- Museum number
Canoe, of wood or bark (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), very slightly hollowed with pointed ends.
- Production date
Height: 51 centimetres
Length: 430 centimetres (appx)
Width: 80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Information from Dr Ian Coates, National Museum of Australia:
The geologist JW Gregory, was Chair of the Department of Geology at Melbourne University from 1899 to 1904. He acquired this canoe during this time. In early 1905 he wrote to CH Read about donating this canoe to the British Museum:
‘Dear Mr Read
After some trouble I have got a genuine aboriginal Victorian bark canoe. It is 15 ft. long. I am going to do some experiments with it to test its properties as a canoe. After that would you care to have it for the Museum. [EC] Stirling of Adelaide Museum told me that he had been trying in vain for 12 years to get one, and Melbourne also has failed hitherto. There has been a great deal of palaver as to the inefficiency of these canoes, which is exaggerated; but I have never been able to get hold of any accurate published account of them.’
JW Gregory to CH Read, 16 January 1905 – Prehistory and Europe Archive, British Museum.
In 1906 he described the condition of the canoe, and his use of the craft on the Chelmer River in Essex:
‘The canoe was slightly damaged in Melbourne & a crack begun there was enlarged last week when using the canoe on the Chelmer. They have a short life, & this canoe had already seen fair service before its black owner parted with it. I thought it better to secure a canoe that had been used, rather than have a new one made. The punting pole is however new.’
JW Gregory to CH Read, 24 July 1906 – Prehistory and Europe Archive, British Museum.
Note – Gregory describes the canoe as being formed from ‘a slab of red gum bark’ - Eucalyptus camaldulensis
The canoe and punting pole (Oc1906,1015.2.a-c) came to the British Museum together in 1906 although they were probably made separately (see quote above).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number