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National Museum of Australia

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Model of Pearling Lugger Essey A52

2000.0007.0001

On display

Model of Pearling Lugger Essey A52

Object information

Physical description

A model of the pearl lugger Essey A52 made from painted and carved wood. The model includes rigging, sails, a life boat and an anchor. It is a deep hulled boat painted in green and black with two main masts painted white. The text '52' is adhered to both sides of the prow and a wooden cradle is affixed to the hull.

Statement of significance

The two model pearl luggers by Mr Savage from Moa Island are important elements of the Torres Strait Islander history. The pearling industry during the 1960s had a major economic and social impact on the Torres Strait and its people. The demand for pearl shells and pearls introduced an influx of European, Asian and other exporters to the Torres Strait.

Many Torres Strait Islanders became entrepreneurs and ran their own businesses. The pearling industry also extended to Western Australia where numerous Torres Strait Islander families found employment. Torres Strait Islanders maintained their connection to family and their homeland in the Torres Strait.

For many generations, model boat making has been a tradition amongst Torres Strait Islanders. Men and young boys race their models against each other and neighbouring island groups usually culminating at the annual boatfestival held in the Torres Strait. Model boats are made with exact precision and detailing including ensuring the model boats are sailable.

Physical description

On display at the National Museum of Australia.

Object information

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