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Ship's helm clock

Date: 1946
Overall: 230 x 570 x 550 mm, 1940 g
Medium: Wood, metal, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of William Maxwell Beaumont Small
Object Name: Clock
Object No: 00039851

User Terms

    A wooden clock in the shape of a ship's wheel presented to William 'Bill' Maxwell Beaumont Small by the Volunteer Coastal Patrol members on 30 April 1946. At the bottom a plaque reads 'Presented to the Commanding Officer Skipper WMB Small from the Officers and Men of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol 30/4/46'
    SignificanceThis clock relates to the Volunteer Coastal Patrol, the oldest voluntary sea rescue organsiation in Australia, and the
    involvement of Bill Small as a member from 1939 and later as the Patrol Commanding Officer from 1943 to 1947. It illustrates the importance of the VCP during WWII and the post-war period as an organisation working in conjuction with the Australian Police and Navy to ensure coastal security.
    HistoryThe Volunteer Coastal Patrol, VCP, is the oldest sea rescue organisation in Australia. It was established in 1937 from the belief that an organisation of volunteer yachtsmen would be beneficial in a country with a 1,200 nautical mile coastline.
    The organisation began with a nucleus of 12 boat owners whose objective was to bring together yachtsmen and those interested in small ships and encourage them to undergo a course of training so that their services would be of value to the authorities in rescue situations and to train and educate these yachtsmen so that Australia's waterways could be made safer for those who ventured upon them in small craft.
    When WWII was declared in 1939 members of the VCP assisted the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Water Police and Maritime Services Board in the defence of Sydney Harbour. Oil depots, wharves, troopships, dockyards, the State ammunition dump and Bantry Bay were all patrolled by the VCP until the war's end. In 1940 the VCP had some 500 vessels and 2,000 members on its register.
    The VCP continued to operate in the post-war period in a purely voluntary capacity, constituting an important element in national security. Its objectives were rewritten to make the organisation of value to the country in times of emergency as well as peace, by making waterways safer for yachtsmen and by setting an example to all those on the water.
    In 1974 the VCP was bestowed the 'Royal' prefix and although originally designed to use properly equipped privately owned vessels, the Patrol now owns around 50 vessels.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Ship's helm clock

    Collection title: Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol

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