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Silver plated teapot from German vessel KGS KOMET

Date: 1911
Overall: 165 x 230 x 160 mm, 718.5 g
Medium: Silver plate
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peg Adena
Object Name: Teapot
Object No: 00048054
Place Manufactured:Bremen
Related Place:New Guinea,

User Terms

    This silver-plated teapot was manufactured as a component of the ship's silver teaware service intended for use in the dining room by the ship's officers, passengers and visitors during a voyage.
    SignificanceAustralia's involvement in World War I was not confined to the Indian or Atlantic Oceans, nor the Mediterranean Sea. The Royal Australian Navy's first operations were in German New Guinea waters and this teapot represents the quick capture of German holdings in the Pacific region. It tells of the luxury of the German government inspection ship KOMET, captured by the RAN and then commissioned into the RAN.
    HistoryThe 977-ton German government steam yacht KGS KOMET was built in Bremerhaven in 1911. It was sent to German New Guinea as an administrative vessel for the German protectorate and was based at Rabaul, New Britain. The yacht was finely fitted out for senior German staff who undertook regular inspection trips of German holdings.

    War was declared in August 1914, finding KOMET at Morobe, New Guinea. It had transported the Acting German governor, Dr Eduard Haber, for an inspection. KOMET had narrowly avoided interception by the Australian Squadron and was able to sail to New Britain, landing Haber at Herbertshohe, near Rabaul.

    Haber put KOMET at the disposal of Admiral von Spee's German fleet where it was used as a supply vessel to the auxiliary cruiser PRINZ EITEL FREIDRICH until late September, 1914. Rabaul was captured by Australian forces, and because of other British ships in the vicinity, KOMET sought refuge at a far location on the north coast of New Britain which became unofficially known as 'Komethafen' (Komet Harbour)

    The ship's presence was reported to the Australian administrator in Rabaul, and at dawn on 11 October 1914, HMAS NUSA, an armed German steam yacht which had been captured from the Germans some weeks earlier, surprised and captured the KOMET. The crew of five Germans and 52 local sailors were removed and the yacht sent to Sydney for refitting.

    After refit, the yacht served in the Royal Australian Navy as a patrol boat HMAS UNA. In the post-war period it served in the islands as UNA until 1924, when it was privately sold and renamed AKUNA and became a pilot vessel in Melbourne. Under this name it served with the RAN during WWII as an examination vessel until late 1943, when it was returned to pilotage duties. The KOMET / UNA / AKUNA was finally broken up in 1959.
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