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Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Goold

SS MAKAMBO, Lord Howe Island

Date: 1993
Dimensions:
Sight: 588 x 836 mm
Overall: 830 x 1160 x 26 mm, 8.6 kg
Display Dimensions: 832 x 1160 x 22 mm
Medium: Handcolored linocut on paper, pencil
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Bruce Goold
Classification:Art
Object Name: Linocut
Object No: 00027321
Place Manufactured:Palm Beach
Related Place:Lord Howe Island,

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    Description
    A linocut titled 'On June the 14th 1918. SS MAKAMBO struck a submerged rock off Ned's beach, Lord Howe Island. Rats fled the ship on the discarded cargo of bananas' by Australian printmaker Bruce Goold.
    The print depicts the SS MAKAMBO with rats coming ashore wearing their merchant navy uniforms at left, at right a portrait of a rat as captain with the title 'SS MAKAMBO Lord Howe Is'.
    SignificanceThe introduction of black rats onto Lord Howe Island from the MAKAMBO had a devastating effect on the local wildlife. Rats are thought to have caused the extinction of five species of bird and 13 invertebrates that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
    Ongoing efforts continue in attempts to prevent the loss of a further 13 species still under threat of extinction.


    HistoryBruce Goold produced this lino cut work as his entry for the P & O Art Awards held at the Australian NAtional Maritime Museum. He describes the work here:

    "I'd been over to Lord Howe, and in the museum there they had photographs of the MAKAMBO, which was one of the Burns Philp freighters that used to go over there. To disembark the passengers upon arrival, they'd lift the mover the
    side of the ship, clinging to the cargo nets, then lower them onto the lighters that would then take them ashore.
    The MAKAMBO apparently ran aground on some submerged coral off Ned's Beach in 1914, and the crew threw their cargo of bananas overboard to lighten the ship. Among that cargo were some rats, which swam ashore. I think at the time the mutton birds were nesting, as they do, in burrows off Ned's Beach, and the rats feasted on the mutton birds' eggs. Once they'd finished the eggs, the birds migrated, so the rats climbed the kentia palms and started eating the kentia seeds.
    This was a devastating thing, as the island's major source of revenue even then was the supply of kentia palms. I think they are the most popular palm, even today, in the big European hotels. So I thought this was a good image, and the one I was most acquainted with in commercial shipping.
    For some reason I designed it to resemble a giant Venezuelan bank note. But on one side, instead of a portrait of a dictator of a banana republic, it has a picture of a captain of a ship, in this case a rat, framed by maritime rope. On
    the other side is the image of the ship, which the rats are abandoning. I don't know how many people have observed this, but the captain seems to be the first ashore. I included one female rat, who is pictured wearing a dress and
    holding an umbrella, so they could mate when they got ashore, thereby explaining why the rats are still on the island.

    It was then entered in the exhibition, framed in quite a good gold frame...Lots of people were standing in front of it, but it never really struck anybody that it was portraying a serious ecological disaster: that the rats are
    still there, and have caused a huge problem. There is a Cinesound newsreel movie, I think, of the women of Lord Howe who at one stage were offered a bounty on the rats. "
    [Goold, Bruce. Turning Lino Into Gold. Northern Beaches, No.1, December 1998 - January 199].
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