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Stand for the model of the pearling lugger COONAGLEBAR II

Date: c 1940
Dimensions:
Overall: 115 x 410 x 150 mm
Medium: Timber
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from L E Swann
Classification:Models
Object Name: Model part
Object No: 00000445
Related Place:Torres Strait,

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    Description
    The wooden stand for the pearling lugger COONAGLEBAR II. The model was probably made by a Torres Strait Islander and its construction features a solid hull, two-masts with rigging and tiller. These boats were designed specifically to suit the requirements of pearl diving in the waters off northern Australia, from Broome in West Australia to Thursday Island in Queensland.
    SignificanceThis ship model is representative of the maritime commercial activity of pearling off northern Australia and the vessels used in the trade.
    HistoryPearling has been a major industry in Northern Australia since the late 1860s. It was initially a practice of the local Aboriginal population who traded pearls with neighboring islanders including Macassan traders.

    Pearl seekers started to operate in Torres Strait's waters by the early 1860s with the Indigenous population at first largely not welcoming their presence. The first pearling station was set up in 1868 by Captain Banner and by 1883 there were 33 licensed stations operating in the Torres Strait. Pearl shell was a valuable
    material before the days of plastic and was used to make buckles, buttons, jewellery and cutlery. Shells from the Torres Strait were popular with the English and American clothing industry of the time for the manufacture of buttons and buckles.

    Pearling luggers are designed expressly for pearl oyster gathering. Luggers towed their divers over the pearl beds by drifting, often with just the sail on the aft mast set. The older traditional vessels utilised sail power featuring two sails, two masts and local timbers. Contemporary vessels have become motorised with no sail power.

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