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Ken Warby's jacket

Date: 1970s
Dimensions:
Overall: 690 mm
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transfer from Powerhouse Museum
Object Name: Jacket
Object No: 00008925

User Terms

    Description
    This red cotton drill jacket was worn by Ken Warby when he became the fastest man on water in his hydroplane SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA on Blowering Dam near Tumut, New South Wales in 1978.

    Warby chose this special protective jacket, with its fitted waistband and concealed zips, for comfort and weight. He decorated it with sponsors’ badges and embroidered lettering. His three major sponsors, Speedo, Fosseys and Shell, are acknowledged with several colourful cloth badges sewn onto the sleeves and chest.
    SignificanceThe jacket is part of the protective clothing worn by Ken Warby when he broke the world water speed record for a second time in the hydroplane SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA on Blowering Dam in October 1978.

    HistorySPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA is an Australian designed and built jet-powered, wooden, 3-point hydroplane that has held the world water-speed record since 1977. Breaking both the 300 mph and 500 km/h barriers, SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA raised the world record to 511kph in 1978 at Blowering Dam near Tumut NSW.

    Ken Warby, SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA's designer, builder and driver, achieved his world water-speed records on a shoestring budget. Warby built his hydroplane over two years in the backyard of his suburban Sydney home, using stringers, brackets, stock bits of timber, plywood, screws, epoxy and a military-surplus jet engine that cost $65. He eventually launched the boat in 1974.

    Warby first claimed the world record in 1977, taking his home-made hydroplane to a speed of 464.44 km/h. In 1978 he returned to Blowering Dam in the southern highlands of New South Wales and pushed his record to 511.11 km/h (317.68 mph), where it still stands.

    Warby was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in recognition of his achievement. More information about SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA's construction, configuration and condition can be found on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Ken Warby's jacket

    Primary title: KEN WARBYS' OVERJACKET, RED DRILL LUMBER - STYLE JACKET WITH TWO PALE YELLOW BIAS STRIPES FROM THE SHOULDERS DOWN TO THE CUFFS, APPLIED EMBROIDERED LABLES INCLUDE "SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA THE WORLD'S FASTEST BOAT"

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