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Diorama of the four-masted barque ARCHIBALD RUSSELL flanked by the smaller craft STAR and GAELIC

Date: c 1920
Overall: Height: 550 mm, width: 1000 mm, depth: 165 mm
Medium: Wood, glass, paint, paper, ropes
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Freda Henderson
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00039389

User Terms

    This diorama shows the four-masted barque ARCHIBALD RUSSELL and two smaller vessels, STAR and GAELIC, all suspended on plaster of paris waves with a painted blue background. ARCHIBALD RUSSELL is a half model glued to the back of the diorama while the other ships are complete.
    SignificanceThis diorama of ship models includes the iconic windjammer ARCHIBALD RUSSELL, one of the key vessels of the Great Grain Races between Australia and Europe.
    HistoryThe diorama shows the ARCHIBALD RUSSELL as a half model glued to the back of the case with the two smaller vessels in the foreground. This vessel was a key player in the Australian grain races during an era when wheat-bearing windjammers raced around Cape Horn in an attempt to record the fastest voyage.

    ARCHIBALD RUSSELL was a four-masted barque built in 1905. It was the last steel, square rigged sailing ship to be made in the United Kingdom. It was constructed by Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Co at Greenock and was scrapped in 1949. ARCHIBALD RUSSELL was active in carrying wheat from Geelong to Europe during the 1920s and was owned by Gustaf Erikson, Mariehamn.

    After World War I the majority of deep sea sailing vessels were scrapped. Uniquely Gustaf Erikson began purchasing these vessels at cheap prices and used them to compete with other ships on longer trade routes. He purchased ARCHIBALD RUSSELL in 1923 for £5,000.

    All of Eriksson’s ships were eventually incorporated into the Australian grain trade and after loading wheat in ports such as Spencer Gulf they took part in competitions to be the fastest vessel to return to Europe, in the so-called 'Great Grain Races'. In 1929 ARCHIBALD RUSSELL made the fastest passage out of 14 competing windjammers.

    The ARCHIBALD RUSSELL continued to operate on the run between Australia and Europe until 1939.The British Government detained the vessel as a food store ship in 1941 and it was later scrapped in 1949.

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