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Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Photographic Negatives

Date: 1937-1940s
Overall: 90 x 60 mm
Medium: Negative
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Campbell Middleton
Object Name: Negative
Object No: 00049308

User Terms

    A diverse range of yachts used by members of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol (VCP) during the 1940s are shown in this collection of photographs taken by professional photographer and patrol member Peter Luke. The photographs depict patrol vessels both on the slip at the headquarters of the VCP at Neutral Bay and on active patrol primarily in Sydney Harbour. A number of the images feature professional photographer and recreational sailor Peter Luke and his vessel WAYFARER.
    SignificanceThese negatives provide researchers with clear visual imagery of the yachts and crew of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol during its early and most active years.
    HistoryThe negatives depict vessels operated by the Volunteer Coastal Patrol (VCP) in the 1940s and many of the patrol members. It is believed most of the photographs were taken by the professional photographer and patrol member Peter Luke. He worked in the family business, at the Monte Luke photographic studio in the centre of Sydney and the images he took are of a higher quality than other images recorded by members of the VCP. Those photographs that feature Peter were most likely taken using his camera, by another member of the Patrol. Peter Luke launched WAYFARER early in World War II. Once the yacht was rigged WAYFARER served with the Volunteer Coastal Patrol on Sydney Harbour and along the NSW coast until the war ended in 1945. In 1944 Peter Luke was one of the co-founders of the Cruising Yacht Club and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

    The Volunteer Coastal Patrol, the oldest voluntary sea rescue organisation in Australia, was established on 27 March 1937. The VCP's objectives were to bring together yachtsmen and those interested in small ships and encourage them to undergo a course of training so that their services would be of value to the authorities in rescue situations, and to train and educate these yachtsmen so that Australia's waterways could be made safer for those who ventured upon them in small craft.

    When World War II was declared in 1939, members of the Patrol affirmed their desire to serve their country as a volunteer service, assisting the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Water Police and Maritime Services Board in the vital defence of Sydney Harbour. Oil depots, wharves, troopships, dockyards, the State ammunition dump in Bantry Bay and flying-boat base in Rose Bay were all patrolled by the VCP until war's end. In 1940 the Patrol had some 500 vessels and 2,000 members on its register.

    The VCP continued to operate in the post-war period in a purely voluntary capacity, constituting an important element in national security. Its objectives were rewritten to make the organisation of value to the country in times of emergency as well as peace, by making waterways safer for yachtsmen and by setting an example to all those on the water. In 1974 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth bestowed the 'Royal' prefix to the Volunteer Coastal Patrol. While the VCP was originally designed to use properly equipped privately owned vessels, in the 1980s this became unfeasible and the Patrol now owns some 50 vessels.

    Related People
    Photographer: Peter Luke

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