Search the Collection
Advanced Search


Date: 1909
Overall: 585 x 744 mm
Display Dimensions: 600 x 749 x 29 mm
Medium: Oil on artist board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00000644

User Terms

    Oil painting by Reginald Arthur Borstel, 1909, of the clipper ship PORT JACKSON with the tug HEROIC in the background. Shipowner Devitt & Moore's house flag is flying at the mainmast. PORT JACKSON, built in 1882, served on the Australian trade as a wool clipper before Devitt & Moore bought it in 1906 to serve as a sail training ship for boy seamen, while continuing the cargo trade. The figures in the rigging are probably cadets. The 268 ton tug HEROIC was built in England and reached Sydney in July 1909. Borstel may have included it in the painting because it was a new modern tug - the two vessels were not in Sydney at the same time in 1909. PORT JACKSON left Sydney on 10 February 1909 and did not return until 1910.
    SignificanceThe painting represents the work of ship portraitist R A Borstel, and the genre of ship portraiture at a time when photography was beginning to overtake painting. It represents the activity in Sydney around the turn of the 20th century of a number of artists who worked in conjunction with photographers to produce ship portraits for sale to captains, crews, and shiplovers.

    The PORT JACKSON has been described as one of the most beautiful four-masted barques ever built and was one of the last of the iron square riggers. The ship is also significant for the ocean-going square rig training for boys, which had not been done before.
    HistoryThe PORT JACKSON was one of the last of the iron square-riggers. Of 2,212 gross tons. It was built at Aberdeen, Scotland, by Hall & Co. for the sailing ship firm Duthie Brothers, and was designed by Alexander Duthie. On its maiden voyage to Sydney the PORT JACKSON broke the record for a four-masted barque, reaching Sydney in 77 days from the the English Channel

    In 1905 The Marine Society, which operated a training ship ARETHUSA on the London River, agreed with the shipping line Devitt & Moore to provide ocean-training as merchant seamen for boys between 14 and 18 years who had already served six months on the ARETHUSA. In 1906 Devitt & Moore bought PORT JACKSON for this purpose and refitted it to accommodate 100 boys. The ship carried no apprentices or midshipmen. It had a crew of 36, a chaplain, a doctor and four nautical instructors. The boys were divided into three watches each with an instructor and assisted in working the ship and handling the sails. PORT JACKSON's first voyage as a training ship began on 28 June 1906. It took 126 days, reaching Sydney on 1 November. During the voyage a concert was held every Wednesday for the boys' amusement, and while they were in Sydney they received continual hospitality. They returned to London with a cargo of wool, tallow and Government stores.

    The training scheme proved successful, and on subsequent voyages midshipmen were also included. In 1909 a new company, Devitt & Moore's Ocean Training Ships was formed, with shareholders from well-known shipping companies such as Cunard, Union-Castle, Orient Steam Navigation and Royal Mail Lines. Cadets on PORT JACKSON now included boys from famous schools such as Harrow and Eton, and from natutical training colleges. In 1910 Devitt & Moore bought another training ship, the MEDWAY. These ships and their trainees were popular visitors to Sydney, with rowing races and cricket matches. In 1916, during the First World War, the PORT JACKSON was sold and reverted to cargo carrying. On 28 April 1917 it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. The captain and 13 crew were killed.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: The PORT JACKSON with tug HEROIC

    Web title: PORT JACKSON with tug HEROIC

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.