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Walking stick with concealed blade

Date: 1930-1980
Overall: 950 x 40 x 40 mm, 0.32 kg
Medium: Silver, brass, ebony
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Elaine Beeham
Object Name: Walking stick
Object No: 00036277

User Terms

    This walking stick belonged to Eric Beeham, a merchant mariner and Royal Australian Naval Reserve officer whose career spanned from the 1930s until the 1980s. It is reputed to conceal a sword; to date the museum staff have not been able to reveal the blade.
    SignificanceThis walking stick is part of an extensive collection relating to the career of merchant mariner and naval officer Eric Beeham. The collection provides a comprehensive record of Beeham's career, and shows the culture of merchant mariners in the material Beeham chose to keep and the items he took to sea.
    HistoryEric Beeham was born in Sydney on 14th April 1917, and as a teenager he joined the Mosman Bay Company of the Navy League Sea Cadets. In 1936 he went to sea as a cadet with P&O working on the RMS MALOJA and the RMS STRATHNAVER. He became 4th officer on the RMS RANCHI in 1928 and subsequently worked on the STRATHEDEN.

    Eric Beeham became involved in the Second World War when the STRATHNAVER was commissioned as a troop ship. He qualified through the Merchant Navy Officers' Defence Course in London and was appointed as a Sub-Lieutenant, minesweeping around the Australian coast on HMAS SAMUEL BENBOW, HMAS WARREGO, HMAS WARRAWEE and HMAS NAMBUCCA. He subsequently commanded the patrol boat NEREUS. Beeham also served on the HMAS COOLEBAR, HMAS KANIMBLA, HMS SPRINGDALE in the Pacific, New Guinea, Milne Bay and Columbo, and on the aircraft carrier HMS RAJAH in the Mediterranean, Indian Oceanic and Atlantic. Beeham passed his masters examination in 1945 while on HMS VICTORY in London. He served on HMS ROYAL ULSTERMAN for the Normandy landing and on several ships demobilising troops at the end of the war.

    Beeham left the Navy in 1948 and returned to work as a merchant mariner, working as second officer on SS CURLOSS between Australia and Britain, becoming chief officer of that ship. He subsequently worked as chief officer with the India Steamship Company, the Lyle Steam Company, J. Marr and Son, Newcastle and Hunter River Steam Ship Company and the Australian Oriental Line. Captain Beeham worked on the SS CHANGTE from 1953 to 1960 and the TAIPING for one year.

    From 1962 to 1982 he worked as a pilot for the Maritime Services Board in Newcastle, Ballina, Yamba, Coffs Harbour, Port Kembla, Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour. He continued to serve in the naval reserves.

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