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Diary of the Raymond Oswald Poole

Date: 1933
Overall: 260 x 210 mm, 0.84 kg
Medium: Paper, ink.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Bob Poole
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Diary
Object No: 00039421

User Terms

    Raymond Poole's illustrated diary traces his experiences as a seaman during a voyage from Australia to England on the ARCHIBALD RUSSELL. The ship was one of the famous wheat-carrying 'windjammers' that raced each other around Cape Horn. Written in seaman's slang, the diary provides a record of shipboard life, detailing horrendous storms, gnawing hunger, illness, injury, and the work of the crew.
    SignificanceThe dairy is a unique personal account of life on board a grain ship. It broadens our understanding of the experience of seamen, and is an important document recording a particular history of the wheat trade between Australia and England, at a time when wheat was one of Australia’s main exports.
    HistoryThe diary documents Raymond Poole's experience as a seaman on a voyage from Australia to England with a cargo of wheat in the early to mid 20th century, when wheat was one of Australia's main export crops.

    Poole wrote in the vernacular common to seamen of this period, describing shipboard life and the multicultural nature of the ship's crew. There were atrocious storms rounding Cape Horn, periods of extreme hunger and putrid food, and rampant illnesses and injuries endured by the crew. The crew's work, including the watch, taking the wheel, cleaning, repairing the sails and rigging, are also described in detail. Further to this, the dairy illustrates the technology used on commercial vessels at this time.

    Raymond Poole was born in Fiji, where his parents were Methodist missionaries, on 29 June 1910 and he died in December 1996. He joined the Merchant Navy as a teenager and served on a number of coastal vessels in Australia in the late 1920s and early 1930s. During the late 1930s and early 1940s he worked on other sailing vessels overseas and joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in about 1942. With the RAN he crewed on Fairmile high speed boats in New Guinea until the end of World War II. After the war he worked in the Quarantine Service as a Launch Coxswain.

    The four masted barque ARCHIBALD RUSSELL made annual voyages to Australia from 1924 to 1939, and was particularly active in the grain trade from South Australia. Built in 1905 by Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Co, Greenock, at the cost of £20,750, it was one of many ships carrying wheat for John Hardie & Sons, Glasgow.
    Additional Titles


    Web title: Diary of the Raymond Oswald Poole

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