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Photograph depicting William Frank Cook aboard HMAS WYATT EARP

Date: 1947
Overall: 286 × 112 mm
Medium: Black and white photograph
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS1445[131]
Related Place:Antarctica,

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    Black and white photograph of First Lieutenant William Cook, taken during the 1947-48 voyages of HMAS Wyatt Earp to Antarctica 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.
    SignificanceThis photograph belonged to Captain William Cook, a Royal Australian Navy officer who served as second-in-command aboard Wyatt Earp, the first Australian naval vessel to participate in an Antarctic research expedition (the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition) in the immediate post-war period. It depicts Cook aboard Wyatt Earp in Antarctic waters, and provides a literal snapshot of a candid moment during the voyage. This differs from most other known photographs of the expedition, which were to a large degree staged for publicity purposes.
    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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