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Scrimshaw stanchion, possibly from Ben Boyd's WANDERER

Date: 1845
Overall: 645 x 60 mm, 2.3 kg
Medium: Whaletooth ivory, baleen, iron alloy, tortoise shell
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Stanchion
Object No: 00006846

User Terms

    This scrimshaw stanchion has been carved from whale tooth and decorated with bands of baleen and inlaid tortoise shell. The top features a carved turks-head knot. This stanchion is believed to be one of the pair salvaged from Ben Boyd's ship the WANDERER. On special occasions the decorative stanchions would have been placed near the gangway of the vessel.
    SignificanceThis stanchion is a rare surviving article from the WANDERER and represents design elements used in 19th century scrimshaw such as decorative bands of baleen.
    HistoryThe WANDERER was a lavishly fitted out yacht that was frequently seen sailing on Sydney Harbour and Twofold Bay in the 1840s. Arriving in Australia in 1842, it made many trips along the eastern coastline with its Scottish owner Benjamin Boyd as he established settlements and pastoral stations. WANDERER's opulence proved to be popular with Sydney's fashionable society.

    By 1849 Boyd was experiencing financial difficulties and preparing to leave the colony. The next two years were disastrous for both the WANDERER and Boyd. Sailing out of Port Jackson on 26 October 1849, the vessel accidentally lost its best bow anchor on a reef. Then in 1851, Boyd was presumed murdered by natives on the Solomon Islands and during the WANDERER's return to Australia it became caught in a gale and wrecked off Port Macquarie. The set of Stanchions are believed to have been rescued from the ship at the time.

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