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HMAT ZEALANDIA in dazzle camouflage

Date: 1918
Display dimensions: 435 × 590 mm B Fini
Medium: Silver gelatin print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00033615
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    HMAT (His Majesty's Australian Transport) ZEALANDIA in dazzle camouflage paint paint scheme in Sydney Harbour during WW1.
    SignificanceHMAT ZEALANDIA was one of 74 ships requisitioned by the Australian Government to serve as troopships in WWI. She was owned by Huddart Parker. The ZEALANDIA was chartered again in WWII, but was lost in the first bombing raid on Darwin on 19 February, 1942.
    HistoryAt the outset of WW1 the Australian Government requisitioned ships to transport troops and supplies overseas. One such ship was the ZEALANDIA, nicknamed "Z". To aid in the safe voyage of the ships and their convoy, they were painted in camouflage designs called "dazzle", a new approach in war tactics. Despite its glaring pattern, the design was based on "natural history, perceptual psychology and modern art. It was linked with experiments where..seeing is deceiving". (Eilas, Anne "Camouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War", Sydney University Press, 2011).
    Essentially the theory was to throw off enemy ships by making it difficult for them to accurately assess the ships statistics or battle potential. It became known as "disruptive patterning" (page 4, Eilas, Anne "Camouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War", Sydney University Press, 2011) and was part of the larger development of camouflage techniques during WW1.

    Related People
    Photographer: H Pardy

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