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Gilberts Islands, Anchorage off Nikunau

Date: 1957
Overall: 423 x 520 x 22 mm, 1.95 kg
Medium: Watercolour on board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Chart
Object No: 00027088
Place Manufactured:Nikunau

User Terms

    This watercolour chart showing the recommended anchorage off Nikunau Island, Gilbert Island Kiribati, was sketched by amateur artist and professional seaman Captain Brett Hilder on board MV TULAGI in 1957.

    SignificanceThis chart is representative of the work by prolific amateur painter Brett Hilder, a seaman with Burns Philp and Company. His work offers a valuable and comprehensive record of the experiences of mariners working on commercial vessels between Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Melanesia from the 1930s through to the 1960s.
    HistoryBrett Hilder born in 1911 was the youngest son of renowned watercolourist Jesse Jewhurst Hilder. In 1927 he became a crew member for ships owned by Burns Philp & Co. He traveled extensively to the Dutch East Indies and South Pacific Islands, and eventually became a ship's master. During WWII he taught navigation to Australian air crew and attained the rank of Wing Commander. He flew on Catalina flying boats for the Royal Australian Air Force. After the war Hilder resumed his career as a merchant sea-captain. He was Captain aboard the TULAGI from 1955 to 1961.

    During the war Hilder started painting watercolours depicting landscapes, details and portraits of the people and places he visited. He also wrote extensively about navigation and his travels for magazines such as 'Walkabout'. Hilder is the author of numerous books on his own experiences and in 1966 published 'The Heritage of JJ Hilder' a book about his father's art career. This accompanied a national touring exhibition of his father's work organised by the Queensland Art Gallery. Brett Hilder passed away in April 1981.

    This sketch shows the settlement on Nikunau and inshore waters. It includes navigational bearings, beacons and recommendations on the time and place to anchor.

    Hilder made charts of several harbours and islands where he felt those provided by the Hydrographic Service were inadequate. He used his charts for his own reference on future voyages. Hilder also sent copies of his work to the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service and has been credited in some of published charts. He was an exceptional navigator who founded the Australian Institute of Navigation and trained RAAF pilots in navigation during World War II.

    MV TULAGI (2) was built for the company in 1954 and operated until 1971.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Gilberts Islands, Anchorage off Nikunau

    Web title: Watercolour chart of the anchorage off Nikunau Island, Gilbert Island Kiribati

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