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Model of an outrigger canoe from the Mandang region of New Guinea

Date: c 1945
Overall: 251 x 588 x 751 mm, 932.13 g
Medium: Wood, pigment, natural fibres
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ernest A Flint
Object Name: Model
Object No: 00046786

User Terms

    This model canoe is representative of a five-part single outrigger canoe. In the local Mandang language it is called a 'balangut'. The model was acquired by trading two tins of Spam with local villagers during WWII. The donor was serving in the United States Army Small Ships Service.
    SignificanceThis model, dated to the time of World War II, is a valuable record of a traditional 'balangut' and of relations between the Allied forces and inhbaitants of the Madang region.
    HistoryThe owner related that this canoe was a model of a 'lakatoi' which he exchanged for two tins of spam in Madang (mid-north coast PNG) in 1944. He said he saw them sailing around there and their sailors were taken on as pilots for the US Army Small ships.

    The Japanese invaded and captured Madang without a fight during World War II in 1942. In September 1943, Australian forces launched a sustained campaign to retake the Finisterre Range and Madang. The town was captured on April 24, 1944. During the occupation and fighting the town was virtually destroyed and had to be rebuilt afterwards.

    ''Lakatoi' according to most sources is a large native trading vessel made up of three or more dugout hulls, using quite a different type of sail, specific to the SOUTH coast of PNG -- i.e. not the type of vessel depicted by the model -- but the term probably became generalised to mean 'any native seagoing boat' to Europeans.

    Haddon & Hornell (Canoes of Oceania) confirms this model as representing types from the vicinity of Madang.

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