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Photograph of Oskar Speck in his canoe

Date: 1939
Overall: 50 x 73 mm, 0.001 kg
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Wendy Baldock
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00037629

User Terms

    This photograph depicts German adventurer Oskar Speck rowing in his kayak. It was taken at Orokolo, Papua New Guinea in 1939. This photograph is thought to have been taken by Madeleine Dewdney or her missionary husband Stan Dewdney during their sojourn in Papua New Guinea.
    SignificanceThis comprehensive collection documents in detail, the remarkable story of Oskar Speck and his epic voyage to Australia prior to World War II.
    HistoryOskar Speck (1905 - 1995) was a German adventurer who, in the 1930s, paddled his kayak SUNNSCHIEN (SUNSHINE) from Europe to Australia. He departed from Ulm in Germany on 18 June 1932, paddling down the Danube at the start of a 50,000km voyage to Australia. His voyage of seven years and four months saw him stopping at ports in Germany, Austria, Hungary, former Yugoslavia, former Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran Jaya, Papua New Guinea and Australia (Saibai Island). He arrived on Saibai Island near Papua New Guinea in the Northern Torres Strait on 20 September 1939.

    Madeleine (Madie) Dewdney was the wife of missionary Stan Dewdney. Stan had already been Minister of the Orokolo district in Papua New Guinea for three years when he married Madie in 1937. Stan met Oskar when he went to investigate a report that a stranger in a damaged canoe had landed nearby. Stan arranged for Oskar and the canoe to be brought to Orokolo where the rudder was repaired. Oskar stayed two days before setting off again. It was shortly after this that Oskar landed on Thursday Island. As Speck was travelling on a German passport he was arrested as an enemy alien on his arrival on the Island. Speck was detained at the Tatura internment camp in Victoria and after escaping and being recaptured he was sent to the Loveday Internment camps in South Australia for the duration of the war.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: OSKAR SPECK IN HIS CANOE

    Web title: Photograph of Oskar Speck in his canoe

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