Collapsible Pigeon Basket

Place Oceania: New Guinea
Accession Number RELAWM30794
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Leather; Cane; Wood; Metal; Masonite
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made 1939-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Collapsible carrier pigeon transport basket, to take up to ten or fifteen birds. The split cane basket is attached to a wooden frame with a masonite base. Each side of the basket is attached to the base with metal hinges so that it can be opened out flat for storage when not in use. The top and bottom of each side panel is constructed of woven cane but the centre panel is left bare with the cane uprights forming narrow 'windows' for ventilation and to allow the birds to look out. The woven cane lid to the basket is attached to each side by a pair of leather straps. A small trap door secured by heavy wire and a single leather strap is set into one side of the lid to allow individual birds to be removed. There is a cane bound carrying handle set behind the trap door as well as a leather carrying strap along the opposite long side. The lid has been reinforced and stabilised with lengths of heavy wire.

History / Summary

These baskets were used to transport carrier (messenger) pigeons in the field by Army Signals units. A small number of birds might then be placed in a smaller basket to be carried by a fighting unit or boat operating in coastal waters. Both the large and small versions of the basket had detachable feed and water troughs that could be attached to the long sides. The birds put their heads through the 'windows' to eat or drink.