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Blubber spade from the WANDERER

Date: 1842-1851
Overall: 40 x 3425 x 155 mm, 3.3 kg
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Spade
Object No: 00003701
Related Place:Twofold Bay,

User Terms

    This blubber spade was salvaged from Ben Boyd's ship the WANDERER. Spades were used for cutting up or 'cutting in' the whale. Several different types of spades were used for the separate parts of the whole carcass. Cutting spades were used to cut free the flesh adhering to the oil-producing blubber and were often pinned through the socket to prevent loss.
    SignificanceThis blubber spade is a rare surviving article from the WANDERER and an excellent example of an important yet common tool used in the whaling industry.
    HistoryThe WANDERER arrived in Australia in 1842 and made many trips along the Australian coastline with its Scottish owner Benjamin Boyd. Boyd established settlements and pastoral stations between Eden and Sydney, with the WANDERER being a regular sight in Sydney Harbour. The yachts expensive interiors and opulence made it a popular attraction with fashionable society in Sydney.

    By 1849, Boyd was in great financial difficulty and preparing to leave the colony. The next two years proved to be disastrous for the WANDERER and Boyd. Sailing out of Port Jackson on 26 October 1849 the vessel lost a bow anchor on the reef. Then in 1851, Boyd was presumed murdered by natives on the Solomon Islands and the WANDERER wrecked off Port Macquarie on its return to Australia.

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