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Notes by Oskar Speck relating to the final days of his voyage

Date: 1930s
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Object Name: Report
Object No: ANMS0533[024]

User Terms

    • From Germany to Australia in a folding boat Around 9 o'clock on the morning of 5 September 1939, a German folding boat arrived on the small island of "DARU" in the Torres Strait. The small German flag at the bow caused a greater stir than usual amongst the few fisherman on the beach. One of the fishermen went towards the person climbing out of the boat saying "Congratulations" and then "I have bad news for you - War has been declared". "Better come up to the Magistrate". The friendly officer at the magistrate's office was trying to calm me down. "Perhaps it'll all be over soon. They are still dropping leaflets over Germany". "I'll send a telegram to Port Moresby to ask if you're allowed to continue on". The answer arrived shortly: "Continue to Thursday Island". Daru is a Papuan exit port, and my next landing would be on Australian soil. "Leave your revolver here and continue straight away, as another telegram might arrive at any moment and I might have to arrest you here." The weather was stormy, but I had only one thought: leaving Daru. I had to collect my thoughts. Should I try to escape to Dutch New Guinea? But Holland would not be able to remain neutral. I preferred to be interned in Australia. I wanted to get to the Australian island of SAIBAI first and make the crossing to Thursday Island from there. Upon my arrival at Saibai, I was met by three Australian policemen and taken into custody. I had reached my goal, but not one of the numerous doubters would ever find out and my modest success in reaching Australia in my folding boat would be swallowed up in the imminent huge global catastrophe.
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