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Child's violin, bow and case

Date: 1940s
Medium: Wood, metal, steel wire, gut, fabric, shell
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rob Davids
Object Name: Violin, bow and Case
Object No: V00046062
Place Manufactured:Nederland

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    Description
    Desperate to play the harmonica as a child, Rob Davids mistakenly asked for a violin one Christmas. He tried to learn the violin but conceded he lacked the talent. The faded sticker on the violin case relates to the family's voyage from Jakarta to Amsterdam in 1952.
    SignificanceThe violin is a treasured childhood possession belonging to Rob Davids, who migrated from Holland to Australia with his family in 1952.
    HistoryRob Davids was the eldest son of three children. He was 13 years old when he migrated to Australia with his family from Holland on the liner JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT. His brother Eric was 10 and Huibert was five. The Davids docked at Pyrmont 7 in September 1952.

    Rob Davids was 13 years old when he migrated from Holland to Australia with his family on the Netherlands' 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' (England farer) 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 Santpoort near Haarlem. 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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