Search the Collection
Advanced Search

18-foof skiff BRITANNIA

Date: 1937 - 1946
Overall: 240 x 304 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Alan Griffiths
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00008506

User Terms

    The 18-foot skiff BRITANNIA is shown sailing up wind during the Balmain Regatta. it was built by Balmain shipwright George Robinson, known as 'Wee Georgie' in just six weeks in 1919. He also designed and skippered the boat. A keen member of the Sydney Flying Squadron, Robinson raced BRITANNIA for 26 years in regattas on Sydney Harbour and on waterways around New South Wales.

    SignificanceThis photograph provides a record of the popular 18-foot skiffl BRITANNIA and the sport of open boat racing on Sydney Harbour, Australia during the 20th century.
    HistoryRegattas were central to competitive boating in the 19th century and functioned as a social and sporting event, often marking official anniversaries in a public aquatic spectacle. Civic leaders, politicians and merchants offered patronage and sponsorship and their attendance at the races generated great public interest.

    The regatta was a way to celebrate and pay homage to the British Empire and often it was used to commemorate the birthday of a monarch. The Prince of Wales birthday was a key event that often featured as the focus for a regatta. Regattas became not just a recreational pastime for Australians but a routine part of public ceremonies. Community regattas often featured several races, including rowing, sculling and sailing events usually for professional watermen and amateurs. While many spectators had only a superficial interest in competitive racing the regattas offered them a social day out.

    The first Balmain Regatta was held in 1849 and continued running until it was stopped in 1934. It was started again in 1994 by the Wooden Boat Association and the Balmain Sailing Club who began participating in 1995.

    The 18-foot skiffs are designed to reach extreme speeds and provide an exciting and attractive sport for spectators to watch. This was the aim of the vessels when they were first designed in the late 19th century. The origins of the sport are attributed to Mark Foy and a group of businessmen who were the founding members of the Sydney Flying Yacht Squadron, reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' to have been established on 19 October 1891 The club advocated for sailing to be open to all types of vessels and sailors. Their first competitive race is believed to have been held on Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1892.

    BRITANNIA is an 18-foot skiff class vessel from 1919. Originating in Brisbane it won the national title for a major open boat race in 1895 and competed for 25 years in races, winning about thirty championships. The boat, and its skipper, builder and designer 'Wee Georgie' Robinson was prominent in the 18-foot skiff class between the two world wars and won many races.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: 18-foof skiff BRITANNIA

    Primary title: BRITANNIA

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.