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Sir Robert Archdale Parkhill inspects a ship's figurehead at Snapper Island, Sydney

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Sir Robert Archdale Parkhill inspects a ship's figurehead at Snapper Island, Sydney

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This photograph depicts Federal Minister for Defence Sir Robert Archdale Parkhill (in a bowler hat), inspecting a ship's figurehead at Snapper Island in Sydney on 20 July 1935. Minister Parkhill presented badges to the cadets for their part in building the depot as a national memorial to HMAS SYDNEY I, which had been decommissioned in 1928 and scrapped in 1932. The figurehead came from the iron bark GWRTHEYRN CASTLE, built 1876. This ship was acquired by Scott Fell in 1922 and converted to use as a coal hulk in Sydney in 1923. It was still in use in 1929. The figurehead was part of the Leonard E Forsythe Collection displayed at the Sydney Training Depot on Snapper Island. Australian examples of ship's figureheads and bow decorations are extremely rare, and in 2008, the ANMM acquired the figurehead as part of the National Maritime Collection ( http://emuseum.anmm.gov.au/code/emuseum.asp?style=browse¤trecord=1&page=search&profile=objects&searchdesc=00047422&searchstring=ANMMQuickSearch/,/contains/,/00047422/,/false/,/true&newvalues=1&newstyle=single&newcurrentrecord=1 ) ...This photo is part of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Samuel J. Hood Studio collection. Sam Hood (1872-1953) was a Sydney photographer with a passion for ships. His 60-year career spanned the romantic age of sail and two world wars. The photos in the collection were taken mainly in Sydney and Newcastle during the first half of the 20th century. ..The ANMM undertakes research and accepts public comments that enhance the information we hold about images in our collection. This record has been updated accordingly. ..Photographer: Samuel J. Hood Studio Collection..Object no. 00024971

The tradition of decorating the bow of a ship with a sculptural figure or relief has existed since ancient times. In ancient Rome the bow decoration was called rostra, in ancient Greece - caryatid. Spread over the bowsprit and pointing forward, it was a symbol of the ship, the pride of ship owners and captains. When the ship served its term, the figure was removed, and it decorated the walls of buildings, columns, the house of the owner or captain. Subsequently, the bow figures ended up in maritime museums.

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Date

1935
place

Location

1A Queen Victoria St, Drummoyne NSW 2047, Australia-33.84882, 151.16385
Google Map of -33.848819444444445, 151.16385
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Source

Australian National Maritime Museum
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samuel j hood collection
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