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Numa Numa

Date: 1963
Overall: 438 x 539 x 16 mm, 1.85 kg
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00027069
Place Manufactured:Bougainville

User Terms

    This watercolour featuring port Numa Numa, Bougainville Papua New Guinea depicts the loading copra at sunset. Small boats transfer the cargo to the ship anchored in deeper water.

    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 crewmember 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.

    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.

    Copra is dried coconut flesh. After crushing coconut oil is extracted from copra for commercial use. In 'Navigators of the South Seas', Hilder describes loading copra from two Lever Brothers' plantations at Lunga.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Watercolour of Numa Numa, Papua New Guinea

    Primary title: Numa Numa

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