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ANMM Collection

Half of the double ended paddle from the model of Oscar Speck's SUNNSCHIEN

Date: 1941-1942
Overall: 82 x 13 mm, 5 mm
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Object Name: Paddle
Object No: 00032900
Place Manufactured:Tatura

User Terms

    This paddle belongs to a model of SUNNSCHIEN, the kayak that German adventurer Oskar Speck travelled in from Germany to Australia. From 1932 to 1939 Oskar Speck paddled and sailed a small folding canvas kayak (folbot) more than 50,000 kilometres from Ulm on the Danube River in Germany to Saibai Island in the Torres Strait. Arriving shortly after World War II was declared in 1939 Speck was interned in Australia for more than six years. This model of the folding kayak SUNNSCHIEN, fashioned primarily from copper, was made by a fellow internee at the Tatura internment camp in Victoria during the war.
    SignificanceThis model paddle provides an important record of the kayak and equipment used by Oskar Speck during his journey from Germany to Australia.
    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. Speck arrived with a swastika pennant flying from the bow of his 5.3 metre German built Folbot kayak a few days after Australia declared war with Germany. Speck was travelling on a German passport and was promptly arrested as an enemy alien on his arrival on Thursday Island. Speck was detained at the Tatura and Loveday internment camps for the duration of the war.

    SUNNSCHIEN was a double kayak converted for one to make room for luggage and provisions. Its flexible wooden frame was safe for shooting rapids, light for portage and could be collapsed into a small bundle when necessary. It was constructed from a laminated rubber and canvas skin over a light pliable wooden frame and was 5.49m in length, carrying a load of 294.84kg. It was steered with a foot-controlled rudder and propelled by a double-ended paddle and gaff sail with a sail area of 1.49m.

    Speck's luggage consisted of a spare paddle, two waterproof cases, one for films and his Leica camera and clothes, the other for documents and passports, charts and prismatic compass and pistol.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Paddle from the model of SUNNSCHIEN

    Assigned title: Half of the double ended paddle from the model of Oscar Speck's SUNNSCHIEN

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