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Toy skiff

Date: early 20th Century
Overall: 30 x 300 x 80 mm
Medium: Wood, cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Toy skiff
Object No: 00038574
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This simple model boat with its yellow painted wooden hull and cotton sails was made by 'Wee' Georgie Robinson for his sons when they were children.
    SignificanceThis model boat is a reminder of the popular recreational activity of model boat racing in the first half of the 20th century. It also reflects the life and achievements of its builder 'Wee' Georgie Robinson, a prominent waterfront identity on Sydney Harbour.
    HistoryAt the end of the 19th century, while 18-foot skiffs were sailing on Sydney Harbour, people young and old were playing with model boats on the ponds and lakes of Sydney. The newly landscaped Centennial Park and Moore Park featured waterways which were idea for model boats, and crowds with their toy vessels became a regular weekend feature. In the 1900's, model yachtsman became more ambitious and began developing model skiffs suitable for sailing on the open water of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. Clubs opened all over Sydney, and racing model skiffs soon became fiercely competitive. The races had a large spectator following until the mid-1950s when the racing of model skiffs in Sydney ceased.

    The maker of this model boat, 'Wee' Georgie Robinson is best known as the designer, builder, owner and skipper of the champion skiff BRITANNIA throughout its working life. Robinson was a foreman shipwright at Cockatoo Island, living on the Balmain waterfront his entire life. Like his father, Robinson became a boat builder and 18-foot skiff skipper, building his first boat in 1913. He built other craft including his own work launch, a yacht, a series of dinghies, as well as model boats for his children.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Toy skiff

    Web title: Model sailing boat

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