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BANZARE portable boat

Vessel Number: HV000677
Date: c1929
Vessel Dimensions: 4 m (13.12 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
The British Australian (and) New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) portable craft is a Deloford Portable Safety Boat built in the United Kingdom, probably in the late 1920s. It was taken on their expedition that departed in 1929 for Antarctica. Its actual use is unknown, but it helps interpret the type of detailed planning for all eventualities that is required for the success of these expeditions in a harsh environment.
DescriptionThe 3m long craft is a collapsible structure made of rubber coated fabric and metal frames, and stores flat in an ‘ironing board’ outline. The craft also has two wooden paddles. It is a model from the Deloford Portable Safety Boats that were manufactured by John Marston Ltd, Sunbeam, at Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. The Sunbeam story is typical of the English marques. Well recognised as a brand in the 21st century, Sunbeam started off as a small amalgamation of businesses producing radiators for the car and aircraft industry, Deloford portable safety boats, Seagull brand 2 stroke outboard motors, enamelled goods, bicycles and course motorcycles. In 1929 a report notes that Deloford, London, have patents for a 'portable folding boat' with some European kayak features but the design seems better suited for English canals and was not a traditional kayak shape.

BANZARE was a research expedition into Antarctica between 1929 and 1931, involving two voyages over consecutive summers. It was a British Commonwealth initiative, funded by the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The leader of the BANZARE was Sir Douglas Mawson. For the BANZARE voyages (1929-30, 1930-31) there is a reference in 1929-30 correspondence with the second officer of one of the two support ships to bring boats on board in South Africa – indicating there was more than this example taken, but not being specific about their type.

It is not known if the craft was used, but as a collapsible craft it may have fitted with plans to take a compact vessel on a sledge that could be deployed off the ice for short trips in the sea as part of their coastal scientific studies. As a compact item when not in use it also fitted with storage limitations on board the ships and ashore.

The expedition made several short flights in a small plane, mapped the coastline of Antarctica and discovered Mac. Robertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land (which later became incorporated into the Australian Antarctic Territory). It was also a scientific quest, producing reports on geology, oceanography, meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, zoology and botany.

Mawson made proclamations of British sovereignty over Antarctic lands at each of the five landfalls and the territory was later handed to Australia. One proclamation was made on 5 January 1931 at Cape Denison, the site which Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition had occupied in 1912–13. A hand-written copy of the proclamation was left at the site, enclosed in a container made of food tins and buried beneath a cairn. The letter was retrieved in 1977 by an Australian Antarctic expedition, and is part of the Mawson collection at the National Museum of Australia. This dinghy is object number MT. 154 and is on display in the Mawson collection of the Australian Polar Collection and the History of Science Collection, at the Science Centre in the South Australian Museum, and represents Mawson’s detailed planning for his scientific work undertaken over many expeditions to Antarctica.

Vessel Details
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:open
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:paddle
Hull material and construction:fabric/framescanvas skin
Alternate Numbers

registration number: MT.154

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