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Watercolour of Osborne, South Australia

Date: 9 February 1947
Overall: 485 x 360 mm, 3 mm, 0.2 kg
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00027065
Place Manufactured:Osborne

User Terms

    This watercolour depicts the industrial landscape of Osborne, South Australia and was painted by amateur artist and professional seaman Brett Hilder in 1947. The painting shows waterfront buildings and factories at Osborne, viewed from the deck of a ship.

    SignificanceThis painting 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 on 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.

    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.

    Brett Hilder was Chief Officer on the SS RIVER HUNTER which belonged to the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Shipping, and Burns Philp were the agents for the vessel. It was employed carrying coal from Newcastle to Osborne South Australia . It also carried iron ore and limestone from Whyalla to Newcastle and Port Kembla NSW during 1946.

    The SS RIVER HUNTER refuelled in Newcastle then headed to sea for four days on the passage to South Australia, arriving in Adelaide and berthing at Osborne to discharge the coal. Hilder describes the process of unloading the vessel in his work 'Navigators of the South Seas'. He notes that after the vessel had been unloaded 'the real fun began' when the SS RIVER HUNTER headed back to sea empty except for the ballast, and rolled from side to side the entire way back to Newcastle.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Watercolour of Osborne, South Australia

    Primary title: Osborne

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