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Reproduced courtesy of Rhod Cook


Date: 1947-1948
Overall: 325 × 230 × 50 mm
Medium: Paper, ink, glue, canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Copyright: © Rhod Cook
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Logbook
Object No: 00054702

User Terms

    Logbook belonging to Lieutenant Commander William Cook, RAN during his assignment as First Lieutenant aboard HMAS Wyatt Earp during its history-making 1947-48 voyage as part of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. This object is one of a large collection of documents, photographs, uniforms, ship badges and ephemera associated with the Royal Australian Navy service of brothers William Cook and Frederick Cook. Both men entered service prior to the Second World War, were seconded to the Royal Navy, and underwent training at Greenwich and Portsmouth. Frederick Cook later gained fame as the only Australian survivor of HMS Royal Oak, torpedoed by a German U-boat in October 1939. William Cook was the youngest commander of an Australian destroyer during the Second World War, and was First Lieutenant of HMAS Wyatt Earp, the primary research vessel for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1947-48.
    SignificanceThe Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition was the first concerted effort by Australia to establish permanent scientific research stations in Antarctica following the end of the Second World War. In many respects, the ANARE was the precursor of today's Australian Antarctic Division, and the organisation persists today as a conglomerate of several Australian governmental and non-governmental organisations. HMAS Wyatt Earp was specifically selected for the inaugural expedition because it had been used in prior Antarctic voyages of exploration and research. It was the first--but by no means last--commissioned Royal Australian Navy vessel to partake in scientific voyages to Antarctica. As Wyatt Earp's First Lieutenant, William Cook was responsible for maintaining the logbook of the vessel's groundbreaking voyage, and his account--as recorded in the logbook--contains valuable information that is singularly unique and unavailable anywhere else. Ephemera pasted inside the logbook provides a unique glimpse of life aboard a RAN voyage of science and exploration, and reveals much about the small select group of naval personnel responsible for crewing Wyatt Earp.

    William Cook had a distinguished naval career, and served aboard notable Australian warships during the Second World War, including HMAS Perth (I), HMAS Voyager (I) and HMAS Nizam. He was mentioned in despatches for his service aboard Voyager during the Greek campaign in 1941. Awarded command of Nizam at the age of 28, Cook became the youngest Australian to command a destroyer during the conflict. He was later present at Tokyo Bay (while in command of Nizam) during the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on 2 September 1945.
    HistoryHMAS Wyatt Earp was originally built as the Norwegian fishing vessel Fanefjord in 1919. In 1933 it was purchased by American Antarctic explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and named Wyatt Earp after the famed American lawman of Dodge City, Kansas and Tombstone, Arizona. The vessel was acquired by the Royal Australian Navy in 1939, renamed HMAS Wongala (an Indigenous Australian word meaning 'Boomerang'), and operated as an examination vessel and guardship in South Australian waters during the Second World War. In 1947 the vessel was renamed HMAS Wyatt Earp prior to its involvement in the Australian National Antarctic Resarch Expedition. It was decommissioned and sold in 1951, ultimately renamed M/V Natone, and was wrecked on Queensland's Rainbow Beach in January 1959.

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