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Right ice skate

Date: 1930s
Overall (laid flat): 55 x 70 x 420 mm, 257.77 g
Medium: Metal, wood, leather, fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rob Davids
Object Name: Ice skate
Object No: 00046061
Place Manufactured:Nederland

User Terms

    Rob Davids was given these ice skates by his grandfather Jaap van Rijn in Holland. He packed them for his family's journeys to Indonesia and Australia, but only used them once in Sydney.
    SignificanceThe ice skates are a memento from the voyage of Rob Davids, who migrated from Holland to Australia with his family in 1952. The ice skates were cherished as nostalgic reminders of his life in Holland and his grandparents. They hint at Rob's expectations - and misconceptions - of life in a new country.
    HistoryRob Davids was 13 years old when he migrated from Holland to Australia with his family on the Nederland liner JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT. Rob was the eldest son of three children; his brother Eric was 10 and Huibert was five. The Davids family docked at No 7 Wharf Pyrmont in September 1952.

    Rob's father David Davids was Jewish. In 1942 David divorced his wife Maria van Rijn to protect her from Nazi persecution and was smuggled across the English Channel in a small fishing boat. There he worked for the Dutch government in exile for the duration of the war. David was a so-called 'Engeland vaarder' and received the Bronze Cross in the Order of Oranje-Nassau from Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina.

    Rob and his brother stayed with their mother in Holland during the German occupation, moving from place to place. During the war, Maria was forced to fend for herself and moved several times after the Germans requisitioned her home. In 1942 the family lived in Sant Poort near Harlaam. Rob later discovered that his mother was hiding Jews in her garage. As a child he recalls tailing German troops as they marched through the streets, and listening to a British news station on a secret radio concealed in a cupboard at home.

    After liberation, David returned to Holland and remarried Maria. The family lived for a period on a farm in north Holland, before migrating to East Surrey in the UK. In 1949, seeking a better life, the family migrated to Jakarta, Indonesia where David tried to establish a small business machines company. When the business failed to take off and political turmoil escalated in the lead up to Indonesian independence, he migrated to Sydney, Australia. Maria and her three children returned to Holland, packed up the house, and followed David out in 1952. Rob did not want to go and has vivid memories of farewelling his grandparents from the wharf in Amsterdam.

    In Sydney David established NSW Business Machines with an office on the third floor of the Strand Arcade. He sold copying machines by OCE and Retoce. Rob remembers spending a few Christmas holidays helping with the business. Later on David started RUF Accounting Systems which sold double entry accounting systems using carbon paper.

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