters. However, Arnold Shore, a leading art critic at the time, wrote that ‘Mr Armstrong is the most accomplished craftsman and possibly the most talented artist of the trio’. Armstrong’s Girl with Fish was bought by the National Gallery of Victoria. None of the works exhibited by Fred Williams sold. In the late 1930s a number of artists studying at the George Bell School, including Russell Drysdale, Peter Purves Smith, David Strachan and Yvonne Atkinson, cultivated an ‘innocent eye’ approach, producing colourful and somewhat naïve scenes that had the appearance of theatre sets, ‘all front and no background’. In Atkinson’s charming painting, Fisherwoman with cat (page 13), a ‘play’ about fishing is staged with a cat as the leading player. The Antipodeans, a group of artists who championed figurative art in the 1950s, included Arthur Boyd who is now considered one of Australia’s most important artists. His enigmatic work Ventriloquist and skate, with its painterly allusions to Rembrandt, was created in the artist’s studio at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River. In an interview in the Independent Monthly in 1995 it was suggested that Boyd intended the skate to also represent ‘both a … symbol for wastage… and a nuclear mushroom cloud’.

Several paintings in the exhibition include goldfish bowls or tanks, and in each case the goldfish serve remarkably different purposes. John Brack’s fish tank (page 15) is placed in a 1950s suburban Australian house. His vision of suburbia has been described as monotonous and lifeless – ‘an existential wasteland’ exuding a sense of isolation and alienation. In The Fish Tank, the eternally balanced relationship between the three fish might suggest a holding pattern of bland suburban life. The goldfish confined in their bowl in Maximillian Feuerring’s Man with goldfish and nude (page 14) may have symbolic significance in terms of the artist’s traumatic personal story. Called up as an officer in the Polish army, Feuerring was imprisoned in a World War II prisoner-ofwar camp. Fifty-two members of his family, including his wife and parents, perished in concentration camps. After the war Feuerring migrated to Sydney. While Australian art forged its own identity it often looked back and drew on art history and on the work of the acknowledged masters. Margaret Olley’s Still life with pink fish includes references to both Renaissance and Roman art while Justin O’Brien’s Miraculous Draft acknowledges the work of Hieronymus Bosch. With growing community concern about the environment in recent decades it is not surprising to see Australian contemporary artists addressing such issues, including those relating to fish and fishing. A very direct example is Carole Wilson’s poster Plastic’s got us, hook line and sinker – recycle now. This was first produced on a large scale in 1989 and

displayed on 100 billboard sites around metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. It won the prestigious Special Jury Prize at the 1992 3rd Chaumont Poster Festival in France before being reissued as a poster in November 1992. Brian Blanchflower’s large oil painting Nocturne 3 (Whale Rock) is one of a series of works painted by the artist following a disturbing trip in 1979 to the whaling station at Albany, Western Australia, which was the last to operate in Australia. The artist witnessed the flensing of a whale – where the skin or blubber is stripped away – and was horrified by the experience. Digital artists such as Craig Walsh work with multimedia technologies and popular culture to engage the viewer. Walsh’s Incursion (Water) documentation consists of filmed documentations of an installation originally constructed by the artist in Toronto, Canada, in 2007 and recreated at various locations since. In this work an empty restaurant slowly fills with water and is then occupied by giant barramundi and crayfish that take the role of consumers, rather than the consumed. In addition to the chronological overview of fish in Australian art, some works in the exhibition are grouped into six major themes:

Fish in Indigenous art Since the 1970s awareness and appreciation of Indigenous art in Australia has dramatically increased. A flourishing of art from communities around Australia has produced a variety of significant works, with many Indigenous artists now nationally and internationally acclaimed. Representations

of fish and fishing by Indigenous artists speak of place, spirit, community and connectedness. Inherent in many of these artworks are stories that reaffirm Indigenous people’s custodianship of freshwater and saltwater country. At the source are the Ancestors who gave their people designs, language and law that hold the secrets of country. Arising from these traditions is a richness and inventiveness to the way fish are depicted and stories are shared. Yvonne Koolmatrie’s woven eel trap is modelled on traps placed in stone weirs to catch eels during their annual migration through the south Australian swamplands. Koolmatrie’s signature style uses a coiled basketry technique, a tradition of Ngarrindjeri people living along the Lower Murray River in South Australia. Weaving was a social activity. During the warmer months women and children collected sedge grass and rushes that were dried and woven by men and women into a variety of objects. While the work has a practical heritage Koolmatrie’s artistry has been internationally recognised, and she represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1997. Galuma Maymuru’s bark painting Balanay u tells the Yolngu story of Balanay u, the sacred rock in the saltwater country of Njarrakpi. The ancestor Muwandi of the Manggalili clan is depicted spearing Nguykal, the ancestral Kingfish. Nguykal swam away and left a path through the Yirritja lands that now connects the various kinship clans in north-west Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. This work is from one of this museum’s major collections: 80 bark paintings created for the Signals 98 march to may 2012


Throughout art history images of fish as food have been produced by artists, to convey bountiful catches, social etiquette, religious ritual or simply gastronomic delight.

Saltwater project instigated in 1996 and used as legal documents in a Yolngu High Court land/sea rights case in 1998.

Whaling in maritime art In the 19th century whales, not fish, provided the most dramatic maritime subjects for professional artists. The lucrative pursuit of the whale, its capture, killing and ‘cutting in’ were the main subjects explored in this genre. Whaling expeditions could last months if not years. On board the ships, art was often produced by the crew in the form of carved whalebone known as scrimshaw, or by ship’s officers who chose to illustrate their log books. William Duke was a carpenter by trade who arrived in Sydney from Ireland in 1840 as an assisted immigrant and found employment as a ‘mechanist’ and scenepainter in a theatre. In Hobart between 1845 and 1850 he produced a series of four whaling paintings titled The Chase, The Flurry, The Rounding and The Cutting in. These were reproduced as lithographs and were very favourably received. Marine artist Oswald Walter Brierly’s watercolour Amateur whaling, or a tale of the Pacific shows hunters pursuing a harpooned right whale, assisted by a pod of killer whales. Brierly refers to the men in the title as ‘Amateurs’, even though above: Amateur whaling, or a tale of the Pacific by Oswald Walter Brierly (1817–94), watercolour on paper, 1847. ANMM Collection opposite: The marine Life of Sydney Harbour by J R Pearson (dates unknown), watercolour, about 1900. ANMM Collection


Signals 98 march to may 2012

they were part of a commercial enterprise. The ‘Tale’ of the title suggests both the unfolding of the dangerous and bloody hunt, and a play on the whale’s fluke. The art of scrimshaw provided a creative outlet for seamen on long whaling voyages and often depicted scenes of whale hunts, marine creatures and ships.

Science and collecting In the 18th and 19th centuries scientific artists illustrated specimens from direct observation, often as the objective records of scientific collecting expeditions. The original works might be kept by the artist or others associated with the expedition, or could be sent to publishers for engraving and printing. Scientific illustration has come to be regarded increasingly as art, and collecting such material is still a passion for both public institutions and amateur enthusiasts. Two natural-history paintings in the exhibition, produced 200 years apart, show some remarkable similarities. Southern pygmy leatherjacket was painted by Ferdinand Bauer who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his circumnavigation of Australia in the first years of the 19th century. Pygmy seahorse was painted by Roger Swainston who has continued the tradition over the past 30 years and whose definitive volume Swainston’s Fishes of Australia has just been published. Swainston’s finished paintings are based on his drawings produced underwater, his sketches of specimens and photographs. Both works exemplify the artists’ powers of observation and ability to create life-

like renderings of marine species. A wonderful oddity is J R Pearson’s watercolour The marine life of Sydney Harbour, painted about 1900. Painted in a naïve style, it shows a comprehensive collection of the identifiable marine life in Sydney Harbour, the tools needed to catch it, and some recommended fishing spots. On the lower left is the Royal Yacht Ophir, which visited Sydney in 1901 as part of the Federation celebrations and, on the right, the harbour ferry Brighton. Unfortunately, virtually nothing is known about the artist.

Recreational fishing In 1792 George Tobin painted a sailor heading off to fish, rod in hand, at Adventure Bay, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). This watercolour from the artist’s sketchbook, titled ‘Views from the South Sea Voyage in the Providence’, is almost certainly the first painting of a European angler in Australia. The widelytravelled artist had joined the Royal Navy at the age of 11 in 1780; in 1791 he joined HMS Providence for Captain William Bligh’s second expedition to the South Seas (the first having led to a mutiny). Recreational fishing is still one of Australia’s most popular pastimes. It is accessible to anyone with hook, line and sinker. Many Australian artists have conveyed its appeal, whether the quiet solitude of angling from beach, boat, wharf or rocks, the excitement of competitive game fishing or the angler’s pride in the catch of the day. Among the many memorable images of recreational fishing are Kenneth Macqueen’s Signals 98 march to may 2012



Signals 98 march to may 2012

Signals 98 march to may 2012


The Beach Fisherman and James Northfield’s Great Barrier Coral Reef Australia. Northfield’s poster was commissioned by the Australian National Travel Association in the early 1930s. It used game fishing and natural beauty to entice tourists to coastal Queensland.

Fish in design and display The boundaries of art extend beyond paintings, prints and sculpture to include a broad range of objects designed for commercial or domestic use. Fish appear in illustrations, advertising, photography and as motifs in designer items such as jewellery, textiles, clothing, leatherwork, metalwork, glassware and pottery. The fascination with fish and marine life in design can be taken to the extreme, as seen in the exhibition in an extravagant fishing trophy, a bizarre custom-made lamp and an ingenious ship model with a fish-like motion. Australian design flourished with the influence of the International Arts and Crafts Movement, a reaction against mass production of goods in the late 19th century. By the early 1900s more

women than men enrolled in art and design classes and were a driving force behind the movement. They also became involved in commercial production, a factor that helped accelerate women’s social emancipation. Just prior to World War I the Sydney Technological Museum, now the Powerhouse Museum, presented a display of fish in applied art. Vases by Mildred Lovett and Frank Piggott Webb and a tooled leather blotter by Edith Loudon were included in this display. These works were also illustrated in Fishes of Australia and their Technology by T C Roughley, published by the Sydney Technological Museum in 1916. Graphic art has provided employment opportunities for artists in Australia since the 19th century. Examples of fish-themed published work on display include a cover from the stylish Australian monthly magazine The Home; illustrations for newspapers such as the Illustrated Sydney News, the Illustrated Melbourne Post and the Australasian Sketcher including extraordinary engravings of shark attacks; and posters originally intended as

ephemeral work for short-term display. Few copies of the vaudeville poster Natator the Man Fish for example, have survived. Perhaps the oldest form of graphic art is book illustration, some of the most renowned book illustrations having been produced for children’s picture books. Photographs, candid or staged, have captured many facets of fishing from the pleasures of recreational fishing to the hardships of commercial fishing. In the mid-20th century fishing attracted the interest of photojournalists such as David Potts, who produced dramatic and disturbing images of shark-hunting at Ceduna, South Australia, and Jeff Carter, who documented the Sicilian fishing community of Ulladulla, New South Wales. Creative design is also an integral part of specialised fishing equipment and trade displays. Fly fishing in particular requires elaborate and ingenious design solutions. Lures known as ‘flies’ are created to imitate insects eaten by fish such as trout or perch, and can replicate all phases of an insect’s life cycle.

pages 12–13, clockwise from top left: Home from the market by Eugenie Durran (1889–1989), oil on canvas, about 1916. Lent by Geelong Art Gallery Fisherwoman with cat by Yvonne Atkinson (1918–99), oil on board, 1937. Reproduced courtesy of the artist’s children. Lent by Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art at the University of Western Australia The Beach Fisherman by Kenneth Macqueen (1897–1960), watercolour, 1934. Lent by New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale. Gift of Howard Hinton left: Man with goldfish and nude by Max Feuerring (1896–1986), oil on masonite, 1950s. Lent by private collection top right: The Fish Tank by John Brack (1920–99), oil on canvas, 1957. Reproduced courtesy of the artist’s estate. Lent by Kerry Stokes Collection Perth bottom right: Plastic’s got us, hook line and sinker – recycle now by Carole Wilson (1960–). Silkscreen poster (RedPlanet Posters reprint Melbourne), 1992. Lent by Powerhouse Museum


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Each new and innovative design is usually named by its maker. This art of imitation reached new heights with the publication of Alfred Ronald’s The Fly-Fisher’s Entomology in 1836.

Fish for the table Throughout art history images of fish as food have been produced by artists, to convey bountiful catches, social etiquette, religious ritual or simply gastronomic delight. John Olsen’s passion for food, as well as painting, is well known. His The Bouillabaisse was painted for his 2010 exhibition Culinaria – The Cuisine of the Sun and to illustrate his cookbook of the same name. Genre paintings, which depict scenes of everyday life, can reveal much about social history and Home from the Market by Eugenie Durran is a classic example (page 12). Painted during World War I this scene around the kitchen table captures the women of the house, mistress and domestics, in an intimate and friendly exchange over produce from the local market, including a catch of fresh fish. Fish often appear in still life paintings and it is perhaps interesting to think about the different ways artists might choose to arrange them compositionally. One of Australia’s most important modernist artists, Margaret Preston, painted her Fish, Still Life in 1916. In 1929 she compiled and published a list of 92 aphorisms about art. Number 46 was: ‘Why there are so many tables of still life in modern paintings is because they are really laboratory tables on which aesthetic problems can be isolated.’ Peter Churcher’s pair of paintings Good diet and Bad diet, painted in 2010, should provoke a thoughtful response on a weighty contemporary theme. This fish-eye view of Australian art history reveals a remarkable and surprising body of work that ranges from the purely descriptive to the emotional or dramatic, and from the deeply sacred to the humorous and eccentric. The art in this exhibition can be appreciated on many levels: for the historic or scientific value, social significance, or for aesthetic pleasure. Or just for the fish. 

Fish in Australian art runs from 5 April to 1 October 2012. It features works by artists including Margaret Olley, William Dobell, Arthur Boyd, Yvonne Koolmatrie, John Olsen, Rupert Bunny, John Brack, Michael Leunig and many more, with works generously lent by the following individuals and institutions. Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Anne Schofield Anne Zahalka Art Gallery of Ballarat Art Gallery of New South Wales Art Gallery of South Australia Australian Museum Australian War Memorial Brian Abel Col Fullagar David Dodd Deborah Halpern Dr Ailbhe Cunningham Geelong Art Gallery Gold Coast City Gallery Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales Jocelyn Maughan Keith Free Kerry Stokes Collection Lin Onus Estate via Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery Manly Museum and Art Gallery Michael Leunig Museum Victoria Natural History Museum, London

New England Regional Art Museum National Library of Australia National Gallery of Australia National Gallery of Victoria Newcastle Art Gallery Peter Churcher, via Australian Galleries Powerhouse Museum Private Collection via Douglas Stewart Fine Books Private Collection via Rex Irwin Art Dealer Private Collection via Sotheby's Australia Pty Ltd, Melbourne Private Collection via Sotheby's Australia Pty Ltd, Sydney Private Collection via Tim Olsen Gallery Private Collection Weld Club, Perth Queensland Art Gallery Reg Mombassa Roger Swainston South Australian Museum State Library of New South Wales State Library of South Australia State Library of Victoria State Library of Queensland, John Oxley Library Stephen Scheding The Fishing Museum Thomas J Edwards Tim Lenehan Trevor Kennedy University of Western Australia, Cruthers Women’s Art Collection W L Crowther Library, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Yvonne Boyd

left: Self Portrait with Shark by David Potts, 1957– 58, silver gelatin print 1994. ANMM Collection right: Barramundi rock art at Ubirr Kakadu National Park Northern Territory, Freshwater Period about 1500BP. Photographer Michael Wheatley. Reproduced courtesy Michael and Kate Wheatley and Parks Australia


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Finding the Royal Charlotte

Morning light revealed two very wet and bedraggled emus making their way towards a small sand cay

A team from the Australian National Maritime Museum has located an 1825 shipwreck that marooned sailors, soldiers, convicts and civilians – and a pair of emus – on a desert cay on the Great Barrier Reef. The museum’s chief maritime archaeologist Kieran Hosty tells of this summer’s expedition with the team that in 2009 located the government schooner Mermaid wrecked in 1829, 20 km south of Cairns.

On 29 April 1825, the Indian-built, three-masted ship Royal Charlotte arrived in Sydney from Portsmouth, England under the command of Captain Corbyn RN with 136 male convicts and their guard from the 57th Regiment under the command of Major Lockyer. It had been an eventful voyage with an attempted convict mutiny, leading to eight of the convicts being placed in triple irons and allegations of misconduct, ill treatment and poor rations made by several of the passengers against Captain Corbyn. After a month in port Corbyn must have breathed a sigh of relief when he secured a contract to take detachments of the 20th, 46th and 49th Regiments and their families from Sydney to India. However, his run of bad luck continued and when he attempted to leave Sydney on Sunday 12 June 1825 the crew refused to work the ship and it was left to the 18

Signals 98 march to may 2012

soldiers and officers to raise the anchor, hoist the sails and prepare to put to sea. After departing Sydney the ship took a course known as the Outer Route, sailing to the east of the Great Barrier Route. The company encountered a series of severe southerly gales that persisted until the evening of the 20 June 1825 when the ship ran aground on the inaccurately charted Frederick Reefs, a large, fish-hook-shaped reef system that lies 450 kilometres north-east of Gladstone, Queensland. Piling up onto the south-east edge of the reef, the Royal Charlotte fell onto its beam ends and was constantly raked by the huge seas as the soldiers and sailors worked together in a desperate bid to save the vessel. The ship’s masts were cut away to steady the ship and its guns and deck cargo, including two emus, were cast over the side in an attempt to lighten the ship. Morning light revealed a small sand cay to the north of the ship, where two very wet and bedraggled emus could be spied making their way towards it. Over the next days the ship was slowly abandoned as most of the crew, the soldiers and their families moved to a small sand cay (now called Observation Cay), partially submerged at high tide. The survivors built up the sand cay using timber and cargo from the wreck. They repaired one of the ship’s boats and it was dispatched under the command of First Officer Parks for Moreton Bay to seek help from the distant colony. After six weeks clinging perilously on the wind- and water-swept sand cay, living on water and provisions salvaged from the shipwreck, the survivors were rescued by the government brig Amity. All but three had survived both shipwreck and the castaway life. On 4 January 2012 a team of 24 divers and observers led by the Australian National Maritime Museum, in partnership with the Silentworld Foundation, left Gladstone for Frederick

Reefs in an attempt to locate the wreck site of the Royal Charlotte, and hopefully the remains of the survivors’ encampment on Observation Cay. Guided by two survivor accounts, that of Lieutenant Parkes and Sergeant McRoberts, the team narrowed down the search zone to an area just south of Observation Cay. With incredible luck on the first day at Frederick Reefs, the divers – hauling magnetometers (submersible metal detectors) from small boats – immediately began to locate shipwreck material, including a large iron staple knee and some hull planking, in the sandy lagoon at the back of Observation Cay. Over the next days other finds surfaced including more deck planking, a lead scupper for draining water off a ship’s deck, rigging components, rudder fittings, ship’s fastenings, unidentified iron fittings and copper alloy tubing. All were located within a nautical mile of the Cay, but the question arose, were they from the Royal Charlotte? We knew from historical accounts that other vessels, including an iron-ore carrier, a United States Navy submarine and a World War II landing barge had all come to grief on Frederick Reefs and had been partially or fully salvaged. What of the material we were finding? Thanks to some careful plotting and a captive brain’s trust of museum curators including Paul Hundley and Dr Nigel Erskine, professional mariners, archaeologists, commercial and volunteer divers from Oceania Maritime Pty Ltd and the Silentworld Foundation, and Lee Graham from the museum’s fleet section, it became evident that most of the older material formed a very neat, almost south-to-north, 800-metre-long line. It stretched from the south-eastern edge of the reef, over the reef top and into the lagoon at the back of the cay. As the sea conditions moderated teams of divers worked both ends of this line

of wreckage, with one group reporting back that they had not only located a large, early-19th-century anchor on the very edge of the reef, but also several iron cannon. Another team located part of the vessel’s keel lying in the more sheltered waters of the lagoon. Analysing the timbers, knee staples, anchor, ship and rudders fittings confirmed that we had located an early19th-century, copper-sheathed, ironfastened sailing vessel of around 450 tons. This along with the information gleaned from the survivors’ accounts indicated that the ANMM and its collaborative partner the Silentworld Foundation had located the remains of the ex-convict transport Royal Charlotte. The team was elated. Very few Indian-built ships have been identified and surveyed, and locating the remains of the Royal Charlotte provides historical detail and information on convict and troop transportation in the 19th century. The museum’s 18-day expedition operated from the Gladstone-based vessel MV Kanimbla and Silentworld II, and was mounted in collaboration with Silentworld Foundation, part of Silentworld Ltd, an Australian shipping company that operates in the South Pacific and the Caribbean. The Silentworld Foundation was established to further Australian maritime archaeology and research, and to improve Australia’s knowledge of its early maritime history. The expedition is part of an Australian Research Council project, a joint project between the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Silentworld Foundation and Sydney University. 

Team divers Lee Graham (ANMM, left), James Hunter and Maddy Fowler (Flinders University, above) working to locate and record timbers and an anchor from the Royal Charlotte. Photographs by expedition photographer Xanthe Rivett

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Whale Song Home on the wave Whale Song in Antarctic ice. Ship photographs courtesy of Curt and Micheline Jenner

A handsome research vessel that moored here this summer introduced museum visitors to a unique family who roam the oceans of the world, studying the oceanic environment and its most charismatic denizens. ANMM education officer Lauris Harper spoke to our guests about their lives and work.

What do a family home, a working ship and the language of cetaceans have in common? The answer is Whale Song, a research vessel built to conduct whale research throughout the world’s oceans, capable of traversing icy seas. She is owned by two scientists, Canadian Curt Jenner and his Australian wife Micheline, who live on board with daughters Tasmin (12) and Micah (17), conducting research that contributes to the documentation, recognition and protection of cetacean species (that is, the whales). The museum’s visiting vessels program has brought some outstanding attractions to our wharves, including a Soviet Foxtrot submarine, the replica of the Dutch East India Company flagship Batavia, and currently the Australian-built replica of Duyfken, the first known European ship to visit Australia. Whale Song was with us from 29 November 2011 until 5 January 2012. After this brief Sydney stopover, Whale Song headed south studying pygmy blue whales, killer whales and sperm whales en route to Fremantle where she will have completed her first circumnavigation of Australia. The following months will be spent satellite-tagging blue whales and humpback whales in preparation for an expedition to the Antarctic in the summer of 2012–13. Their sponsors have included State and Federal Governments, International Paints, Baileys Marine Fuels and private individuals. The latest five-year program examining the behavioural effects of seismic air guns on migrating humpback whales off the Queensland Sunshine Coast was funded by US oil and gas group, Joint Industry Partners. Prior to that Whale Song was in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia measuring blubber thickness 20

Signals 98 march to may 2012

with stereo cameras set up on her gimballed, 12-metre boom crane and applying satellite tags to north-bound humpback whales off Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. Whale Song combines high-quality, yacht-like accommodation and finishes with state-of-the-art research facilities. Her hull and machinery, sound-dampened as they are on navy submarines, enable whale songs to be heard while towing a series of underwater microphones called acoustic arrays. She has forward-searching sonar and military-specification nightvision cameras for locating whales in the most challenging conditions, from the tropics to the poles. There are additional cameras for photo-identification; instrumentation to measure ocean conductivity, temperature and depth; computer networks; and all navigation equipment. Stabilisation systems and climate control allow the scientists to work at sea at maximum capacity. Whale Song can steam continuously for six weeks and has already been to both polar regions and right around the world. Curt and Micheline Jenner have been interested in and involved with whale research for almost their entire lives. As a nine-year old, Micheline admired her brother’s career aspirations, but later had to decide between the forest and the sea – terrestrial ecology studies or marine biology. Curt’s interest stemmed from a commercial whale-watch experience with Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui, Hawaii, at the end of his marine biology degree. He secured work with their research division, and it was there he met Micheline in 1987 – who was his boss! Married two years later, they worked on a study of killer whales, and in 1990 initiated their cetacean research in Western Australia. As whale biologists they are respected both Australia-wide and internationally. Signals 98 march to may 2012


Whale Song, built in 2000 in Florida, USA, is one of several live-aboard research vessels the family has owned. The Jenners have raised their family on board, offering their children the delights of new lands and cultures, learning about marine biology, cooking and maritime skills. Signals: What types of whales do you study and why those in particular? Curt: We study all whales and dolphins we encounter, because so little is known about them in Australian waters. However, our favourites are humpback whales and blue whales. Humpbacks are amazingly inquisitive and interactive with humans despite our history of decimating their numbers. Their coastal migratory habits still make them vulnerable to human impacts and this gives our research added importance. Similarly, blue whales are increasingly coming into contact with human activities as we spread our use of the oceans into deeper and deeper waters. Unfortunately blue whale numbers aren’t doing as well as humpbacks and protecting these massive animals has become our main task for the next 10 years.

top to bottom: Home at work: Curt and Micheline Jenner entertaining on board Whale Song. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM Micheline and Curt Jenner collecting tissue samples to obtain data about their subjects.


Signals 98 march to may 2012

What data do you collect and then how is it used? Micheline: A variety of tools are used to collect data. For humpback whales, we take left dorsal, right dorsal and tail fluke photographs. The black-and-white markings on the underside of their flukes are unique, just like our fingerprints. Since 1990 we have catalogued 6,000 humpback whales and 250 pygmy blue whales. For the latter we also take left and right body shots as well as opportunistic tail fluke images. We also satellite-tag individual whales. The tag emits signals that allow us to plot their paths and understand why a whale is where it is and at what time. Biopsy or skin samples are collected using a crossbow or, more recently, modified .22 rifles. This sample, about three centimetres long, is processed by geneticists and yields information about toxin levels within the tissues of the blubber. From the skin layer they determine stock separation and gender. Recordings of male humpback whale song, designed to attract females for breeding, is an unusual way to understand population dynamics. We shared our Western Australian song with some east-coast whale researchers and in 1996 something unique happened – two eastcoast whales were singing the west-coast song! In 1997, 50% of singing whales were singing this new song and by 1998 almost all of the recordings had whales singing

our WA top 40! This was deemed a cultural revolution, novelty being the driver of change: east-coast males must have thought this was a new song and good for pulling the chicks, so they all tried it! Nonetheless, the whales also continued to evolve their own songs. All these techniques give us critical information on cetacean’ habitats, particularly the humpback whale bedroom and nursery in the Kimberley, resting area in Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay, and their kitchen in the Antarctic. In what parts of the world do you carry out your research? Curt: Whale Song is a globally unrestricted vessel with an ice-class rating so that we can work in the polar regions where the whales feed during summer months. Our next big project is to tackle the question of why blue whale numbers are not recovering. We plan to work around the southern hemisphere on each population of blue whales, both in their Antarctic feeding areas and in their equatorial breeding grounds, to try to establish what is limiting their recovery. As a family, we recently brought Whale Song from Malta back to Australia via West Africa, enjoying wonderful markets and cultural places in Gibraltar, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius. What is your specific role in the research as opposed to Curt’s? Micheline: The strength of any personal and professional relationship is the mix of roles and capabilities brought to the table. Certainly Curt and I bring such a mix, creating a balance within our research. I often describe my role as ‘I look, cook and do the books!’ I am the chief scientist on deck looking for, observing and describing the whales and dolphins, and ensuring the data is collected correctly in this initial sighting. I love taking the photo-ID images to record the cetaceans as well as any other particularly important moments on board the vessel – scientific, navigational or social! Having been at sea for so long, Curt and I both qualified as Master Mariners, and five years ago I received my Master 5 Captain certification allowing me to navigate. I take the midnight to 3 am ‘graveyard shift’, and enjoy the moon, stars and dolphins bow-riding. For the last 22-odd years I have produced all the daily cooking but am now sharing this when off-shore with Resty, our Filipino Chief Engineer, who treats us with delicious traditional dishes from his country. For the last 12 years

I have home-schooled our daughters Micah and Tasmin. The Western Australian Schools of Isolated and Distance Education provide mailed and computer-interactive material for oceanic vagrant types like us! Micah, who plans to do marine science at university next year, started boarding school in Year 9 and Tasmin will most likely do the same. The other books I do are the quarterly financial records. What has been one of the most interesting moments in your research? Curt: When we discovered that blue whales we had satellite-tagged near Perth migrated north to Indonesian waters. This was a collaborative project with the Australian Antarctic Division, funded by Woodside Energy, that brought 10 years of tag development to an exciting new level. The tag lasted for four months, at the time the longest in the southern hemisphere, and has stimulated us to expand our research to include a new global perspective. Blue whales are not limited by artificial boundaries and borders, yet humans have the potential to greatly disrupt their migrations, feeding and breeding habits. Most of this disruption is unintentional, and through public education we hope to pave the way for blue whales to once again roam freely through the world’s oceans. What has been the most alarming moment in your research? Micheline: A most disturbing situation unfolded when we came across an adult humpback whale with a small calf swimming nearby. While working to gather photo-ID data on both whales, the adult – possibly its mother – swam away quickly, southbound, and left the calf circling us uttering sad social sounds. Suddenly the calf spotted a pair of adults travelling northward and swam toward them, but they appeared uninterested in caring for a calf. Deliberately zigzagging back and forth, the calf was becoming desperate to be accepted by adult company. However, being in what we call the humpback highway, another pair of adults appeared, heading southward. The calf came alongside this pod, joined them and with relief we watched all three continue travelling together. We had discussed caring for the calf ourselves but the need for 300-odd litres of milk per day, of 40-50% milk-fat, made this extremely difficult. Sadly, this little calf had a poor prognosis for survival, and so we were reminded of the circle of life … we had observed nature in the raw without any softening of appearances and consequences. 

We must protect ocean ecosystems to maintain species diversity, habitat integrity and a functioning hydrology cycle Micheline Jenner

Curt and Micheline hope that through their research, critical habitats for cetacean species will be documented, recognised and protected. They continue to educate the community through their website, public lectures and school presentations. School groups are excited to see an operating research vessel, particularly one of such quality. Skipper, the ship’s lively black-andwhite Jack Russel terrier, is the star of the show! The Jenners’ message to all visiting groups is simple: ride bikes, shop locally, recycle anything and everything, reduce consumerism, keep chooks and write letters to politicians to voice concerns. Small actions by many people will make a difference. At the museum we deliver an education program called ‘Don’t Mess with the Junksons’, which investigates the impact of human activity on the built environment, on oceans and waterways. Students are encouraged to draw conclusions from their observations and record practical ways in which they can help manage our waterways and oceans so that they remain sustainable. Visit the Jenners’ web site

Signals 98 march to may 2012



Titanic Departure from Southampton, oil on linen by Australian marine artist Stan Stefaniak. Showing the ship on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg on Wednesday 10 April 1912, this ship portrait was painted specially for the anniversary.

a ship of myth and legend One hundred years since the sinking of Titanic on that night to remember, 14–15 April 1912, can we separate the myths from the facts? Ocean liner historian and author Peter Plowman provides some answers, and will reveal more in his next lecture for the Members program, coming up on the anniversary Sunday 15 April. It is one of those strange quirks of history that the ship which for many people is the most famous ever built is one whose active career lasted a mere four days. Of course, it is not Titanic’s short career that makes her famous, but the tragic circumstances of her loss. One question almost never asked, however, is why Titanic and her sisters were built. It was not some capricious whim of the owner of White Star Line, but a deliberate commercial strategy to improve the company’s standing in the important North Atlantic trade. At the start of the 20th century, White Star Line was the dominant company on this route. Their major competitor was Cunard Line, which achieved total supremacy in 1907 with the introduction of two four-funnelled liners of 32,000 gross tons, Lusitania and Mauretania. They were the largest and fastest liners in the world, and everyone wanted to travel on them. White Star Line was suddenly left behind, and the only way they could restore their fortunes was to order two new liners that would be able to compete with Cunard’s pair. The White Star ships would be 46,000 gross tons, one and a half times the size of the Cunarders, but not as fast, placing more emphasis on comfort. White Star gave their new liners names befitting 24

Signals 98 march to may 2012

the biggest liners in the world: the first became Olympic and the second Titanic. As originally designed, the two ships would have only three funnels, but then a dummy fourth funnel was added to greatly enhance their reputation and appeal. This applied especially to the migrant passengers, who believed that more funnels made a ship safer and whose revenue was far more important to the shipping line than that of the opulent first class. Olympic entered service in 1911, and would have a long and mostly successful career lasting almost 25 years. Cunard Line placed an order for a new liner of similar size to the White Star rivals, and it entered service as Aquitania in 1914. White Star also ordered another ship in 1911, which would be slightly larger than the earlier pair. To emphasise the fact that this ship would be the biggest in the world, it was originally to have been named Gigantic. After Titanic sank, it was renamed more sedately as Britannic. This vessel was sunk during World War I while operating as a hospital ship, without ever having made a commercial voyage. Today there are frequent documentaries about Titanic on television, not to mention the extremely costly movie that brought the story of the disaster to an even bigger audience. So how accurate is the information they convey, or do they add to certain common myths and misapprehensions? For one thing, Titanic is frequently referred to as a ‘cruise ship’ in the TV shows, whereas she was a liner, built for the sole purpose of carrying a large number of passengers between the old and new worlds. The accommodation on the ship is usually described as ‘luxurious’, backed up by pictures of spacious open decks, elegant lounges, sumptuous dining rooms and beautifully furnished staterooms. It is often overlooked that this was only in first class, where 900 of the 2,600 of the ship’s passengers were accommodated. The amenities for the 560 second class passengers were comfortable rather than luxurious, Signals 98 march to may 2012


What does seem certain is that the legend and the myth of Titanic will continue to fascinate and to intrigue many generations to come

while the cramped, overcrowded, noisy and uncomfortable quarters into which the 1,140 third class passengers were crammed go largely unnoticed. Due to the enormous loss of life when Titanic sank, White Star Line is frequently criticised for providing insufficient lifeboats. In fact the liner had more lifeboats than were required by the regulations then in force. Had any other Atlantic liner been involved in an identical situation the loss of life would probably have been on a similar scale, since none of that era’s liners carried enough lifeboats to hold everyone on board. As is so often the case, it took a tragedy such as the loss of Titanic to make lawmakers implement new regulations that stipulated lifeboats for everyone on board. A sensational moment in the Titanic enquiry, in an illustrated English weekly magazine The Graphic. Australian National Maritime Museum collection


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Probably the greatest myth surrounding Titanic is that it was unsinkable. This was never claimed by White Star Line or Harland & Wolff, who built the ship in Belfast. When Titanic was completed, an article appeared in a leading British newspaper that included the phrase ‘virtually unsinkable’ in a description of the attention paid to safety, in particular the ship’s watertight compartments. In essence this was true, as the ship should not sink under most adverse conditions. It was always stated that Titanic would remain afloat with four watertight compartments flooded. The liner was condemned to its fate when six compartments were breached by the iceberg. Of course, in 1912 the sinking of Titanic was news around the world, but two years later an even worse catastrophe occurred, when the world went to war. If there was one major shipping tragedy that was remembered after the war ended, it was the sinking of Lusitania by a German submarine. Through the 1920s and 1930s this incident was the one that people talked about, while the loss of Titanic was increasingly forgotten. In 1939 the world plunged into war again, with more death and destruction. One of the more surprising things to happen in the war was a decision in Germany to make a film about the sinking of Titanic. At a time when it might be thought that every resource would be directed to the war, the former liner Cap Arcona, serving as a barracks in Hamburg, was used for making the film, and the men living on board became extras. In the decade after the end of World War II Titanic remained in obscurity, and probably would have continued to do so had it not been for one American and a book he wrote. Walter Lord became intrigued with the loss of Titanic, managed to locate 63 survivors to tell him their stories, and put together a gripping account of that fateful voyage. This was published in the United States in 1955 under the title, A Night to Remember. It became a worldwide best-seller, and suddenly Titanic was back in the public eye. In 1958 a film based on the book was made in Britain. The old Royal Mail liner and migrant carrier to Australia, Asturias, ready for scrap at the breakers yard in Scotland, was used as the main exterior prop, while interior scenes were shot on studio sets. Photographed in black and white, and using an almost documentary style, the film became a huge hit around the world.

Other, far-from-accurate Titanic films were made in the United States, one particular shocker having American actor George C Scott playing Captain Smith with an American accent. In a thoroughly ridiculous scene, Captain Smith was depicted on the bridge talking to visitors while standing at the wheel steering the ship, something the real captain would never have done. In the early 1980s, American novelist Clive Cussler published Raise the Titanic, in which the wreck of the liner was found in one piece, brought to the surface and towed into New York. This was also made into a highly successful film. The discovery of the wreck of Titanic in 1985 brought the ship to the forefront of international attention, a position it seems to have retained ever since. This was enhanced by the release of the blockbuster movie in 1998, which combined a totally fictitious love story with the true story of the sinking. However, I do know of one lady who, after seeing the film, said she found it excellent except for the unbelievable ending where the ship sank! Today the activity of submersibles around the remains of the liner is having a detrimental effect, and there are fears the wreck could collapse unless restrictions are introduced. While some of the ship has survived for a hundred years, at this rate there will be much less of it left after another century has passed. What does seem certain is that the legend and the myth of Titanic will continue to fascinate and intrigue many generations to come. 

P&O Cruises can trace its heritage back 175 years to the formation of the Peninsula Steam Navigation Company which held the British Government contract for a weekly mail service to the Iberian Peninsula. In 1840 the company was renamed the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company – creating P&O. At this time ships were built for the purpose of transporting cargo and passengers only travelled out of necessity. However, thanks to the vision and innovation of Arthur Anderson and Brodie McGhie Willcox the concept of leisure cruising was born. Today, P&O Cruises strive to innovate and improve much like its forefathers to cater for an ever-growing number of passengers and to provide an unforgettable holiday experience for everyday Aussies.

For more information on P&O Cruises’ history, visit

Learn even more about the Titanic before, during and after her sinking in the author’s anniversary lecture at the museum on 15 April. On display will be marine artist Stan Stefaniak’s brand-new ship portrait, which illustrates this article. See page 33 for details and booking information. Our exhibition Remembering Titanic – 100 Years opens on 29 March and explores the controversy, the construction, the disaster and the rediscovery. Other Titanic activities include a Titanic movie marathon and Kids Deck activities on Sunday 15 April, and Fateful Feasts on 20 May, where gastronomic lecturer Diana Noyce describes how the food served on board showed Edwardian society in microcosm. Stage 5 high school debaters will be coming to grips with this famous sinking (dates TBA). Information on our website or call 02 9298 3777

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Harold Lowe The life of a Titanic hero

clockwise from left: Fifth Officer Harold Lowe pictured on another White Star vessel, Doric. Lifeboats just like these would be critical to the fate of Titanic’s passengers and crew. Cover of the book Titanic Valour – The Life of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe. Author Inger Sheil, whose fascination with the social history of the 20th century’s early decades has inspired her research into its best-known sea drama.

Among a flood of new books marking the centenary of the sinking of Titanic is this one by an Australian National Maritime Museum staff member, who recalls an epic journey of discovery and research that’s occupied much of her life. This article is by the author of Titanic Valour and personal assistant to the museum’s director, Inger Sheil.


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Spending a childhood on Sydney’s northern beaches, the sea was a part of daily life. My grandmother shared my taste for documentaries, and together we’d watch Jacques Cousteau explore the world’s oceans. The first shipwreck I encountered on screen, however, was not the one that can lay claim to being the most infamous of all, but the more recent Andrea Dorea. As it lay in depths accessible to scuba divers, I watched in fascination as they explored the submerged wreck, and listened to the dramatic stories of survivors who described the terrible collision that sank her in 1956 off Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was this human element that was to draw me to the Titanic some years later when I was introduced to the story of that great tragedy of the Belle Époque. A second-grade school friend showed me a book, and the outline of the famous story began to solidify for me – the lack of sufficient lifeboats, the ‘unsinkable’ reputation, the wealthy who were able to take lifeboat places when the third-class passengers could not. It would be many years before I found that the truth was not quite so simple, but the broad brushstrokes were there. Tucked into my childhood ephemera is a sketch I made in the journal I kept as a seven year old. Stick figures play out the story on a ship pitched at a dramatic 75 degrees to the sea’s surface, with terrified passengers and crew handing small children down to mothers in lifeboats. A sequel illustration of the scene ashore shows dripping survivors demanding their money back from ticket agents.

Growing up, I picked up books on the subject where I could. I had just moved to Singapore when the Titanic was rediscovered in 1985. The challenges of a new school in a new country couldn’t compete with the fascination of the Time magazine cover painting of the lost ship on the ocean floor. With my interest reignited, I was able to locate such classics as Walter Lord’s vividly narrated A Night to Remember. But access to information was limited to some books and the occasional television program. No one in my immediate circle shared the fascination. All this changed in 1996 when I first gained access to the internet. It enabled me to track down and order books and magazines on the subject from around the world, and to contact other enthusiasts. My bookshelf was soon creaking with the works of over 80 years of writing on the subject, and I became absorbed in online discussions about every aspect of the ship, from the minutiae of the lives of those connected with it to the placement of its rivets. In fact it was the social history that most interested me. It was not so much the passengers – that cross-section of Edwardian British and American society along with immigrants from around the globe – but rather her crew that drew me in. These were the men and women for whom Titanic wasn’t a means of flitting from one continent to the other or a vehicle to a new life in a foreign land, but a career and a way of life on the sea. Gradually I became aware of one name in particular. It belonged to a man who

seemed to appear when anything interesting was being said or done during the sinking and aftermath. He was a junior deck officer who told the chairman of the White Star Line to ‘go to hell’ when he thought he was interfering with the lowering of the lifeboats; who, in response to a question at the American inquiry about what icebergs were composed of, answered ‘Ice, I suppose, Sir’; and who had commanded the only lifeboat to return to pick up survivors. He was the man whom Walter Lord called a ‘tempestuous young Welshman’ who was ‘hard to supress’, and who emerged vividly as an engaging character. His name was Harold Lowe. Intrigued, I looked for more information. Surely, given the millions of words that had been expended on just about every aspect of the disaster, someone must have researched and written more extensively about this particular individual. I found, however, that not only had no full-scale biography been written, but very little at all was to be found in print about his pre- and postTitanic life. He emerged briefly from obscurity before fading back into it. He never commanded his own vessel, he had retired at some point after World War I, and he died in Wales in 1944. Any details beyond the outline of his career given at the American inquiry were scarce indeed. At this stage I was fortunate enough to encounter on the far side of the world someone who shared my interests – Kerri Sundberg, a mid-western American girl with a love of the sea even though she’d only seen it once in her life, on a visit to

Signals 98 march to may 2012


the West Coast. We began corresponding, and she shared with me 1912 newspaper articles that she’d found in archives and other scraps of information she’d been able to put together. We discussed creating a website on Harold Lowe and his colleagues to correct some of the misinformation about them that circulated online, and to facilitate further research. We made contacts and connections with the Lowe family, thanks to fellow researchers like author Dave Bryceson, who kindly put us in contact with Harold Lowe’s son, Harold William George Lowe. Harold W G Lowe, in turn, introduced us to more friends and family members, such as his own son and daughter and his nephew. To add to the material the family shared with us, I engaged proxy researchers to look for information in UK archives. It was slow going, however, as many archives had not yet put their collections online. While email was becoming more commonly used, much of our correspondence was still done by snail mail. Scanners were almost unheard of, and there were long and anxious waits for packages of documents from overseas. But at every turn we were finding new information. With the exception of some who resented young upstart researchers like us, the Titanic community was overwhelmingly supportive. Finally we decided that the scope of information we were accumulating far exceeded that of a website, and we began tentatively to look towards a print publication. In 1999, overcome by the frustrations of trying to do research at long distance, I moved to the UK. Being in situ made a remarkable difference, as I was able to travel across Britain on long weekends of fact finding. Family and friends often found themselves dragged along for the ride, and to my surprise they seemed to enjoy it. Some said that they enjoyed the focus my quest gave their travels, as we put together pieces of the puzzle to form the bigger picture. Of course, I spared them the interminable microfilm sessions in archives, the painstaking trawling of years and years’ worth of newsprint or deciphering handwritten notes. I lost my research collaborator, Kerri, to her family duties, although she remained an enthusiastic project supporter. The Lowe family remained steadfast supporters as well, supplying both material and insight. They did not, as some families try to do, attempt to dictate the direction the narrative took. They were confident that the actions of their forebear, and the words of 30

Signals 98 march to may 2012

eyewitnesses who saw him on the night of the disaster, spoke eloquently enough. There was no need for any gloss, and I believe the story I pieced together bears out their belief. There were curious coincidences and incidents of serendipity. A friend who lived in Kew revealed that her next-door neighbour was distantly related to Harold Lowe; she put me in touch with an elderly relative who remembered visiting the Lowe family in the 1930s. Her recollections of Harold were added to the book. My earlier assumptions that all Titanic material had been well-picked over by writers and researchers proved to be ill-founded. Many books stuck to wellworn ruts, while there were survivor accounts that had not seen the light of publication since 1912. One of the most remarkable discoveries I made was a series of letters written from the Titanic by one of Lowe’s fellow officers that had never been published. Coming across so much material about the White Star Line and the Titanic, I was able to publish a number of articles on aspects of the disaster for several of the international Titanic interest groups . There was never any shortage of media interest in new Titanic discoveries, either. Once, after finding an overgrown headstone with an inscription dedicated to the Sixth Officer in a Yorkshire cemetery, I sent a media release to some newspapers, expecting it to rate a paragraph mention at most, then left for the weekend to visit friends. I arrived home to my irate brother waving a phone in my direction and indignantly telling me he was not my media manager. Yorkshire’s largest newspaper was holding the front page for the story while they waited to check a detail with me, BBC radio had been calling, and there was a TV station wanted to speak with me. My brother had called everyone, including our family back in Australia, to see if anyone knew where I’d gone. Eventually, with the research as complete as I could make it, I returned to Australia and a job at the Australian National Maritime Museum. One of the most difficult things was convincing myself that the manuscript was finished; it seemed there was always a detail to be added or a further avenue to be investigated. The approaching 100th anniversary of the sinking finally convinced me it was time. I sent a letter and précis of the manuscript to The History Press, a large specialist history publisher in the UK with a very

He was a junior deck officer who told the chairman of the White Star Line to ‘go to hell’ when he thought he was interfering with the lowering of the lifeboats

respectable catalogue of Titanic-related books, and held my breath. The History Press proved enthusiastic about publishing the title in time for the anniversary, with a short deadline for editing the manuscript and assembling the images. Harold Lowe’s grandson, John, helpfully couriered key images from his photographic collection for high quality scanning for publication. After a brief but very intense period of after-hours work with proofs and jacket designs, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the work had gone to the printers. It has been a long, curious journey that’s given me great pleasure from making it in Harold Lowe’s company. He has proved a fascinating travelling companion – highly individualistic, sometimes stubborn, often courageous, and frequently surprising. I hope that Titanic Valour does his remarkable story justice, in all its tragedy and its triumph.  An article by the author Inger Sheil on the life of Harold Lowe, ‘A Titanic Hero’, appeared in Signals No 81 December 2007. Inger’s new book Titanic Valour – The Life of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, published by The History Press, UK, for the centenary of the sinking, will be on sale at The Store from March, RRP $19.95.

Members News Australia Day was celebrated by our Members at the museum and out on Sydney Harbour where they enjoyed the buzz of ferry races, RAAF and RAN fly-overs, and where intermittent grey skies and rain couldn’t dampen the spirits. Photographs courtesy of Australian National Maritime Museum Members George and Elizabeth Hicks.

The sun shone briefly on Member George Hicks, welcomed to the museum’s forecourt. On the harbour, P&O took the traditional ‘drape yourself in a flag’ motif to the limit.

Finding out what you want A warm welcome to all of our new Members, and to all of our Members young and old, welcome to the first edition of your museum journal Signals for 2012. Once again there’s plenty for you to read, in a variety of articles about the museum’s latest exhibitions and programs, about our maritime archaeologists’ latest discoveries on the Great Barrier Reef, and about many other fascinating aspects of our maritime history and heritage.

There have been a number of changes of staff in the Members office over the summer, with some new faces appearing. We have welcomed Tegan Nichols as our new Members coordinator, and some of you will already have met her at recent summer events. We value our Members very much, and it’s our aim to ensure that our Members program evolves along with the museum. We’re committed to having an ongoing dialogue with our Members, engaging you in a conversation about the sort of program you would like to see emerging. We have a very strong commitment to providing you with excellent events and activities – those previews and lectures, opportunities to meet curators, authors and historians, and the

pleasure of getting out onto the water to explore facets of our maritime heritage. The Australian National Maritime Museum re-introduced entry fees for our galleries and exhibitions at the beginning of last summer, and that makes your Membership even better value for money … since you have unlimited free entry to the whole museum, all year, including our ex-Navy destroyer Vampire and submarine Onslow, and the Endeavour replica when it's back at our wharves. That’s after the replica returns from voyaging around Australia, and has come back from viewing the Transit of Venus at Lord Howe Island. There are some wonderful autumn events planned, and one of these will give you an opportunity to be on the water to greet the Endeavour replica sailing back into Sydney Harbour on 21 May. Meanwhile, get ready for the centenary of the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic … Vicki Northey, branch head, ANMM audience branch

Our hosts on the water and on land, with welcoming smiles from Members coordinators Claire Power (left) and Tegan Nichols.

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Come on board Southern Swan

Fishing 4 Kids at our wharves

Visiting vessels Visit two America’s Cup legends

Kids on the water Pirate family cruise

4–6.30pm Sunday 4 March

10.30–2 pm Friday 13 April

On the water Garden Island naval heritage tour and cruise

Two of Australia’s legendary America’s Cup 12-Metre racing yachts, KA5 Australia1 and KA14 Steak n Kidney, are visiting the museum. Ben Morgan, President of Australian 12-Metre Historic Trust, will talk about the 70s and 80s challenges.

Avast ye all trainee pirates! The Pirate Code requires sea time aboard a certified pirate ship to become a fully qualified member of the Brotherhood. Wear your best pirate rig and be prepared to have a swashbuckling good time aboard pirate ship the Southern Swan. Pirate BBQ, drinks and booty provided!

On the water Harbour family cruise 1.30–4 pm Saturday 17 March Enjoy a leisurely harbour history cruise and visit to Clarke Island. Learn about the heritage Rosman’s ferries, along with littleknown stories of the harbour. Bring a picnic and a camera for our island visit. Members adult $60 child $35 family of 4 $140. General adult $70 child $50 family of 4 $170. Price includes afternoon tea and entry to Clarke Island. RSVP by 15 March

Lecture 10th Phil Renouf Memorial lecture 6.15–8.30 pm Thursday 22 March The museum and Sydney Heritage Fleet present this annual lecture in honour of the late president of the SHF, Phil Renouf. This year Commodore Kim Pitt OAM RAN (Rtd) will speak about his 32-year career in the RAN and his second life with Australia’s Antarctic program, including two terms as Chairman of the Standing Committee of Antarctic Logistics. ANMM and SHF Members $20. General $25. Includes light refreshments and Coral Sea Wines. RSVP by 20 March

Signals 98 march to may 2012

Members adult $65, child $40, family of 4 $175. General adult $75 child $50 family of 4 $180. RSVP by 11 April

Lecture Titanic anniversary lecture with Peter Plowman 4.30–6.30 pm Sunday 15 April Exactly 100 years since that night to remember, when the mighty Titanic went down taking 1,517 passengers and crew with her, maritime historian and author Peter Plowman will provide answers to the many questions that have long surrounded those events. Maritime artist Stan Stefaniak will present his latest work, showing Titanic leaving Southampton on her maiden voyage. Members $25. Guests $35. Includes light refreshments and Coral Sea Wines. RSVP by 12 April

10.30–2 pm Thursday 19 April Enjoy this popular behind-the-scenes guided tour of Garden Island heritage precinct with representatives of The Naval Historical Society of Australia. Travel on the harbour to this secure precinct where we visit the Kuttabul Memorial, chapel, heritage buildings and the top of the Captain Cook Dock. You can also visit the RAN Heritage Centre. Members adult $60, child $35, family of 4 $170. BYO lunch price includes entry to all areas. RSVP by 17 April

For kids Fishing 4 kids 10–12 pm Friday 20 April These ever-popular workshops teach children responsible and sustainable fishing practices as well as the finer points of knot-tying, line-rigging, baiting a hook, casting and handling your catch. Find out about the fish that live in and around Darling Harbour. 5–12 years. Members $25. General $30 per child. Price includes light refreshments. Children fully supervised by RFT education officers. RSVP by 18 April

right: ANMM photograph centre: JMellefont/ANMM far right: AFrolows/ANMM

Lecturer, Commodore Kim Pitt OAM RAN (Rtd)

Members $25. General $35. Includes light refreshments and Coral Sea Wines. RSVP by 1 March


Members events far left: Courtesy Sydney Heritage Fleet centre: courtesy Southern Swan left: ANMM photograph

Members events

Welcome Endeavour home on 21 May

Midget sub conning tower, Garden Island

Some of the museum’s Indigenous watercraft

Family program Fish Delish Cooking workshop

On the Water HMB Endeavour welcome home

4.30–6 pm or 6–7.30 pm Saturday 5 May

8–10.30 am Monday 21 May

Conference NAWI Exploring Australia’s Indigenous watercraft

Take a family-friendly interactive tour of our exhibition Fish in Australian Art. Then join a professional chef and learn how to create a delicious fish-inspired dish.

Enjoy a breakfast sail on the 1874 barque James Craig and be there to welcome HMB Endeavour and her intrepid crew back to Sydney after their historic circumnavigation of Australia. We join Sydney Heritage Fleet for this tall-ship reunion.

$20 Members. General $25. Bookings essential (02) 9298 3655 or email

Panel discussion Titanic anniversary event 4–6 pm Sunday 6 May Inger Sheil, author of Titanic Valour (see page 28) joins historians and authors Steve Hall and Daniel Klistorner (Titanic: The Ship Magnificent and Titanic In Photographs) to escort Members through life on board the famous White Star liner 100 years after the ship’s tragic sinking. Illustrated talk and a sampling of the types of cheese and refreshments served on the Belle Époque liner. Book signing by the authors. Members $25. General $35. Includes light refreshments and Coral Sea Wines. RSVP by 12 April

Lecture Fateful feasts: Titanic 2–4 pm Sunday 20 May

EMAIL BULLETINS Have you subscribed to our email bulletins yet? Email your address to to ensure that you’ll always be advised of activities organised at short notice in response to special opportunities.

Gastronomy lecturer Diana Noyce shows how the food served on RMS Titanic represents a microcosm of Edwardian society. Guided tour of exhibition Remembering Titanic – 100 years, champagne and cheese tasting inspired by first-class Titanic fare. Members $40. General $45. Bookings (02) 9298 3655 or email

Members $55. General $75. Price includes light breakfast

On the water 70th anniversary of Japanese midget submarine attack 10 am–2 pm Saturday 2 June On the winter’s night of 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines slipped into Sydney Harbour. By dawn all were destroyed and HMAS Kuttabul had been sunk, killing 21. Curator Lindsay Shaw leads a cruise of the sites, including Garden Island to see a recovered midget sub conning tower. Members adult $60 child $35 family of 4 $170. Price includes morning tea, BYO picnic lunch

HMB Endeavour Transit of Venus dinner 6–10 pm Sunday 17 June Recently returned from voyaging around Australia, and Lord Howe Island to observe the Transit of Venus, this is a unique opportunity to hear some of the many stories from the captain and crew of HMB Endeavour. Pre-dinner drinks and ship visit, talk by Captain Ross Mattson. Dinner speaker: Sydney Observatory astronomer Carlos Bacigalupo who led observations on the Transit voyage. Member $90. General $105. RSVP 14 June

Thursday 31 May–Friday 1 June 2012 The museum hosts this two-day national conference on the watercraft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, taking its name Nawi from an Aboriginal word for the bark canoes of Sydney Harbour. Australia has a remarkable heritage spanning more than 40,000 years of craft differing in type, materials and construction technologies from the bound-bark and reed canoes of Tasmania, the flat bark canoes of the Murray-Darling, to the fan-shaped Bardi rafts of north-western Australia and the double outriggers of Torres Strait. We are bringing together practitioners and theorists from a range of institutions, communities and individuals interested in the history, conservation, construction, interpretation and presentation of Australia's indigenous watercraft. Demonstrations and talks by traditional canoe builders and people engaged in reviving traditional canoe building practices and knowledge will be a highlight. Full rate $275 Members student and concession $165. Information 02 9298 3777 BOOKINGS AND ENQUIRIES Booking form on reverse of mailing address sheet. Please note that booking is essential: online at or phone (02) 9298 3644 (unless otherwise indicated) or email before sending form with payment. All details are correct at time of publication but subject to change.

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Cat and fish by William Buelow Gould

Titanic leaving Belfast dock

Ra-Kalnwanyimara dugout canoe

Fish in Australian art

Remembering Titanic – 100 years

5 April–1 October 2012

29 March–11 November 2012

NAWI – exploring Australia’s Indigenous watercraft

This is a story of people and fish, told through a history of Australian art. Fish and fishing have inspired a sense of wonderment in Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, both amateur and professional. The art they have produced shows how fishing culture has touched the lives of individuals and communities.

Titanic was to be the greatest ship afloat, shining proof of the industrial power of the modern world. The vision was shattered on the first voyage, when Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912 with the loss of over 1,500 lives. To mark this centenary, the construction, disaster, rediscovery and controversy surrounding the sinking and salvage are explored.

Featuring works by William Buelow Gould, Margaret Olley, William Dobell, Arthur Boyd, Yvonne Koolmatrie, John Olsen, Rupert Bunny, John Brack, Michael Leunig, Craig Walsh and many more.

20 years – a snapshot Until 11 March 2012 To celebrate the museum’s 20th anniversary, this photographic exhibition features highlights of the past 20 years – from royalty and rock stars to vessels and Vikings, from behind the scenes to the big blockbuster shows.

Duyfken The visiting replica of Duyfken (‘Little Dove’) is leaving our wharves soon. The original Dutch East India Company ship made the first recorded European landing on our continent, at Cape York Peninsula in April 1606. The vessel’s Captain Willem Janszoon made the first chart of mainland Australia. Check availability on 02 9298 3777. Tour of the ship included in Big Ticket. Members FREE

7 March–11 June 2012 Images of Indigenous watercraft from Arnhem Land and the Buccaneer archipelago in north-west Western Australia are shown in this display of contemporary bark paintings, technical drawings and photographs from the 1920s. In association with our conference ‘NAWI exploring Australia’s Indigenous watercraft’ at the museum Thursday 31 May–Friday 1 June 2012. Details on previous page and

ADMISSION Refund of your entry fees if you become a Member during your visit! Galleries & Exhibitions Ticket Adult $7 Child (4–15 years)/Concession $3.50 Family (2 adults + 3 children) $17.50 Members/Australian pensioners/ Children under 4 FREE Big Ticket (Galleries & Exhibitions + Vessels + Kids on Deck + AQUA) Adult $25 Child (4–15 years)/Concession/ Pensioners $10 Family (2 adults + 3 children) $60 Members/Children under 4 FREE Group bookings (10 or more people) 20% discount on ticket prices

below right: Reproduced courtesy artist and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre left: Sydney Heritage Fleet centre: Reproduced courtesy Sydney Lee far right: photographer Xanthe Rivett 2009

Exhibitions far left: Kerry Stokes Collection Perth photographer Paul Green below left: ANMM photograph below right: Duyfken Replica 1606 Foundation centre: left David Payne ANMM


1874 tall ship James Craig, Sydney Heritage Fleet

Child migrant Stewart Lee, 1955

Divers and the Mermaid anchor

Barque James Craig

ANMM travelling exhibitions

Wrecks, reefs and the Mermaid

Sydney Heritage Fleet’s magnificent 1874 iron-hulled barque James Craig was recommissioned in 2000 after an award-winning, 30-year restoration – one of only four such vessels in the world that are still sailing.

On their own – Britain’s child migrants

18 February–20 May 2012 Eden Killer Whale Museum NSW

13 October 2011–6 May 2012 Immigration Museum, Museum Victoria 19 May–14 August 2012 Western Australian Maritime Museum

Photographs by Xanthe Rivett illustrate the museum’s work during two archaeological expeditions to remote coral reefs off the coast of Queensland, supported generously by the Silentworld foundation.

Joint ticketing with the Sydney Heritage Fleet. The ship sails some Saturdays and Sundays. Check for details

HMB Endeavour circumnavigation The HM Bark Endeavour replica has almost completed her epic circumnavigation of Australia, with all berths sold out. She’s due back in Sydney on 21 May; details of her big welcome back to Sydney Harbour are on page 33. Follow the voyage on Meanwhile you can visit the ship in her final ports of call: 7–11 March Portland VIC 24 March–3 April Hobart TAS 18–29 April Melbourne VIC 9–13 May Eden NSW

From the 1860s until the 1970s, more than 100,000 British children were sent to Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. The lives of these children changed dramatically and fortunes varied. Some forged new futures; others suffered lonely, brutal childhoods. All experienced dislocation and separation from family and homeland. A collaboration between the ANMM and National Museums Liverpool, UK

Freshwater Saltwater – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prints 18 February–15 April 2012 Geelong Gallery Victoria 15 May–8 July 2012 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery Prints from the museum’s collection commemorate the rich living relationship between Indigenous people and water. Vivid representations of marine life and environments celebrate the survival of these communities and their struggle for justice and land and sea rights.

FREE ENTRY to Galleries & Exhibitions on the FIRST THURSDAY of the month (excluding public and school holidays) Destroyer Vampire in dry dock July 2010


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Visiting vessel Duyfken replica

Baru (Crocodile) by Nancy Gaymala Yunupingu 2005

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Sydney Flying Squadron The coloured sails club Online research resources such as the National Library of Australia’s Trove have clarified aspects of the Sydney Flying Squadron’s role in 18-footer history, writes New Zealand yachting historian Robin Elliott. The author’s new book includes material sourced from this museum’s collections and archives.

opposite: Mark Foy, colourful Commodore of the Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht club. This satirical depiction appeared in Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly, 1 February 1926 page 9. ANMM Collection. The museum’s holding of this journal are searchable online at


Signals 98 march to may 2012

in 2003, i wrote an article with colleague Harold Kidd on the perils of oral history (Signals No 62 March 2003). In it, we meditated on the yarns and salty tales that pervade our maritime history, many of which have become enshrined as fact and are sometimes chanted as mantras when setting the scene for an historical address or discussion. We wrote: ‘Yarns and legends are difficult things to handle. They usually contain a lot of truth, but time and continual re-telling make it almost impossible to separate the core of fact. They often exist in a sort of timeless limbo as unchallengeable truths rendered untouchable by sentiment.’ Now, in 2011, I can add, ‘… until Trove’. The National Library of Australia’s website Trove (, with its mammoth collection of searchable Australian newspapers, has revolutionised data collection for amateur historians. No longer do we have to take days off work to go to a library or a museum, find parking, queue for the fastest microfilm reader or, late in the day, rush to get that last reel done before being politely asked to leave. With Trove, it’s all in our own home at our fingertips, any time of day or night. Sheer bliss! My colleague Harold Kidd has often said that, once exposed and properly understood, the kernel of truth in an old yarn is often more entertaining than the yarn itself. We have both proved this to be so on more than one occasion, and recently had cause to reflect on it once again. Around the same time as my Signals article I had begun writing about the Australasian 18-footer movement, focusing in particular on the yacht clubs involved and how the rivalry between the two New South Wales Clubs, the Sydney Flying Squadron and the NSW 18-Footer Sailing League, and their often spikey relationship with Queensland and New Zealand, had seen the 18-footer evolve from an over-canvassed dinghy into a flying billboard.

The origins of the Sydney Flying Squadron, founded by Mark Foy in 1891 and the spiritual home of the iconic 18-footer, were well known and had been written many times. Briefly, Foy formed the Squadron in 1891 because he wanted to make sailing a spectator sport. Yachts were to carry coloured sails or designs so boats could be easily recognised by the paying spectators on the Squadron’s hired ferries. He wanted short courses so that boats could be within view of the spectators all the time, and to run more races in the same afternoon. Handicaps were given at the start so the first across the line was the winner, once again giving the spectator a clear understanding of the race. ‘The establishment’, always the pantomime villains, was outraged by the defacement of a yachtsman’s ‘white wings’ with coloured daubs and stripes and objected strongly to this lurid and shoddy display. When coloured sails were banned by the NSW Anniversary Regatta Committee, Foy refused to bow to their demands and ran his own simultaneous rival regatta. Foy’s rebel regatta was an extraordinary success and forced the Anniversary Regatta committee to accept coloured designs on sails. From then on all open boats carried coloured designs, the 18-footer prospered and in time evolved into the iconic skiff-type that it is today. Being naturally cautious when it came to yarns, I had a problem with this potted scenario. It was light on detail and seemed too brash to be true. ‘Establishments’ don’t usually roll over that easily. All the early stories I had read on the origins of the Squadron and the 18-footer had borrowed heavily off each other, repeating the received information and elevating Mark Foy to the semi-deity of a nautical creation myth. I didn’t doubt the man’s charisma, his generosity for a cause he believed in or his ability to galvanise a group of followers, that much was plain. But where was the detail? Was all that fuss just over some coloured sails? Signals 98 march to may 2012


The minimal microfilm research I had been able to do from New Zealand showed that in the late 1890s the Squadron raced a mixed bag of open boats, 20s, 22s, 24s and just two or three 18s, and certainly never had a ‘race fleet’ of 18-footers until around 1904. What had happened? I had the bones of a book, but without the ‘smoking guns’ of documentary evidence to underpin the narrative, it was no better than what had gone before. Camping in the Sydney libraries and burning up their microfilm readers was not at all practical when I had to make a living in New Zealand, so I buried the 18-footer project. There it lay for almost six years until February 2011 when Harold told me about Trove and the success he had experienced with his genealogical searches. Reluctantly, I exhumed my 18-footer corpse to see if Trove could put some dates to events that I had glossed over. The first response I got for a search on the ‘Sydney Flying Squadron’ was startling. Sydney Morning Herald 7 November 1891: ‘Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club, Limited. The second of this company’s races takes place this afternoon ….’ Hang on a minute. ‘Limited’? ‘company’? Those were not the sort of words I expected to read in connection with a Victorian sailing club. Those two words completely changed my perspective of the club and certainly helped me to understand the obstruction and anger that was being directed at it. 38

Signals 98 march to may 2012

Successive trawls by Trove through the Sydney Morning Herald revealed two ‘Sydney Flying Squadrons’, one a limited liability company formed in 1891, lapsed or wound up in 1892; the other, an openboat sailing club formed in 1894 and still functioning today. Time and retelling of the story had rolled them into a single, continuous entity. The standard Squadron origin yarn was part fact, part invention and part exaggeration. The truth is much more interesting. Consequently, many subsequent events from the 1890s now also make more sense because they sit on firm foundations. Here is a brief overview of what happened. The Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club was formed at Rainsford’s Cambridge Club Hotel on 11 August 1891, when flamboyant Sydney draper Mark Foy and a group of supporters founded a club to promote his vision of open boat sailing. At the time there was no shortage of yacht clubs. Open boat racing was well catered for by the likes of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club (founded in 1872), the Balmain Sailing Club (1885), the Port Jackson Sailing Club (1888), the East Sydney Sailing Club (1890) and the vibrant Johnstone’s Bay Sailing Club (1890). So it seems Foy’s motive was probably the same as everyone else’s. That is, no one will listen to your ideas, you fall out with just about everyone at the other clubs, and to get any sailing at all you have to start a club of your own.

As well as the coloured sails and triangular courses previously mentioned, Foy wanted the first boat across the finish line to be the winner, with no messing about taking times followed by a long wait while they worked out the handicaps. The new Sydney Flying Squadron instituted timed starts, the boats took their handicaps at the start and went off at intervals according to the length of their handicap. Foy did not invent the timed start but he has been associated with it ever since. It had long been used in handicap rowing races but never for sailing. He introduced it for the first time at the Port Jackson Sailing Club where he was a vice president and in January 1890 had put up several trophies for such events. Although the races were very successful and resulted in some exciting finishes, the timed start received a cool reception from the club’s starting officials who, used to waving a flag or two and banging off a gun, now had quite a bit of work to do to get their fleet away. This lack of support was probably Foy’s motive for forming the new club. The Flying Squadron races with their sail insignia and ‘first past the post’ results became like waterborne horse races, jockey’s silks and all, and once the bookies infiltrated the weekly spectator ferries, the analogy was complete. The Sydney Morning Herald of 26 October 1891 had this to say regarding the first major race for the Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club with prize money of £30:

‘This newly-formed club held its first race on Saturday afternoon last, and as there were new ideas to be worked out, it was a foregone conclusion that a large number of persons would attend to watch the proceedings and judge whether those new ideas are likely to become popular. The special features of the club are that competing boats are to carry coloured insignias on their sails, that the boats have no beating, but sail round a triangular course and no boat leading is to prevent another passing her, and thirdly, that the handicaps are given at the start.’ The winner that day was the 24-footer Mantura, sailed off scratch by Chris Webb, who passed Mark Foy’s Kannanook on the line to win by one second, with another one second back to Massilia in third place. It was a perfect example of Mark Foy’s system at work. Like most fledgling clubs, the Squadron raced a mixed bag of boats of varying quality, from old warhorses like the early 1880s 22-footer Grace Darling, the 24-footer Volunteer, through the crack 22s, Violet and Latona, the 24s, Mantura and Lottie, and Foy’s 26-footer Kannanook. The racing, based at Clark Island, consisted of two heats and a final, and certainly gave the punters value for money. Unfortunately, there were not enough of them and as the season wore on, the costs of running ferries from all points around the harbour to Clark Island, plus brass bands and assorted hoopla, were barely covered. The coloured sails debate did not go away. Many yachtsmen, apart from being

horrified that people would sully their ‘white wings’ with gaudy coloured patterns, also saw a more sinister motive to this apparent desire to make sailing a spectator sport. The animosity towards the new Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club was not so much in the crassness of its coloured sails, but in the commercial nature of its organisation and the ease with which gambling could be introduced into the sport of sailing. For The Squadron was not a club at all, but registered as a limited liability company. It had shareholders rather than members and was run by a board of directors. A deputation headed by Mark Foy had approached Mr James Brunker, Minister of Lands, with a view to leasing Clark Island, erecting a grandstand and charging spectators an entrance fee. In that way the club could make money, shareholders could earn a dividend and the Squadron could put up far better prize money than any yacht club on the harbour. With gambling and moneymaking on the agenda, the stigma of professionalism hovered over the club and its participants. Today, when most clubs are by necessity commercial enterprises, no one would bat an eyelid. In 1891, to the Victorian gentlemen in their yacht clubs, it was an outrage. A war of words erupted in the streets, bars and in the newspapers. Things came to a head in December 1891 when the New South Wales National Anniversary Regatta Committee put up a motion to bar coloured sails or designs from the 1892 Regatta.

Once exposed and properly understood, the kernel of truth in an old yarn is often more entertaining than the yarn itself

left: Extract from a publication detailing the open boat clubs and their fleets for the 1893–94 season. From a lithographic map of Port Jackson published by Higginbotham & Robinson, Lithographers & Map Publisher, Wentworth Court, 62 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Reproduced courtesy Robin Elliott right: The 24-footer Mantura, sailed by Chris Webb, won the first race of the new Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club Limited. Reproduced courtesy Robin Elliott

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Mr W Macken, representing the Flying Squadron, attended a meeting of the Regatta Committee and after failing in his argument for coloured sails announced that, if the Squadron was not to be included, then the only course open to them was to hold ‘an opposition regatta on the same day’. Refusing to bow to such threats, the Regatta Committee promptly passed the motion, and barred all colours or distinguishing marks on sails other than their own issued numbers. The debate rumbled on for the rest of the month. The Flying Squadron held several public meetings and gained considerable support from the open boat sailing clubs, but the Regatta Committee, driven by members of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and several members of the powerful amateur rowing associations, refused to budge. The Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club it said, ‘was a commercial enterprise corrupting aquatic sport’, and that ‘coloured sails were the sign of a club, the object of which was to introduce gambling to boat racing’. Foy vigorously denied their intent to introduce gambling, but went short of denouncing gambling as such. He knew what was happening, but dared not be seen to support it. Publicly, the Squadron’s rival Australian Anniversary Regatta held on 26 January 1892, the same day as the National Regatta, was a roaring success, although financially, both were disasters. The entries were split between the two.

‘The establishment’, always the pantomime villains, was outraged by the defacement of a yachtsman’s ‘white wings’ with coloured daubs and stripes

Both parties had over-spent to outshine the other, offering excessive prizes and lavish hospitality for their guests, and struggled to pay the prize money. Mark Foy paid the balance from his own pocket while the Regatta Committee, nearly three years later, noted that the books from the 1892 event were still ‘£130 short including prize money of £81 owing to the sailing community’. The lack of financial success in their rival regatta knocked the stuffing out of the Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club. A meeting in February 1892 noted Mark Foy’s ‘last time in the capacity of commodore’, and after a couple more races, and a district court case brought against the club by Mr Augustus Blair, owner of the yacht Cynthia, for unpaid prize money, the club finished the season and folded. An item in the Sydney Morning Herald 22 October 1892,

looking forward to the new sailing season, noted that ‘two clubs have ceased to exist, Balmain and the Flying Squadron. Several attempts have been made to continue the Flying Squadron, apparently without success, as now nothing is heard of it.’ A Regatta Committee meeting a month later, gloomily poring over its mountain of debts noted that, ‘the coloured sails club has collapsed’. All went quiet for a couple of years. In March 1894, the Johnstone’s Bay Sailing Club sent three of its best 22-footers to Brisbane for the first 22-foot Inter-colonial Championship. Honours were shared between the local champion Bulletin, skippered by James Whereat and NSW’s Irex skippered by Nick Johnson. The re-match in Sydney, planned to coincide with the 1895 Anniversary Regatta, set the Sydney scene humming. Every yacht club wanted to be involved, even a recently deceased one. In the Sydney Morning Herald 12 April 1894, on page 6, a small paragraph appeared stating: ‘Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club. A meeting of sailing men was held at Rainsford’s Cambridge Club Hotel last night for the purpose of re-establishing this club. Mr F J Donovan was voted to the chair, and called on Mr M Foy to explain the object of the meeting. That gentleman then stated his ideas on the matter, after which it was decided that the club be formed, and that it be open for boats from 18ft to 26ft.’

At its first meeting in August 1894, members voted to name the club the Sydney Flying Squadron. Mark Foy was elected commodore with vice-commodores Messrs A Roderick and Billy Golding. Club colours were to be a blue burgee with a white triangle. All boats were to carry ‘large distinguishing colours on sails’. The Coloured Sails Club was back. The new club made an immediate impact. Not only did it offer excellent prizes and attract a clutch of the new 18-foot class that had begun to make an appearance on the harbour, but it allied itself with Johnstone’s Bay in regard to fixtures and secured its own inter-colonial championship race to be held during the coming carnival. The animosity previously directed at the old Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club had mellowed somewhat as the new club showed that, while it was still different, and might still be a noisy neighbour, it could co-operate with its fellow clubs around the harbour. A comment in the Sydney Morning Herald 25 September 1894 noted that, ‘the Flying Squadron is now being run on purely club lines and should, with the support promised, show a good season’s return.’ That first season was a triumph. The club took notice of the softening attitudes and voluntarily reduced the size of the sail insignia and colours, a point that the newspaper reported, ‘will no doubt remove some of the objections’. The club we now know as the Sydney Flying Squadron had arrived. 

Read more about the 18s in the author’s book Galloping Ghosts – Australasian 18-footers 1890–1965 by Robin Elliott, published by David Ling Publishing in association with the Australian Open Skiff Trust, available soon from The Store. RRP $49.95.

GallopinG Ghosts a u s t r a l a s i a n 1 8 - F o o t e r s 1 8 9 0 - 1 9 6 5

top right: Lan Taylor’s Keriki (ex Thelma III) is featured on the cover of the Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly, October 1925. This dramatic photograph by Wm Hall & Co was enlarged ‘to about 5 feet’ for exhibition in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. ANMM Collection. left: Ferry Lady Chelmsford crowded with spectators to watch the 18-footers racing off Rose Bay. Nitrate negative, date and photographer unknown. ANMM Collection


Signals 98 march to may 2012

r o b i n

e l l i o tt

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Whaling in Jervis Bay from commodity to conservation

Their occupation is, during the winter to look out for whales, and in summer to catch smaller fish, which are salted, dried and forwarded to Sydney for sale

A fellowship supported by the Australian National Maritime Museum enabled museum-studies doctorate student Claire Baddeley to research whaling in Jervis Bay, and curate an exhibition about it for the Lady Denman Maritime Museum at Huskisson, NSW, open until the end of March 2012.

left: The Spermaceti Whale 1825 –30 by William Lizars (1788 –1859). Coloured etching on paper. Halloran Collection, Lady Denman Heritage Complex & Museum above right: Jervis Bay London, 1889, artist unknown. Lithograph on paper. Halloran Collection, Lady Denman Heritage Complex & Museum


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Whaling, a global industry of major importance by the 19th century, represents a fascinating story in social, economic and technological terms. Whales were valued for their oil, which was used in lamps, as machine lubricants and in soaps and cosmetics. Commercial whaling began in Europe with the Basques who hunted migrating whales off the coasts of Spain and France from the 1100s. By the late 16th and early 17th centuries the Basques were competing with the English, French, Dutch and Danish who were operating whaling fleets in northern waters and off Spitsbergen and Greenland. Growing demand for whale oil fuelled the rapid expansion of whaling from the late 1700s. The most widely caught species were the sperm, right and blue whales. As whale stocks declined, new grounds were discovered further away from Europe, in the oceans of the Atlantic and Pacific. By the mid-19th century the United States dominated the industry and whaling entered its golden age. Whaling vessels became larger, often barque-rigged, and equipped for voyages that could last several years. Whalers faced a harsh and brutal life, with poor pay and hazardous conditions. The crews on American whaleboats were a mixture of races and nationalities drawn from many ports around the world. For months they were subject to close confinement, bad food and hard work followed by long periods of monotony. In the frantic chase and kill of whales, the men often put their own lives at risk.

Whaling during the 18th and 19th centuries followed a pattern of discovery of new whaling grounds, over-working them and abandoning them for new fields. Expansion into the South Pacific saw the whaling grounds off Australia and New Zealand became much sought after.

Early colonial industries Britain, America and France all vied for influence in the South Seas during the late 18th century. British ships transporting convicts to Australia often served as whalers on their return voyages to London. The Third Fleet, which sailed in March 1791, included five whalers that voyaged from Port Jackson to the Pacific Ocean looking for whales on their return journey. By 1805, shore-based whaling stations had been established in Van Diemen’s Land and during the 1820s seal skins, whalebone and black and sperm oil were being exported. Black oil was a cheaper, inferior grade from a right whale. The early colonial prosperity of Australia, particularly of Sydney and Hobart, can be attributed to the activities of the early sealers and whalers. Seal skins and seal oil provided much-needed exports to China and India. Many of the Bass Strait islands had small populations of sealers living on them, eking out a frugal and isolated existence. American and British whalers often visited Australian shores for supplies of fresh water, food and timber. As many as 300 American whalers were active along the southern coast of Australia by 1841. Generally watering

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Whale watching has now replaced the hunting and killing of whales of past years in Australian waters

there, aged from 21 to 45 years. All were free men, not convicts. A correspondent writing in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 17 June 1841 came across a group of men fishing in the bay and noted that ‘these men formed part of a whaling station on the western shore on the bay belonging to a Mr Kinghorne and their occupation is, during the winter to look out for whales, and in summer to catch smaller fish, which are salted, dried and forwarded to Sydney for sale’. By the 1850s Kinghorne had acquired land at Saltwater Creek on the Shoalhaven River. His whaling station lasted three years before pastoral interests proved more profitable. The Kinghorne estate was eventually sold as freehold land in 1915. From the mid-19th century American whalers continued to visit Jervis Bay for water, supplies, refitting and to recruit crew. By the 1860s, however, whaling in the region was in decline. The discovery of gold, reduced whale numbers and then the advent of petroleum-based products all contributed to the demise of whaling in Australian waters.

above: Captain W Kinghorne 1834 by Thomas Lempriere (1796–1852). Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery Collection, purchased with funds provided by The Ian Potter Foundation 2007 right: SS Loch Tay, 1924, photographer Frederick Garner Wilkinson (1901–1975). Glass plate negative. ANMM Collection opposite: Whaling in the South Pacific, operations on board an Australian Whaler, a series of 7 vignettes, 1893, by A H Fullwood (1863–1930). Engraving. ANMM Collection

in remote locations, they sometimes made the first European contact with Aboriginal people. Indigenous people in Australia had utilised stranded whales as a food source, with beached whales providing an opportunity for large feastings before European settlement. Indigenous crew were also employed on whale ships.

Whaling in Jervis Bay Whaling played an important role in the early history of Jervis Bay. It was first explored by Lieutenant Bowen who entered the bay on the transport Atlantic in August 1791. Additional exploration, surveying and excursions inland from the bay took place in 1797 and 1801. As early as 1813 small boats visited Jervis Bay in search of valuable cedar. The colonial government began issuing land grants in the vicinity in the 1820s and wool was being shipped from the bay by 1840. For whalers, the bay with its allweather shelter and excellent anchorage was a favoured place for fresh water from the 1790s. Between 1840 and 1873 a number of British and American whalers visited, reported by colonial newspapers. On 7 December 1842 the Sydney Morning Herald noted that Maria 44

Signals 98 march to may 2012

Norwegians in Jervis Bay

Orr had returned to Jervis Bay after ‘being absent from there about six weeks, during which time she had taken 150 barrels of sperm and 400 barrels of black oil’. The Kiama Independent on 2 August 1866 reported that the American whaler Robert Edwards ‘put into Jervis Bay last week, three of his crew bolted, they were captured and taken before the Shoalhaven Bench as deserters, by whom contrary to all expectations, they were discharged’. A number of whaling operations worked out of Jervis Bay during the 19th century. In 1841, Captain William Kinghorne (1796–1878), who had migrated to Australia from Scotland, established an on-shore whaling station at Cabbage Tree Point. He had joined the Royal Navy in 1812 as a midshipman at 15 years of age and had worked in Tasmania from the late 1820s to 1830s, commanding government vessels including the brigs Cyprus and Prince Leopold between Hobart and Sydney. He was leased some 2,500 acres on the northern part of Jervis Bay known as Mt Jervis, owned by his father Alexander. The 1841 census revealed that Captain Kinghorne’s whaling enterprise consisted of a timber house with 14 men living

By the 1860s, with the invention of the harpoon grenade and steam-powered ships, the modern era of whaling had begun. A Norwegian, Svend Foyn (1809–94), pioneered the invention of firing a harpoon from a gun mounted on a steamship. Freed from the vagaries of wind power and the hazards of harpooning from small open boats, whalers were now able to target species that had previously been difficult to hunt. Companies operating in southern oceans began to use floating factories and smallscale operations began along the coasts of Australia. By 1930 the Norwegians had 23 companies using 30 factory ships and 145 whale chasers in waters as far south as Antarctica. New technologies increased hunting efficiency, but led to a rapid reduction in whale numbers. In their search for new whaling grounds, a number of Norwegian whaling companies operated off the coasts of Africa, South America and Australia. In 1912 an 8,000 ton factory ship, Loch Tay, and three chasers, Sorrell, Campbell and Lionel, began to operate in Jervis Bay. Declared to be the ‘largest whaler afloat in the world’ by the Register (Adelaide) in December 1913, the ship was owned by the Australian Whaling Company of Tonsberg, Norway. It was converted from a cargo ship to a whaler, with numerous boilers and tanks fitted for

the storage of oil. The Consul for Norway made an application on behalf of this company to operate off the coast and on the shores of Jervis Bay. The New South Wales government initially supported these whaling operations. However, the operations were beset with problems from the beginning. The ships moved to New Zealand waters, returning to Jervis Bay in May 1913 for the humpback season. Although their operations in the bay were considered a success, opposition to the Norwegian whalers grew. The Shoalhaven Telegraph noted that the whaling company was having trouble with deserters who signed on under ‘Norwegians conditions [and] find the pay inadequate here, and naturally they clear out to better themselves’. In addition, the whaling operations were believed to be seriously affecting the local fishing and oyster industries. Residents complained of foul smells and pollution. The operations of the ships were considered an ‘intolerable nuisance’ and the opening of the Naval College on the shores of the bay further exacerbated State and Commonwealth tensions over the whaling operations. By August

1913 notice was served on the owners of Loch Tay to cease operations despite a successful catch of 9500 barrels of oil. The company moved to Western Australia in 1914.

20th century whaling While the Norwegians dominated whaling during the early years of the 20th century, Japan and Germany entered Antarctic waters during the 1930s. Whale stocks were depleted in every new whaling ground discovered, resulting in the near extinction of many species. The shortage of edible fats and oils after World War II meant that the demand for whales remained high. During the 1950s and 60s Russia also entered the whaling industry. Over the first six decades of the 20th century some two million whales were killed in the Southern Hemisphere. By the 1930s it became evident that regulations were required to protect whale stocks. The Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was held in 1931 and worldwide protection of whales came into effect in 1935. In 1946 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) began to regulate commercial whaling. Pressure from public interest groups, scientists and animal

welfare groups during the 1960s and 70s further highlighted the need to protect whales and their threatened environments. By the late 1970s the IWC had banned whaling of all species except the minke whale. The Cheynes Beach Whaling Company in Western Australia ceased operations in November 1978. It was the last whaling operation in Australia. Today, whale watching has become an increasingly popular activity. In Jervis Bay whales can be observed migrating along the east coast from June to November. Humpback whales are the most commonly sighted. Other species such as southern right whales occasionally visit the bay on their migrations. A new ‘ecotourism’ industry around whales has been born. Whale watching has now replaced the hunting and killing of whales of past years in Australian waters. It represents our most recent fascination with the mystique of whales.  In 2011 Claire Baddeley won a Powerhouse Museum Movable Heritage Fellowship with support and funding from the Australian National Maritime Museum, and conducted research in our collections and archives.

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Edwin Fox respect for age

Maritime heritage around Australasia Picton NZ

Our survey of maritime heritage museums moves further afield, to Picton, New Zealand – home of the last surviving ship that transported convicts to Australia. Introducing the East Indiaman Edwin Fox is Bill Richards, recently retired after 20 years managing media and communications for this museum.

blue-green colour to the hull’s other textures and patterns. Edwin Fox was built near Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1853 by William Henry Foster to a design favoured by the British East India Company. Before completion, Foster sold the robust hull to London merchant Sir George Hodgkinson who named the vessel Edwin Fox – after someone who now seems to be lost in the mists of history. With the highest possible rating in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, the Fox was sold again within a year to prominent ship owner Duncan Dunbar and immediately chartered by the British Government to carry troops and stores during the Crimean War. After the war, the ship was refitted for passengers and general cargo and in 1856 it made its first voyage to the South Seas, carrying just six passengers and a load of general cargo from London to Melbourne. (Duncan Dunbar also owned the ship that carried his name, destroyed at the base of South Head, Sydney, in a wild winter storm in 1857 with the loss of 121 souls – every passenger and all but one crew. Like Edwin Fox, Dunbar had served as a troopship for the Crimean conflict before embarking on the Australia trade.) Edwin Fox then carried 288 emigrant coolies from China to Cuba under private charter. Its next major voyage was the transportation of convicts to Western Australia in 1858. On board were 42 crew, a ‘Pensioner Guard’ of 67 mostly war pensioners and their families, and the convicts. Among the latter were court-martialled military men and political prisoners including Irish Fenians. The voyage of transportation took 103 days, arriving at the Swan River on 24 November. After its sole convict run, the Fox continued sailing between Britain, India and East Asia until Dunbar’s death in 1862 when it was sold Messrs Gallatly, Hankey & Company, of London. From 1865 to 1868 it was deployed on five voyages

The sailing ship Edwin Fox, built near the mouth of the Ganges, India, in the early 1850s and now resting comfortably in New Zealand, has an important message for all of us: old age has its own beauty. Time, the elements and a severe bout of neglect, admittedly, have taken their toll. Three masts, the superstructure and decking have gone. The sturdily-built hull, however, is still largely intact, its planks worn bare and smooth by the elements; smooth, that is, except for the lines and patterns of old age etched through the wood by sea life and salt water… filigree on a large scale. And locked in those ageing timbers is a long lifetime of extraordinary maritime experience. Finding the Edwin Fox, for me, was an unexpected delight. A ferry ride from Wellington in New Zealand’s North Island, across Cook Strait and along the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound, takes you to the little port of Picton (population about 3,000), which is the gateway to the South Island. Everyone arriving at the Picton ferry terminal is just 300 metres from the neat façade of the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum on the shoreline. 46

Signals 98 march to may 2012

The museum’s heritage centre has a fine display of original Edwin Fox historical artefacts and photographs. These explain that the 50-metre-long vessel awaiting inspection is believed to be the world’s sole remaining troopship used in the Crimean War (1853–56), which pitted imperial Russia against the French, British and Ottoman empires. And it’s also believed to be the last of the ships that transported convicts to Australia, having conveyed 280 of them to Western Australia in 1858. The old ship looked at home in its custom-built dry dock. Visitors can descend to the floor of the dock to inspect the hull all around from the outside, and then return to ground level, cross a gangway and look around inside. The presentation is simple, unadorned and completely honest. There are no contemporary additions except for some minimal supports and decking to allow visitors to walk safely in the cargo hold beside the keelson and, above that, to walk on the lower deck. The hull remains unpainted, just as it was in 1986 when it was rescued from 19 years of neglect as it lay on the muddy shore of Shakespeare Bay, the western arm of Picton Harbour. No timbers have been replaced to show how things were at some earlier stage in the vessel’s history. You see what has survived, and that’s all. You see the internal lining timbers called ceilings. You see the iron bracing installed to strengthen the hull after a collision on its maiden voyage from Calcutta to London in 1853. You see vertical wooden stanchions with their middle sections eaten away, indicating the extent of rising and falling tides when the vessel lay on its side, abandoned. On the outside of the hull you see what’s left of the copper alloy plates that were fixed there as sheathing to protect the timbers from terado worm and reduce fouling. Now, damaged and out of alignment, it simply adds attractive sweeps of yellow, orange and oxidised

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Damaged sheathing simply adds attractive sweeps of yellow, orange and oxidised blue-green colour to the hull’s other textures and patterns

previous page: Edwin Fox in her custom-built dry dock at Picton NZ. Photographer Richard Briggs. clockwise from left: The patina of age on remnant copper sheathing over the 160-year-old hull planks. Photographer Bill Richards Edwin Fox Society president Chris Brown inside the hull. Photographer Gavin Newell Abandoned on the shore of Shakespeare Bay. Edwin Fox Society Edwin Fox serving as a meat freezer hulk in Picton Harbour c.1897. Edwin Fox Society


Signals 98 march to may 2012

carrying British soldiers back and forth between various ports in England and Mumbai (Bombay). Many returning to England were sick or wounded in the service of their Queen; significant numbers died on board and were tipped over the ship’s gunwales and buried at sea. In the 1870s the hard-working ship came under charter to the Shaw Savill Company on the New Zealand run carrying immigrants from England to the Land of the Long White Cloud. In four such voyages, it transported more than 750 settlers to their new home on the opposite side of the globe. Then came a change of trade that would save it from disappearing like most of its sister sailing ships. As steam-driven ships were bringing the Age of Sail to its completion in the 1880s, Shaw Savill gave Edwin Fox a new lease on life as a specially-equipped harbourside refrigeration station for frozen mutton awaiting shipment to Britain. The old work horse survived into a new era, performing this role in several ports until finally it came to Picton in 1897. With the building of Picton Freezing Works in 1900, the old Fox continued its degrading decline, first as a landing

platform and then as a coal hulk until the 1960s. The tide then turned in favour of the old ship again – or so, at least, it appeared. In 1965 a group of concerned citizens banded together in Picton to form the Edwin Fox Restoration Society with the objective of bringing the old ship ashore for attention and restoration. They bought the ship from its owner, a meat company, for one shilling (10 cents). Their ambitious plans fell flat, however, when they failed to secure an appropriate harbourside site for the project. Edwin Fox was towed away and abandoned. ‘They just took it around to Shakespeare Bay and dumped it there, says the man responsible for its eventual and lasting resurrection. ‘They tied it to a tree to hold it upright. She just fell on her side … pulled the tree out, of course, weighing 800 tons … and then filled up with water. And she just wrecked herself there for the best part of 20 years.’ Chris Brown moved to the Marlborough region of New Zealand’s South Island in the mid-1960s. A diver in those days, he pioneered the local abalone industry and over the next 20 years developed a commercial fishery, Marlborough Seafoods, with 43 contributing fishermen and a staff of 35. Brown contemplated Edwin Fox’s fate and eventually joined with former Picton Harbour Board Chairman Harry Stace to re-form the Edwin Fox Society. Together they located and communicated with ‘rival’ heritage organisations in the UK, Australia and New Zealand that were also interested in recovering the old ship and taking it away to other parts of the country or the world. This, he says, served to rally local Picton pride and support. After two-and-a-half months of frantic work above and below the waterline, patching holes in the hull with sheets of plastic and plywood and setting a huge pump in action, Brown finally floated the old hull and had it towed from the shoreline on a king tide late in 1986. ‘For a moment I stood there overcome by emotion,’ Brown says. ‘This ship that had done so much in her lifetime sailing the world’s oceans had been transformed from a derelict wreck breaking up ashore to a floating, moving, living vessel.’ It was then berthed at a vacant jetty close to Picton’s inter-island ferry terminal where Brown and his colleagues had the timbers chemically treated for long-term preservation. Support by now was gathering. The New Zealand Government allocated a substantial sum from its lotteries fund to the construction

of a special dry dock, and this drew the support of local government and private contributions. The dock was built and Edwin Fox was installed in 1999. Further support from the government’s Heritage Fund provided a roof for shelter. The man who pumped the water from the abandoned ship is still intimately involved in the project, as president of the Edwin Fox Society. This sevenperson committee, which receives just $5,000 a year from local government and raises the rest of its own revenue, some $65,000 a year, is happy to preserve the historic vessel without trying to restore it in any way. ‘People say it would be just marvellous to take photos of her as she sails down the harbour once a year, that sort of thing,’ says Brown. ‘You have to look to the technical side. It’s going to take a crew of 30 to sail it. It’s going to have tons of ballast in it before she’ll stand upright with masts, then she’s back to drawing so much that you’ll never get her in and out of her present berth; she’d have to be shifted somewhere else. Then to restore it you’ve got to build a large off-site workshop with special equipment … the whole thing would cost $20 million. Someone in a hundred years might say “Let’s restore it” but it won’t happen in the immediate future. Not now.’ The Edwin Fox now draws some 10,000 visitors a year, about half of them New Zealanders and half from overseas. No-one, Brown says, seems disappointed at seeing the ship in its raw, unrestored condition. Rather, he says, people come out saying it was incredible to see and learn about a vessel with such a history. Brown recalls with joy a visit by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian leader of the famous 1947 Kon Tiki raft expedition from Peru across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. Having looked closely at the old Fox, the renowned ethnologist and archaeologist said: ‘Don’t touch a thing. Just leave it like it is. It’s a gem … authentic and absolutely real.’  A new book on the Edwin Fox by New Zealand journalist and author Nigel Costley, to be published by Nikau Press and the Marlborough District Council, will be available later this year at the ANMM shop, The Store.

Edwin Fox Maritime Museum at Dunbar Wharf on the Picton foreshore, open daily phone +64 (0)3 573 6868 email

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Historic This online national heritage project devised and coordinated by the Australian National Maritime Museum reaches across Australia to collate data about the nation’s extant historic vessels, their designers, builders and their stories.

Australian Register of Historic Vessels

Aussie icons and ocean racing legends


Indisputably iconic: the all-Australian surf lifesaving boat in its post-WWII evolution. Carlton Draught is shown winning the Interstate Surf Boat Race prior to claiming the National Surf Boat Championship title in 1988. Photographer unknown, private collection

Another 14 craft were approved for listing on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels when the ARHV Council met early in November 2011. Among the selection are an iconic Australian surf lifesaving boat and the Manly ferry South Steyne, an internationally recognised symbol for the harbour city, Sydney, says ARHV curator David Payne.


Signals 98 march to may 2012

South Australia has only once won the premier surfboat event at the national championships, and this was achieved in fine Australian style in 1988. The Grange Surf Life Saving Club put together a strong crew for their up-to-date, sponsored surfboat Carlton Draught. They included two winning King’s Cup rowing eight crewmembers, and trained hard for the event at Cronulla, NSW. In the semi-final they defied the competition after being swamped at the start and left well behind. In dramatic conditions the leading crews wiped out one by one as they returned to the beach, but the Grange crew battled on, stayed upright, chose their wave and crossed the line first. With this reprieve inspiring them, they dominated the final to record a handsome win – the first and only for South Australia. This boat has a composite foam core and fibreglass-skin hull with timber fitout, and represents an interim construction phase between the original wooden boats and today’s all-moulded fibreglass boats.

South Steyne was the pinnacle in the development of the famous Manly ferry fleet, its elegant double-ended hull lines featuring beautifully flared bows. The ferry graced Sydney Harbour for almost four decades after her arrival from Scotland in 1938. On many weekends South Steyne made the ocean trip to Broken Bay, providing an exciting half-day, seagoing excursion for Sydneysiders to the accompaniment of live-band music. On the other side of the continent, the ferry Peel Princess was just as well known in its own region, and still operates in its home waters over 50 years later. Launched in 1948 as MV Beam for the Beam Bus Company, it operated in conjunction with the buses on the Mandurah waterways, before doing 20 years on the Swan River run from Fremantle city to the zoo. Peel Princess then returned to Mandurah, where it now carries excursion groups and dolphin watchers. Antares and Broadbill both come from the Central Coast of NSW where they have







Bill and Flo Rogers


P & W Books Brothers


Motor cruiser


Racing yacht


Erica J






Don Piper


Max Creese


Darling Point 10-foot skiff


International 8-metre class yacht


Mercedes III






Ivor ‘Chips’ Gronfors


Cec Quilkey


Sports fishing power boat


Ocean-racing yacht


Peel Princess






Joseph Moore


Harry Griffiths


Cruising and racing yacht



Carlton Draught surfboat







Clymer Boats


Vic Meyer


Surf rescue boat


Cruising and racing yacht

Eighteen Twenty

South Steyne






Peel Bros


Henry Robb and Co


21-foot restricted-class yacht


Manly ferry

Eileen Too

Ugly Duckling






W Hargreaves


Zegelmeyer Boats


Queensland trainer


International 470 class dinghy

All photographs are reproduced courtesy of the vessel owner

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Australian Register of Historic Vessels

The mighty Manly ferry South Steyne is at her berth in Darling Harbour next to the Pyrmont Bridge, where the old ferry is now a function venue. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM

spent all their lives. Broadbill was an early offshore sports fishing launch that first went out after game fish in the 1940s. Meticulously maintained by its surgeon owner, who pioneered sports fishing off the Central Coast in the 1940s and 50s, it remains in prime condition. Throughout the 1950s Antares was something of a landmark while under construction in suburban Newcastle, before the owner-builder launched this handsome luxury launch in 1958. It was based on a high-speed English hull design, and to this day still carries much of the first owner’s detailed fitout. Sailing craft were well represented in this round of nominations. All of them shared a racing career while some of the yachts went on to be used as cruising craft as well. The most well-known would be Solo, the 16.7-metre-long, steel-hulled cutter (then yawl) from Sydney, amateur-built by its Swiss-born owner Vic Meyer. It won the Sydney– Hobart yacht race on two occasions, and set other ocean racing records that remain unbroken. Later in its career it was well known for Meyer’s cruising exploits with an all-girl crew, and an Antarctic adventure under the command of the famed navigator Dr David Lewis. Another famous Australian ocean racer to be listed is Mercedes III, Ben Lexcen’s first offshore yacht design. Beautifully cold-moulded in Taren Point, Sydney, by Cec Quilkey, the yacht dominated the 1967 Admiral’s Cup that Australia won 52

Signals 98 march to may 2012

by a record margin. This was only the nation’s second challenge for the world championship of ocean racing held in the United Kingdom every two years; it showed how much Australian yachtsmen had learnt in the postwar period when ocean racing began to flourish in their country. Those early days are represented by Eolo, a classic deepkeel yacht strongly built to a design by Tasmanian David Philp. It is most likely Australia’s first locally designed ocean racer, and after a successful career went on to cruise the world under different owners. It now resides in San Diego. Inshore yachting has added three contrasting craft to the register. Bungoona was also designed by David Philp and built by its owner for racing and cruising around Sydney Harbour. The elegant little sloop eventually moved to Melbourne where it is well known in the classic yacht regattas on Port Phillip. Erica J is an International 8-Metre design built in Tasmania in the late 1940s. It took part in and won many local races on the Derwent River and the east coast of Tasmania, but is overwhelmingly remembered by Tasmanians for winning the premier interstate match-racing trophy, the Sayonara Cup, in 1953. Winning the equally famous Forster’s Cup was the desire for Eighteen Twenty’s owners, and the 21-foot, restricted-class yacht came close when representing Victoria in the 1930s. On a memorable occasion, Eighteen Twenty came from last

and late over the starting line to lose by the length of a bowsprit to Queensland rival Gwylan in a six-hour marathon on Port Phillip. Drifting conditions saw crowds come down to the shoreline after work to watch the tactics play out over the last two legs, hoping for a local victory as the race dragged on into the evening. Dinghy sailing is hugely popular around Australia, and in recent years Australia has been at the top in the International 470 class at the Olympics. Ugly Duckling was sailed by Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell to win Australia’s first-ever gold medal in women’s sailing, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Dinghy sailing is also a training ground for up-and-coming sailors of the future, and two boats from Queensland represent those formative years. Ariel was a Darling Point 10-foot skiff, a class restricted to virtually one club on the Brisbane River, and largely crewed by under-21s. For youngsters starting out in Queensland, many began in one of the ‘Nip’ Thorpe-designed Queensland trainer (or Trainee) class, later known as the Thorpe trainer. Eileen Too was launched and sailed during World War II, a reminder that while battles raged elsewhere, some sort of normality was maintained on the home front. Both Ariel and Eileen Too are part of the Queensland Maritime Museum’s large collection of craft, and volunteer members have restored them to their original condition. 

Total Asset Management: Skills, commitment + service delivery • Fleet operations and management • Fleet maintenance and management • Vessel and port services • Integrated logistics management • Marine systems support • Vessel build and modification • Maritime project management • Maritime training

DMS Maritime Pty Limited Level 6, 210 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Email: Telephone: 02 8001 1600 Facsimile: 02 8231 0172

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Welcome Tales from the wall

The museum’s tribute to migrants, The Welcome Wall, encourages people to recall and record their stories of coming to live in Australia

From Russia with love Natalia Schlusser née Kamenzeva was tried and tempered by the wars of the mid-20th century – World War, Korean War, Cold War – surviving personal tragedy to bring her children to safe, secure new lives in Australia. Her story is by Welcome Wall historian Veronica Kooyman, as told by Natalia’s youngest son Eugene Schlusser.


Signals 98 march to may 2012

In november 1950 newly widowed Natalia Schlusser arrived in Fremantle with her four children aged 11 to 21, aboard an American-crewed transport ship, the USNS General M L Hersey. Their voyage to a new life and land had been delayed for six months, in holding camps from Frankfurt to Bremerhaven, as the Korean War flared and migrant ships were recalled to active service. It was during this time that Natalia lost her husband, Paul, his body and mind worn down by more than a decade of fear, persecution and stress. Natalia determined to complete the family journey that Paul had been so desperate to make.

Born Natalia Kamenzeva to a professional family in Tver, Russia, she studied medicine in the early 1920s at the University of Leningrad where she met a young electrical engineering student, Paul Schlusser. He was descended from German traders who had settled in the newly established Russian city of St Petersburg, in territory annexed from Sweden during the reign of Catherine the Great. This port city, located on a major Baltic Sea trade route, was known as Russia’s Window to Europe. The Schlusser firm, which celebrated its centenary in 1905, was closed by the Bolsheviks in 1917. Wishing to continue their studies and work in Berlin, the young couple were married in 1927 in a traditional Orthodox church, satisfying Natalia’s mother as well as the requirements of the Soviet government. The USSR would not grant exit visas to both partners in a marriage, but since the church ceremony was not recognised by the Communist state they were able to leave together. In Berlin Natalia specialised in bacteriology at the prestigious Robert Koch Institute while Paul gained valuable work experience. Berlin in the 1920s was a vibrant and sophisticated cultural centre and the couple enjoyed masked balls, theatre performances and nightclubs. In 1929 they moved to Karlsruhe for Paul to enrol in a PhD. By 1936 there were three children, Svetlana, Vasily (William) and Tatyana. The couple had kept in contact with their families in the Soviet Union, and Natalia’s family were lucky to survive the Great Purge between 1936 and 1938. This was a campaign of political repression and persecution of perceived enemies at all levels, from peasants to the intelligentsia, government officials to military leaders. There was widespread surveillance,

imprisonment and arbitrary executions with victims numbering at the very least in the hundreds of thousands. In the weeks before Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Natalia's sister-in-law wrote to warn of the culture of deep suspicion and reprisals that had set in under the Stalinist government and advised that they cease contact unless those left behind inititated it. It would be nearly 35 years before contact was made again. In 1939 the youngest child, Eugene, was born in Frankfurt just before World War II broke out. This beautiful mediaeval city, like many in Europe, was flattened by heavy bombing. Natalia and the children escaped to the rural town of Allendorf and though no longer working as a doctor her skills were well respected by the local community; she was called in to assist when planes were shot down. Paul’s wider family was fragmented by Europe’s political boundaries, with a brother working for the German army as a Russian interpreter, a cousin working for the British Secret Service and others in Paris, Switzerland and England. After the war the family spent two fearful years in Frankfurt as new borders were drawn across Europe. Rumours abounded of Russians being forcibly repatriated from Europe and sent to Siberia. The family was fortunate to find itself in the US zone of Germany, avoiding this fate but not the severe food shortages that followed the war. Their survival was aided by assistance sent from the family that had billeted Natalia and the children in Allendorf. Although keen to leave Europe they weren‘t eligible for assisted passage. Technically they were not displaced persons; they were illegally out of the Soviet Union but as they had left in 1927 were not considered refugees from the 1917 revolution. Paul’s British cousin mailed visas for the family from the British zone of Germany but they never arrived, presumably stolen in the post. Rejected by the USA, Canada and Venezuela, the family was finally accepted into Australia’s postwar migration intake. They kept their plans top secret to stop word reaching Soviet ears. Unable to tell their friends, they simply disappeared in the early hours of the morning when the visas came through. In grief over the loss of Paul, the family finally left for Australia in October 1950

along with 1,370 others on the war-surplus US transport ship. Men and women were segregated and all able-bodied passengers were required to work, Svetlana in the office and William chipping rust off bathroom walls. Most suffered terrible seasickness during a harsh passage across the Bay of Biscay and a storm in the Indian Ocean. A small group organised a daily bulletin named New Hope, circulated on board. It included a regular column that told the history of the ports and countries that they passed. Although bound for Melbourne, the new immigrants were disembarked at Fremantle and told that the ship was needed to transport troops to Korea. Destination unknown, they were sent by train across a landscape that was a far cry from the fields, towns and cities of Europe, to the small town of Northam where all aboard were placed in ex-army barracks. Here they lived for two years in rooms set up for soldiers, with rows upon rows of beds and little privacy. A Russian doctor found a position for Natalia as an assistant at the camp hospital, since her medical qualifications were not recognised in Australia. With her savings and a small inheritance from Paul, she was able to purchase a lease on a milk bar in West Perth in 1955. In 1960, aged 60, Natalia courageously moved to Sydney to re-qualify as a medical doctor at the University of New South Wales. She set up a small private practice in Cabramatta and bought a house overlooking the sea at Curl Curl, fulfilling a long-held dream. Her children all found success in Australia in engineering, teaching, media, photography and private business. In 1984 there was a phone call from a friend in Sweden who had replied to an advertisement in a Russian-language newspaper, seeking contact with Natalia and her family. The fear of KGB reprisals for defectors remained throughout Natalia’s life, and she was sceptical that her Soviet family had survived World War II. But finally she made contact with a niece who was searching for the family that had simply disappeared, confirming the Kamenzev family’s survival. Natalia passed away in 1985 but close family contact has been maintained ever since. In September 2011 the names of Natalia and her children were unveiled on the Welcome Wall. 

clockwise from far left: Paul and Natalia in Paris after registering their marriage at the Soviet embassy, before embarking on their honeymoon to Switzerland in 1927. All photographs are reproduced courtesy of Eugene Schlusser. Natalia at the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin 1927. Boarding the migrant ship USNS General M L Hersey in Bremerhaven, October 1950. On board and bound for Australia, October 1950: L to R Natalia, William, Eugene, Tatyana and Svetlana. Natalia buys her first Australian home in the Perth suburb of Subiaco, 1956.

The Welcome Wall 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 place your story on the online database at So please don’t hesitate to call our staff during business hours with any enquiries on 02 9298 3777.

Signals 98 march to may 2012


Collections L i f e jac k e t – w e a r i t Lifejackets save lives. But a lifejacket will not save your life if you are not wearing it. Remember:

Extending timber cabin bed

• You must carry a lifejacket for every person on board • Children under 12 must wear a lifejacket at most times • Wear one at times of heightened risk such as crossing a coastal bar • PWC drivers and passengers must wear them at all times

A well-to-do passenger travelling to Australia during the 19th century might have used this rare, extending cabin bed, says Kieran Hosty whose duties include curator of ship technology.

• Don’t just have lifejackets on board, make sure you and your passengers wear them.

MAR0270/UC 08/11

For more information see our website or call the Info line.

This is a rare representation of an early cabin bed and an evocative example of how people of financial independence travelled to Australia in the 1850s, in some degree of comfort. It’s an extending timber cabin bed consisting of a beechwood frame, baltic pine slats and runners, birch canework and back panels, manufactured about 1830–50. The six turned legs can be unscrewed and are finished with brass castors embossed ‘Loach and Clarke – Collins Patent’. Wealthy passengers supplied their own furniture to fit out their cabin for the journey. However elegant and comfortable, such furniture needed also to be practical, light and compact. Campaign furniture or knockdown furniture, of which this cabin bed is a perfect example, was designed to be easily assembled and quickly folded up without the use of nails, tacks or tools, for use by travelling armies, surveyors or explorers. But it also needed to be comfortable and attractive to ensure the military, professional or commercial traveller all the luxuries of home while journeying to and around distant lands. Such pieces were designed to look like regular Georgian household furniture and were constructed by some of the most eminent cabinetmakers of the day. The demand for this style of furniture increased as the British Empire expanded. 56

Signals 98 march to may 2012

Gentlemen and their ladies in the Georgian and later the Victorian periods would go to great expense to demonstrate and maintain their station in life, and because issues of class and respectability were taken very seriously, makers of this type of furniture were able to flourish. By the early 1800s established British furniture companies such as Thomas Shearer, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton, Thomas Chippendale, William Ince and John Mayhew were designing a variety of portable, collapsible furniture pieces including stools, trunks, wardrobes, baths, tables, chairs and beds. Along with these went all the accoutrements suitable for a gentleman including ice chests, wine coolers, rifle and cutlass holders, portable hangers and boot and shoe racks. Manufacturers could design or convert virtually any household item into a suitable portable unit. Such furniture lent itself perfectly to sea travel. The rigours of a four to sixmonth voyage were harsh on ordinary domestic household furniture. Even the largest cabins were generally no more than three metres square and usually came unfurnished. The primary item of furniture for any cabin passenger in the 19th century was some form of bed. Knockdown ship’s beds were made to be shortened during the day and used as a chair or settee, extending at night

to full-sized beds. Hanley Northcote in Colonial Furniture of New Zealand (1971) notes several examples of single ship-cabin beds in the collection of the Canterbury Museum that were brought out to New Zealand on board the Charlotte Jane in 1850. Furniture makers and designers extolled the ease with which their furniture could be used on board ship. Morgan and Sanders, cabin outfitters to Lord Nelson, illustrate in an 1810 trade card a range of portable army and navy equipment, including a sofa bed ‘contrived on purpose for Captains Cabins, & Ladies or Gentlemen going to the East or West Indies’, which formed ‘an elegant Sofa, and may be transformed with great ease into a complete Four Post Bed, with Bedding Furniture, &c’. Noted campaign furniture designer Pocock claimed in one of his advertisements that his patent sofa beds ‘made comfortable and convenient Sofa and Bed, suitable either for Camp or Barracks, or on Board a Ship, or even for an elegant Drawing-Room; and yet are very portable by folding into a very small Compass for the Convenience of Carriage’. He added that ‘they have been highly approved by distinguished Officers in the Army and Navy’. 

I n f o l i n e 13 12 5 6 MAR0270_Lifejacket 128x178 ad_v1_FA.indd 1

w w w. m a r i t i m e. n s w.g ov. a u 21/07/11 11:27 AM

Signals 98 march to may 2012




The sea, as central as can be It is important to analyse how the sea and history have been embedded in contemporary culture, how the sea figures in the way that we see the past – and the present

The Novel and the Sea by Margaret Cohen. Princeton University Press, 2010. 328pp. $39.50 (USD)

The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts. Island Press, 2007. 495pp. $19.95 (USD)

The Sea; A Cultural History by John Mack. Reaktion Books, 2011. 272pp. $35 (USD)

Some literary critics have recently argued that the days of the sea as a literary metaphor are over. The end of the age of sail, the containerisation of shipping and the automation of ports have apparently turned the sea itself into an ‘old sailor’s tale’ – a terrain of literary nostalgia that has been shunted aside into sentimental films and maritime museums. But in a 2011 book Seaing [sic] through the Past: Postmodern Histories and the Maritime Metaphor in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction, Joanna Rostek sets out to prove this wrong, arguing that obituary notices about the sea are somewhat premature and that it has remained ‘firmly rooted in the Anglophone cultural imagination’. Rostek goes a step further and claims in fact that, in a notable proportion of contemporary English-language fiction, the past and history are metaphorically conceived of in terms of the sea. She argues that viewing history through the maritime imagination actually gained momentum, not only in English-language literature but in the broader culture, during the 1990s and 2000s. Three recent books reviewed here, dealing with the sea both in novels and history, support Rostek’s suggestion. In the first of them, The Novel and the Sea, Margaret Cohen tackles a daunting task – 58

Signals 98 march to may 2012

looking at how fiction has shaped our conception of the sea. From Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe to authors Herman Melville, Jules Verne and Joseph Conrad – to name a few – Cohen traces the associations of prose fiction and the ocean since the early 18th century. She suggests that literary critics have ignored the significant and long-lasting influence of maritime adventure fiction on the broader culture. Cohen’s work is as adventurous as its subject matter – consider her assertion that ‘jury rigging’ as a form of ‘creative improvisation’ is the supreme example of maritime craft and skills. She suggests that the genre of science fiction was a re-working of adventures at sea and that detective and spy fiction built up on sea fiction’s problem-solving devices. While such claims may be arguable, The Novel and the Sea does make an eloquent and compelling case for the centrality of the ship and the sea to the modern literary imagination. Callum Roberts’ book, The Unnatural History of the Sea, argues that we need to look more closely at the history of the sea as one of human exploitation of the ocean. A professor of marine conservation, Roberts traces the origins

of intensive fishing from the middle ages to the great age of whaling in the 19th century, and then to the modern trawling and industrial fishing era. Through a collection of amazing and always interesting anecdotes and stories, Roberts focuses on how the sea has been, and in many ways is still seen as, an inexhaustible supply of food and other products. He argues that there is no story of the sea without the story of our (over) exploitation of it. Roberts compiles historical accounts from such diverse fishing sources as merchants, naturalists and even pirates. One of his earliest stories sets the tone. The German naturalist Georg Steller relates the slaughter of hundreds of sea cows by a 1741 Russian scientific expedition, for their survival while trapped on Bering Island in the Bering Strait. The sea cows had never seen humans and were easy prey. By 1768, not a single sea cow was left on the island. Such anecdotes of over-fishing in the pre-modern period are important as records from a time before empirical data and quantitative analysis of fishery stocks. They demonstrate how research into the minutiae of historical records can prove valuable in contemporary studies of marine life’s sustainability and

survival. For example, Roberts highlights observations on the disruption and loss of sea grass habitats due to human activity well before the 19th century. His history has some important messages for the present and future; it is in fact a call to action. In a third sea-study, The Sea: A Cultural History, anthropologist and professor of art John Mack avoids chronicling the great literary canons of the sea voyagers or creating a pastiche of the grand artworks of the oceans. Rather, he turns us toward more banal and often overlooked histories such as the superstitions of sailors or the politics of mutinies. Western maritime literature and history have been implicated in a triumphalist project of settling the oceans in the process of colonisation and trade. But, as Mack argues, this is not the sum total of the maritime in our cultures. While he acknowledges the great European navigators, they are described in the context of other navigators such as the people of Mabuiag Island in Torres Strait who have ‘seamarks’ in open water rather than rocks and islands plotted on maps. The usual suspects of maritime history such as Colombus and Cook stand alongside the Indigenous Australian seafarers. In Mack’s view, they all suffuse

the sea with spiritual vigour and create oceans replete with cultural reference – if in quite different ways. Mack is not interested in the more conventional accounts of the history of people and the sea, such as the technology of ships and boats. His theme is ‘the creative and imaginative implications of being on the sea’, or how ‘people inhabit the sea’. From the Bajau Laut (sea gypsies) of South-East Asia who live almost entirely on boats or in houses raised on stilts above salt water estuaries, to the microcosm of society and the unaccustomed multiculturalism that was life on board 18th-century ships, as experienced by Jack Tar, Mack explores the human experience of the sea rather than its material and imperial histories. Mack deflates the idea of the sea being the ‘quintessential wilderness’ and sees the oceans as having a critical agency as a ‘dynamic engine of historical change.’ Mack’s impressive if at moments turgid work breathes new life into the genre of cultural history – and into maritime history. Much of it has been told in other histories, but Mack brings these together in his own themes: Concepts of the Sea; Navigation and the Arts of Performance; Ships as Societies; Beaches; and The Sea on the Land. Overall, it is an intriguing

and most readable high point in what these books all suggest is a recent literary and historical turn back towards the sea. As the oceans now become our unexplored ‘final frontiers’ and are increasingly regarded as critical sites in climate change, it is important to analyse how the sea and history have been embedded in contemporary culture, how the sea figures in the way that we see the past – and the present. As climate change knows no borders, the fact that the maritime metaphor remains prevalent in contemporary fiction dealing with history and the past gains importance. The seas are one of the few remaining marginal spaces, still largely unknown; constituting our porous borders, they are increasingly contested sites. They deserve interrogation, rather than a nostalgic ‘museumification’. These three works remind us that the sea is still, and is arguably growing as, part of our cultural imagination. It offers a wealth of historical information and insight that we need to continue to consider, or – as Callum Roberts notes about over-fishing – ignore at our peril. 

Stephen Gapps, curator environment, industry and shipping

Signals 98 march to may 2012



Welcome the replica of HMB Endeavour back from its epic circumnavigation of Australia.



10:50 AM








Thursday Island


Darwin Cairns Townsville

Broome Exmouth












Geraldton Fremantle Bunbury

Port Lincoln Albany

Adelaide Melbourne


Sydney Eden


From April 2011 to May 2012 the magnificent replica of James Cook’s HM Bark Endeavour is visiting major and regional ports around Australia. Visit her in port or online. And join our welcome-home festivities on 21 May. Details page 33. Information Telephone 02 9298 3859 Freecall 1800 720 577

HMB Endeavour Around Australia 2011-2012 Voyage of a Lifetime PROUDLY SPONSORED BY


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Signals 98 march to may 2012


They'll have you laughing, gasping and cheering.





Currents Farewell to an old hand

Share in the excitement when you meet our Zoo Keepers and the magnificent animals in their care. There are 20 talks and shows a day, all free with admission, and each has a tale of conservation that will move you.You’ll be amazed how much there is to do and see at Taronga Zoo.

Buy tickets and plan your visit at * Free access with purchase of Zoo admission tickets.

Final farewells to retiring director Mary-Louise Williams took place as Signals went to press. Mary-Louise was director from 1999 until 14 February 2012. She’s seen here with Margaret Anderson and Shar Jones, friends and colleagues from a lifetime dedicated to museums. Council and staff presented the director with this half-model of

Akarana, the historic gaff cutter designed and built by Robert Logan in 1888 and presented to the museum as New Zealand’s Bicentennial Gift in 1988, the year Mary-Louise joined the museum. The vessel’s arrival, and a major project to return its hull to its original 1888 configuration, were overseen by Mary-Louise in her earlier roles at the

museum as senior curator and assistant director. The model was built by former ANMM staff member and heritage shipwright Simon Sadubin, using New Zealand kauri and teak trim. The portrait by Sydney artist Sue Cowman was commissioned by staff as parting gesture. Photographer J Mellefont/ANMM

Intensify your experience. Imagine a 3D/HD TV crafted by design house Jacob Jensen that marries leading design with leading innovations. Innovations like Toshiba’s revolutionary CEVO-Engine, optimising colour and brightness, meaning you will watch the truest, richest pictures available on television. Coupled with 2D to 3D conversion, personal video recorder and mobile interactivity, the latest WL series makes the television come alive. That’s Toshiba Thinking. For more details visit

Museum sponsors

Partners in the HMB Endeavour circumnavigation 2011–2012

Corporate Members

Major sponsors

Founding patrons

Significant voyage partners

Austereo Blackmores Ltd Nine Entertainment Lloyd’s Register Asia Olbia Pty Ltd SBS Sydney Catchment Authority

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 National Australia Bank PG, TG & MG Kailis P&O Nedlloyd Ltd Telstra Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Westpac Banking Corporation Zim Shipping Australasia

Toshiba The History Channel Perth 2011 (ISAF) Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

The program provides Corporate Members privileged entry to the museum’s unique environment for corporate hospitality. Three membership levels each provide a range of benefits and services:

Project sponsors ACP Magazines Take 5 APN Outdoor Coral Sea Wines Orion Expeditions Qube Logistics Rova Taxis Silentworld Foundation Sydney by Sail Wilhelmsen Investment Group

Foundation sponsor ANZ


Signals 98 march to may 2012

Voyage partners Caltex Carnival Australia Australian Maritime Safety Authority NSW Maritime Defence Maritime Services Pty Ltd Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Media partners The West Australian Austereo Channel Nine

Voyage supporter Seaswift Pty Ltd

Admiral three-year membership $10,000 one-year membership $4,000 Commodore three-year membership $5,000 one-year membership $1,850 Captain three-year membership $1,800 one-year membership $700

Captain Memberships Asiaworld Shipping Services Pty Ltd Australia Japan Cable Ltd Defence National Storage-RPA Google Australia HMAS Creswell HMAS Kuttabul HMAS Newcastle HMAS Vampire Association Maritime Union of Australia (NSW Branch) Maritime Mining & Power Credit Union Maruschka Loupis & Associates Penrith Returned Services League Sydney Ports Corporation Regimental Trust Fund, Victoria Barracks Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises Svitzer Australasia

Signals 98 march to may 2012


shop online at Hundreds of books something for everyone from key rings to ship models and boating clothes friendly service mail order Members discounts! Open 9.30 am to 5 pm seven days a week Phone 02 9298 3698 or fax orders to 02 9298 3675 or email

Titanic Tragedy The dean of ocean liner historians uncovers fascinating and unknown aspects of Titanic sinking on her maiden voyage. In impeccable prose John Maxtone-Graham discusses salient, provocative and rarely investigated components of the story, including dramatic survivors' accounts, the role of newly invented wireless telecommunication, the construction at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast and its ramifications, and the dawn rendezvous with the rescue ship Carpathia. $35.00 Members $31.50 Farewell Titanic: Her Final Legacy On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, prominent researcher-scientist Charles Pellegrino offers a final chance to see the ship before it disappears forever. The Titanic was the biggest, most luxurious passenger ship the world had ever seen. Since she sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, the public has been spellbound. Now the Titanic is about to disappear again: its structure is set to collapse in the next few years. $38.00 Members $ 34.20

Signals 98 march to may 2012

Swainston’s Fishes of Australia Roger Swainston's breathtaking artwork makes the Complete Illustrated Guide a fascinating overview of the extraordinary diversity of Australia’s marine and freshwater fishes. More than 1,500 remarkable illustrations portray every family of fishes ever recorded in Australian waters, with names, taxonomy and biology. $130.00 Members $117.00 Shipwright 2012 The third edition of Model Shipwright journal’s full-colour annual highlights ‘scratch-built’ model shipbuilding, with related articles on restoration, archaeology, historical research and marine art. Twenty articles illustrated by modelmakers’ own photographs, archival plans, prints and artworks. $65.00 Members $58.50

How To Survive the Titanic This is the strange and fascinating story of the owner of the Titanic, J Bruce Ismay, the man who jumped ship. Frances Wilson spins a new epic: when the ship hit the iceberg on 14 April 1912 and a thousand men prepared to die, the ship’s owner and inheritor of the White Star fortune jumped into a lifeboat with the women and children and rowed away to safety. As Wilson demonstrates, we all have our own Titanics, and we all need to find ways of surviving them. $33.00 Members $29.70

Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Peter Fitzsimons’s latest focuses on Douglas Mawson, an Australian original from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration. This book brings to life Mawson’s extraordinary feats in Antarctica, in tandem with those other giants of the age, Scott of the Antarctic, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen. The climax is the story of Mawson’s survival against all odds, after seeing his rescue ship disappear over the horizon. $49.95 Members $44.96

Titanic A Passengers Guide A passenger’s guide to the world’s most famous ship. Now you don’t have to be Robert Ballard to see her for yourself. Titanic A Passengers Guide is a unique guide to all the aspects of the ship, incorporating authentic period literature. Tour her from stem to stern. This book evokes the glamour of the age and the sumptuous luxury of the ship’s fittings. $25.00 Members $22.50

Dead Men’s Silver Brought up on tales of pirates and treasure hunters, Hugh Edwards never expected to handle ‘pieces of eight’ himself. But one exciting day off the West Australian coast he did, after he and his team located treasure from the wrecked Dutch East Indiaman Vergulde Draeck. Nearly 50 years later Edwards has explored shipwrecks around the world, working with some of the world’s most successful divers in some of the most beautiful or stormy places on Earth. $37.00 Members $33.30


The Submarine Six: Australian Naval Heroes In the 1990s the Royal Australian Navy broke with tradition, and for the first time named six submarines after six naval heroes. These were men whose warrior exploits stand alongside those of any from other nations. But they have been largely unrecognised, save for those submarines. $45.00 Members $40.50

20th birthday mug, guide book, note pad and postcards Special Members price $25.00

Submarine ball-point pen for sub-memos $8.95 Members $8.06

Glass wave sculpture. Each piece is individual so colours vary $39.95 Members $35.96

Re-usable ANMM KeepCup for a sustaining yet sustainable coffee fix $19.95 Members $ 17.96

Learn the science of cleaning and recycing water $33.00 Members $29.70

80-page instruction, 50 sheets of pre-printed origami paper $20.00 Members $18.00

12 types of boats, great for bathtub, suits ages 3 to 90 $20.00 Members $18.00

Submarine tea diffuser takes a dive in your teacup $18.95 Members $17.06

Diver ice cube tray for really cool drinks $15.00 Members $13.50

Our own HMAS Onslow mini model $20.00 Members $18.00

Captain T shirt lets you pull rank $35.00 Members $31.50

Brass ships clock and optional stand $270 Members $243 (Stand $49.95 Members 44.96)

Australian National Maritime Museum Open daily except Christmas Day 9.30 am to 5 pm (6 pm in January) Darling Harbour Sydney NSW Australia Phone 02 9298 3777 Fax 02 9298 3780 ANMM council Chairman Mr Peter Dexter am Director Mr Kevin Sumption Councillors Mr John Coombs Rear Admiral Stephen Gilmore am csc ran Mr Peter Harvie Ms Robyn Holt Dr Julia Horne Ms Ann Sherry ao Mr Shane Simpson am Ms Eva Skira Mr Neville Stevens ao Signals ISSN 1033-4688 Editor Jeffrey Mellefont 02 9298 3647 Assistant editor Penny Crino Staff photographer Andrew Frolows Design and production Austen Kaupe Printed in Australia by Bluestar Print Advertising enquiries Jeffrey Mellefont 02 9298 3647 Deadline end of January, April, July, October for issues March, June, September, December Signals back issues Back issues $4 10 back issues $30 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 Australian Government Contact us at GPO Box 5131 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia      

Connect with us online

Signals, Issue 98  

The Australian National Maritime Museum's quarterly journal Signals.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you