Biography

Birth date: 1898
Birth place: United Kingdom: England, Greater London, Croydon
Death date: 23 March 1996
Death place: Australia: New South Wales

Robert Emerson Curtis was born in Croydon, England in 1898. His family migrated to Australia, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. In 1918, he moved to Brisbane where he worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for the Brisbane Mail. This work funded a trip to the United States in 1922, where Curtis studied art and undertook various commissions. It was during this time that he developed an interest in the industrial expansion occurring in Chicago. He was also influenced by the work of Joseph Pennell, an American lithographer and draughtsman, who studied industry and drew links between people and machines. Curtis returned to Australia in 1928, in time to record the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In 1940, Curtis gained permission from the Department of Information to depict activities in Commonwealth munition and aircraft factories. A selection of these drawings were reproduced in the Sydney Morning Herald, adding to Curtis' reputation as an artist interested in industry and commerce. In 1941, he joined the Department of Home Security, where he worked as a camouflage officer and was accredited for service with the RAAF. He was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea and seized every opportunity to record the activities of the Australian and American troops.

In January 1945, Curtis accepted an appointment as an official war artist. He covered the civil and industrial war effort in Australia, as well as the activities of the service organisations. Much of his work depicts shipbuilding, such as Army command boat in building (ART21361), a subject which gave him the opportunity to explore his interest in technological achievements. In these drawings, the men are dwarfed by the vessels upon which they work and yet are shown to be in control. The Australian War Memorial holds over two hundred works by Curtis.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Art (273)

Art

Army supply boats on assembly line

The assembly line at Halvorsen's Yard, Ryde, Parramatta River, NSW, showing Australian and Norwegian shipwrights constructing high speed boats for the Australian and American armies. All the craft are of timber construction and range from Fairmile motor launches to fast supply boats and search and...

ART21359

Halvorsens' boat building shop

Figures of men working on three boats in Halvorsens' boat yard, Ryde, Parramatta River. All the craft are of timber construction and range from Fairmile motor launches to fast supply boats and search and rescue launches for the RAAF.

ART21360

Army command boat in building

Army command boat under construction at Halvorsen's Yard, River, Ryde. All the craft are of timber construction and range from Fairmile motor launches to fast supply boats and search and rescue launches for the RAAF.

ART21361

Shipwrights shaping keels

Shipwrights shaping keels against a background of bulkheads at Halvorsen's Yard, Ryde, on the Parramatta River. The keels are constructed using Australian hardwoods, most commonly Black Butt and Spotted Gum. All the craft are of timber construction and range from Fairmile motor launches to fast...

ART21362

Skeleton of a 'Fairmile'

Prefabricated bulkheads and partially built hull of Fairmile motor torpedo boat at Halvorsen's Yard, River, Ryde (to be used by RAAF for air-sea rescue) In the background is the ribbed hull of a Fairmile. Her sides will be sheathed in a waterproof plywood skin. All the craft are of timber...

ART21363

"Fairmile" and RAAF rescue craft at wharf

The finished products in their official colours waiting to go out on tests. The Fairmil (background) is a submarine chaser and the other craft are Air-sea rescue craft of the Royal Australian Air Force. They have been constructed at Halveson's Shipbuilding Yard, Ryde, N.S.W. All the craft are of...

ART21364

Assembly line

Showing ships under constructions at Tulloch's shipbuilding yards, Parramatta River, Rhodes, N.S.W. Ships under construction are of steel and known as ocean going cargo ships for the American and Australia Army. They are the biggest of the small craft in use in army operations. They are fabricated...

ART21365

Bow section of ship

This bow section of ocean-going cargo ship is bieng lifted into position for the Australian or American Army at the Commonwealth Shipbuilding Establishment at Tulloch's Yards, River, Rhodes in New South Wales.

ART21366

Bow and stern

Commonwealth Shipbuilding Establishment; Tulloch's Yards, River, Rhodes; Bow and stern section of ocean-going cargo ship for Australian or American Army

ART21367

Outfitting vessels at Tulloch's

Two ships are tied together at the outfitting berth and the work proceeds on the 'internals', superstructure and the engine room. Engineer workers, electricians, plumbers, joiners, crane drivers, painters and dockers are all on the job together at this stage.

ART21368

Tulloch's ship yard

This shows the stern of a newly completed ship. A feature if the ships is a pair of 'goal post' mast serving as lifting gear. Ships are mounted on bogeys on a track. Down this shipway they are launched. Launching is an official ceremony performed in the presence of a minister of the church. A...

ART21369

Work and talk around the hatch

Men working and talking around the hatch. Curtis wrote of this image that: For recording exactly what I saw and with strict impartiality I was accused by the boilermakers afterwards of "undermining" the interests of the working man and threatened with immersion in the PARRAMATTA (sic.). This...

ART21370

"The rabbeter"

A Shipwright at work on the stern of an 85' wooden cargo vessel being built at Hayes and Sons boat building yard at Careening Cove, around Milson's Point, North Sydney, N.S.W. The finished shape of the vessel is indicated at this stage by the insertion of temporary frames. Hayes and Sons was a...

ART21371

Careening Cove

Near Milson's Point, North Sydney, N.S.W., the site of Hayes and Sons Boatbuilding Yards, where small craft are being built for war purposes.

ART21372

Research boat

This boat was designed and built by its owner, R.B Roberts, in the backyard of his home. Its construction has been sponsored by the Ministry of Munitions and assisted by the Army Inventions Directorate. The design features are mainly, a deep cutting section, forward and a non-drag stern. It is 20'...

ART21373

Flight deck party

The following picture was made during the visit of HMS "Ruler" to Sydney, when tied up at Pyrmont Wharf. For two days prior to departure she was taking aboard aircraft which had been recently repaired and serviced at a RAAF maintenance depot. They included Avengers, Hellcats, Corsairs, Seafires,...

ART21374

Loading aircraft to stern of flight deck

The following picture was made during the visit of HMS "Ruler" to Sydney, when tied up at Pyrmont Wharf. For two days prior to departure she was taking aboard aircraft which had been recently repaired and serviced at a RAAF maintenance depot. They included Avengers, Hellcats, Corsairs, Seafires,...

ART21375

Carrier leaving Sydney wharf

HMS Ruler with Grumman Avenger aircraft on deck, leaving wharf assisted by tug, Harbour Bridge in background.

ART21376

Even the laneways were used

Making finishing adjustments to an Australian Army refueling launch, built in a factory yard far from the water, Slazenger's, Sydney. Slazenger's, with a payroll of 400 engaged in the manufacture of sports goods converted to a war-time production of small vessels with a labour force of 1400....

ART21377

Lunch hour interlude in a factory street

Factory workers look on as a mobile crane places a new 'refueling launch' on to a jinker for haulage down to the bay, Slazenger's, Alexandria, Sydney. The vessel has been built for the Australian Army by Slazenger's, the peace-time tennis racquet manufacturers, at the factory at Alexandria, some...

ART21378

Launching a new army boat into Rozelle Bay

Launching by means of a mobile crane, a vessel built by Slazenger's, on the outbreak of war, converted from a tennis racquet makers to the builders of small ships and the craft they built had to be transported by road from their factory in Alexandria to the water. Rozelle Bay, Parramatta River,...

ART21379

Motor tow-boat on assembly jig

At Slazenger's, Alexandria, Sydney. 300 of these 26-ft motor towboats have gone into service of the U.S and Australian Armies and the British and Australian Navies, from this firm alone.

ART21380

A cluster of scows at outfitting berth

These have been built for service in the islands for the Royal Australian Air Force by Slazengers, formerly sports goods manufacturers now builders of small craft for the Australian, British and American Services. These craft are 56' long and of shallow draft for safe navigation in rivers and coral...

ART21381

Communications Commander Archibald McLachlan

Telegraphist Commander Archibald D McLachlan, MBE, Commanding, Naval wireless transmitting station, H.M.A.S Harman, Canberra.

ART21382

Important aircraft

Washing down the Governor -General's 4 engined "Endeavour" in the Royal Hangar at the Royal Australian Air Force Airfield, Canberra. In the background is the old "Southern Cross" that had been spruced up for a film. The Late Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith was first to fly this 3 engine plane over the...

ART21383

Winter storms over Canberra airfield

Netherlands East Indies Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force personnel employed on servicing a squadron of Mitchell bombers of the Dutch Air Force, make for shelter at the end of the day.

ART21384

1st Lieutenant W. F. A Winckel N. E.I

When a Japanese submarine was seen off the N.S.W coast early in 1942, Winckel hunted it down, bombed and sank it - the first enemy submarines to be destroyed by aerial attack in Australian waters. Winckel is of Dutch ancestry and was born in Java. Netherlands East Indies Air Force; 1st Lieutenant W...

ART21385

Mixed nationalities on Canberra airfield

Depicts a Javanese airman, Corporal Djadi, and Sergeant Major Weertman from Zwolle, a member of the Dutch air force, checking over and servicing an American Curtiss p-40 Kittyhawk aeroplane at the RAAF airfield in Canberra, May 1945.

ART21386

Mike-four-shot-over

In an Army Co-operation lecture room, Royal Australian Air Force personnel undergo instructions in artillery reconnaissance on a miniature range. Communications between air-crew and artillery posts are all given in code; thus "Mike-four-shot-over" refers to a particular target shown at the end of...

ART21387

Ground staff in the making

Young recruits of the Royal Australian Air Force receiving their first basic training in mechanics and bench work from civilian instructors at the Canberra Technical College.

ART21388

Smoko

A group of A.C.1 trainees of the Royal Australian Air Force at the Canberra Technical College cluster around the coke stove between classes to discuss their notes and other matters. Such groups are recruited from all parts of the Commonwealth

ART21389

Duntroon landscape

Showing military exercises on the hill and Parade Ground. The old station homestead is seen on the extreme right. In the background is Canberra's Fairbairn Airfield and the Molonglo River winding through richly cropped paddocks of young wheat and stock fodder.

ART21390

Dr Richard van der Riet Woolley

Dr Richard van de Riet Woolley, Commonwealth Astronomer, member Commonwealth Optical Munitions panel, Chief Executive Army Inventions Directorate, Department of the Army, making observations from the Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mount Stromlo, Canberra. Under the direction of Dr Woolley during...

ART21391

The Observatory, Mount Stromlo

Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Canberra. The Observatory stands on the crest of a hill on the edge of a large belt of pine, planted under a reforestation scheme, in the heart of the Federal Territory.

ART21392

Prisms for guns

Prisms for guns a drawing from the series 'Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mount Stromlo, Canberra'. Prisms were used for binoculars and periscopes. Stromlo's Optical Lens Department produced the prisms. The hands are those of Arthur Powell, an Australian employed by the Observatory at Mount...

ART21393

The Indispensible Mr Malichar

Portrait of Mr. Malichar, working in a laboratory at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mount Stromlo. The artist, R. Emerson Curtis noted of this work: "Born in Vienna, Mr. Malichar came to Australia in 1910. A man of artistic talent and many trades, he has been successively a sailor, ship's...

ART21396

Corner of the old Duntroon homestead

Built of stone and hand wrought timbers, this sturdy old home is now Military Staff Headquarter and Officers Mess of the Royal Australian Military College, Duntroon, Canberra.

ART21398

Carrier bow

Depicts an aircraft carrier, with Grumman Avenger aircraft on flight deck, Harbour Bridge in background. For two days prior to departure she was taking aboard aircraft which had been recently repaired and serviced at a RAAF maintenance depot. They included Avengers, Hellcats, Corsairs, Seafires,...

ART21476

Female Signaller-control tower, Canberra Airfield

Depicts half figure of woman in profile holding signaling lamp up to eye. The artist made this sketch while visiting the control tower at Canberra airfield.

ART28131

Male Signaller, Control Tower, Canberra Airfield

Depicts head and shoulders of man in profile holding signalling lamp up to eye. The artist made this sketch in the control tower at Canberra airfield.

ART28132

Duntroon types

A group portrait of Australian soldiers standing side on looking into the distance; verso: A rough sketch of three soldiers and a field gun.

ART28133

Aircraftman 1 Kenneth Brown, Canberra

Depicts half figure portrait of man facing left, holding something in hands.

ART28134

RAAF Orchestra Cairns camp

Depicts audience in front of open air stage holding orchestra. Mountains outlined behind and sickle moon. The artist has added touches to this work since as evidenced by the darker (fresher) ink here and there, including the signature which was formerly in pencil.

ART28135

The "Hobby" hour - Uralla Hospital

Depicts scene with large hospital building in background and queue of men, some on crutches in front of low building at left. The artist has added touches of shading in biro ink since.The sighature and inscription have also been added since, over an earlier one in pencil.

ART28136

Flight Lieutenant Lawrence Brown

Depicts figure of man in bed as seen from bed-end. Crutches propped against bed.

ART28137

The pay line, RAAF Airfield, Canberra

Depicts a line of men and women queued in front of window in hangar. Water colour used in all blue tones.

ART28138

Carrier clean-up, Graving Dock, Sydney

Depicts bows of ship, men on rafts below cleaning ship's sides with long handled brushes; dockside and crane in distance. The artist has added touches of shading in biro ink since.

ART28139

Troops disembarking Sydney

Depicts from quay side of large passenger liner, all decks full of waving figures. Other figures descending gang-plank with packs.

ART28142

Posted 2 A.C.Ws Canberra

Depicts two women in uniform caps and overcoats seated on Bench, one dejectedly with chin in hand.

ART28143

An A.C.W, Canberra, HMAS Harman

Depicts smiling faced women in uniform overalls and beret propped up on desk top, with telephone.

ART28144

Aircraftwoman M Gillam, Meteorological Office, Canberra

Portrait of Aircraftwoman 93723 Margaret Gillam, Royal Australian Air Force, in profile facing left, wearing uniform overcoat, scarf and beret, Canberra.

ART28145

Tank manouvres

Depicts two tanks moving towards right.

ART28146

Sketch for "Landing onto aircraft carrier, Sydney 1943"

Depicts a sketch for "Loading onto aircraft carrier", and bridge area, Sydney.

ART28147

Landing aircraft on carrier

Depicts dock with side of ship, small aircraft being lifted onto ship by crane of ship.

ART28148

Sketch - Canberra Airfield arrival of V.I.P's

Depicts a group of figures standing beside wheel of plane with huge wing rearing above their heads across the page, a car to the right.

ART28149

Control tower, Canberra Airfield

Depicts three figures in air control tower; one standing with signalling apparatus to eye, another seated watching, and a third, female, partly obscured, on telephone. Numerous aircraft on the tarmac outside, Mount Ainslie in the background.

ART28150

recto: Mounting Anti-aircraft gun on a Ford built landing barge, Brisbane River ; verso: not titled [tank and soldier]

recto: Depiction of men mounting anti-aircraft gun on a Ford built barge tied up against wharf, Brisbane River, Queensland. verso: unfinished rough sketch of a tank and a soldier in the centre of the sheet.

ART28151

Wartime boat building yards, Hunter River, Newcastle

Depicts a number of boats with men working on them, carrying timber to them. The artist has penciled in colour instructions over cartoon, Hunter River, Newcastle, New South Wales.

ART28152

De-mobbed- what now?

Head and shoulders portrait of ex-airman "Pat" wearing a white singlet standing in front of his cows.

ART28153

Anti-aircraft guns-production line, Commonwealth Munitions, Vic

Depicts a large hall with rows of large anti-aircraft guns, Commonwealth Munitions Factory, Victoria.

ART28154

Building army tanks

Depicts a large factory hall with a series of army tanks. One tilted up showing tracks, men working, Commonwealth Munitions, Melbourne.

ART28155

Forging shells

Depicts a large factory hall. In the foreground rows of shells. Men working at machine with large spanners holding shell in machine.

ART28156

Boomerang Pilot

A portrait of a Boomerang Pilot in Papua New Guinea.

ART28167.001

Douglas Walker

A portrait of Douglas Walker in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.

ART28167.002

Flight Lieutenant John Hipwell

A portrait of Flight Lieutenant John Buckland Hipwell from the Royal Australian Airforce radar unit in Gusap, Papua New Guinea.

ART28167.003

Goodenough Air Strip, Camoufleur Colin Wyatt

A jeep and aircraft at Goodenough Air Strip. Camoufleur Colin Wyatt stands to the right against a tree looking into the distance. Wyatt was assigned to Goodenough Island in December 1943 along with George Adams, John Robertson and Clement Searle and undertook mobile field services for the RAAF.

ART28167.004

Sergeant Deeble Rogers, Skipper of 'Nuginco'

A portrait of Sergeant Deeble Rogers the skipper of 'Nuginco'. This portrait was done whilst onboard the 'Nuginco' travelling from Milne bay to Goodenough Island.

ART28167.005

Corporal 'Blue' Ludlow

A portrait of Corporal Ludlow known as 'Blue' on board the 'Nuginco' in Papua New Guinea.

ART28167.006

The MO, Dr Allan McKay, RAAF

A portrait of the MO Dr Allen McKay of the Royal Australian Air Force in Goodenough Island, New Guinea.

ART28167.007

Leading Aircraftman N S Britton

Leading Aircraftman N S Britton operating the radio on board the 'Nuginco'.

ART28167.008

recto: Major Nevill verso: In the church of Nasing Alatu

recto: A print of a pencil portrait of Major Nevill an engineer with the US 6th Army in Finschhaffen, New Guinea. Verso: Drawing of two carved Papua New Guinean wooden totem poles in a church in Nasing Alatu, Papua New Guinea.

ART28167.009

GI's clearing Kunai around US army headquarters, Finschhafen

GI's clearing Kunai grass from around the 6th US Army Headquarters in Finschhafen, New Guinea. The headquarters are a native New Guinean church.

ART28167.010

Picture night - Milne Bay

Depiction of soldiers watching a film out-of-doors, Milne Bay, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an official war artist Curtis worked with...

ART28169.001

Reception of first 4 Engine Douglas to land at Milne Bay

Depiction of the reception of the first 4 engined Douglas Dakota aircraft to land at Milne Bay airfield, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as...

ART28169.002

Australian troops boarding an LST

Depicts Australian troops disembarking trucks and boarding an LST (Landing ship/s tank), Goodenough Island, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment...

ART28169.003

RAAF "Works" Squadron boarding LST

Depicts troops boarding an LST (Landing ship/s tank), Goodenough Island. One of 8 drawings in a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an official war artist Curtis worked with the...

ART28169.004

Landing U.S troops and supplies at Finschhafen

Depicts the landing of U.S troops and supplies at Finschhafen prior to invasion of New Britain, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an...

ART28169.005

Unloading a "Liberty" ship in Dreger Harbour

Depicts the view of barges, moving from shore to ship, unloading a Liberty ship in Dreger Harbour, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an...

ART28169.006

A bit of home news

Depicts soldier sitting on the deck of a small U.S. landing craft reading a paper. The landing craft is parked somewhere along the east New Guinea coast. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years...

ART28169.007

Sunday - Goodenough Island

Depicts groups of American and Australian soldiers going to church, Goodenough Island, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist ' Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an official war...

ART28169.008

recto: Caught off-guard verso: More profiles...

One of three sheets from a folio entitled by the artist ' On the Camouflage Trail with Australian and American Forces in New Guinea 1943-44'. The artist attached sketches executed on lined paper from government issue notebooks and orderly room paper to both sides of these folio sheets with...

ART28170.002

Mad Mike again! (Sergeant Michael Coleridge)

Portrait of 4410230 Sergeant Michael 'Mad Mike' Coleridge, Vung Tau, Vietnam. An Army Public Relations photographer, Fletcher has painted Coleridge crouched in the grass with a Bell and Howell Filmo 70DR 16mm movie camera. Coleridge served in Vietnam from 19 November 1966 to 21 November 1967.

ART28506

Fleet of Bren Carriers ready for delivery to an Australian Tank Corps

A fleet of Bren gun carriers ready for delivery to an Australian Tanks Corps, manufactured by the Victorian Railway Munitions Annexe, Melbourne.

ART23061

Forging a gun barrel for a 3.7" anti-aircraft gun

In 1940 with permits from the Department of Information artist R Emerson Curtis visited the Commonwealth Munitions area on the heights above the Maribynong River, Melbourne. The first area he was taken to was the gun making section of the plant. At the time they were making anti-aircraft guns. This...

ART23062

On the assembly floor

Drawn on the assembly floor of the Commonwealth Ordnance Workshop, showing high precision drilling machines and racks of newly turned anti-aircraft gun barrels. The artist was given a tour by the General Manager ' a pale but amicable man in his sixties' through a series of bays where all the...

ART23063

Shell-tapering machine

First subject chosen by the artist during his visit to the Commonwealth Ordnance Workshops. 'On the following day I chose the big electric drop-hammer for my first drawing. Lumps of red-hot steel were clawed out of furnaces by groups of sweating fellows armed with long tongs- blacksmith's of our...

ART23064

Two Australian built A/A guns being checked over before testing in the field

Scene inside the Commonwealth Ordnance Workshops showing two Australian built anti-aircraft guns being checked over before testing in the field. One of three drawings in the collection made by the artist during his tour of Commonwealth Munitions facilities in 1940. It shows the assembly floor to be...

ART23065

The first all Australian built 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun

Depicts a drawing of the first all Australian built 3.7 anti-aircraft gun, Commonwealth Ordnance workshop, Maribyrnong, Melbourne. The artist went to great lengths to get the angle of this gun raised three feet as he felt that the level was too low to make an effective picture. After his request...

ART23066

The blast furnace

Depicts a drawing of the blast furnace at the steel mills of Broken Hill Proprietary Company, Port Kembla, NSW.

ART23067

Girls at work; cutting, machining, polishing, testing millions of bullets

Women were employed exclusively in the small arms section of the large Commonwealth Small Arms Factory in Footscray. Emerson Curtis captured this impression from the elevated vantage of a chair on top of a table much to the amusement of the women. He described the scene as '... a congested place...

ART23069

Pouring brass ingots for the production of shell cases

The pouring of brass ingots for the production of shell cases at the Commonwealth Brass Foundry, Footscray. The artist spent at least three days at the Foundry and he described the workers as ' thick and tough, blackened with falling ash, their stained and grimy faces gleaming with sweat. For half...

ART23070

Cordite sheeting machine

In 1940 Emerson Curtis visited the Commonwealth Explosives Factory, at Maribyrnong, Melbourne. He described the works as '...five to six hundred separate buildings, each designed for some special purpose...divided by concreted walks, tunnels, gates or high earthen mounds. There were sections...

ART23072

Filling trench mortar shells with T. N. T. high explosive

Trinitrotoluene (or TNT) was the most commonly used explosive in the Allied forces. This drawing shows it being poured into shells in a liquid form in order that the whole space of the shell was occupied by the explosive, thereby ensuring the maxium blast effect. The artist wrote ' The...

ART23073

Taking a sample of T. N. T.

Trinitrotoluene (or TNT) was the most commonly used explosive by the Allied forces. It had a high blast effect and had the advantage of being handled in liquid form for filling purposes, later cooling to a solid. Curtis captured workers in the proccess of taking samples of the dangerous material...

ART23074

Overhauling a Wirraway

One of six drawings in the collection made by Emerson Curtis at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Factory, Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne.

ART23075

Making final adjustments to a Wackett trainer monoplane

Curtis was shown around the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Factory, Melbourne, by Wing Commander Lawrence Wackett (1896-1982) who ' ...took me under his wing and eagle like "flew" me around the shops. I'll never forget that first walk through the factory, Wackett's swift, purposeful stride, his...

ART23076

A corner of the main assembly floor,

A corner of the main assembly floor showing Australian built Gannets and Wirraways, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Factory, Melbourne.

ART23077

Wirraways on the main assembly floor

Wirraways on the main assembly floor at the Commonwealth Aircraft Factory, Melbourne. Curtis was shown around the factory by Wing Commander Lawrence Wackett (1896-1982) who ' ...took me under his wing and eagle like. "flew" me around the shops. I'll never forget that first walk through the...

ART23078

An Australian built aircraft on the assembly line

Portrait of an Australian built aircraft engine on the assembly line, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Factory at Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne. In 1940 the artist toured the facility with Wing Commander Wackett and described visiting the foundry where the aircraft parts were poured and cast and the...

ART23080

The glory hole, Mt Isa

A mined-out section provides the fantastic impression of five giant columns and lintel staring upwards from the depth where they have collapsed like some half-buried Egyptian temple. The whole cut was poured full of colour and marked with curious striations. At one end mine tailings from...

ART25543

Miners waiting to go underground, Mt Isa

Depicts a drawing of a group of miners waiting to go underground, Mt Isa, Queensland. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train he captured a rich visual record of the extensive wartime activities,...

ART25544

Mt Isa mines township

The mines community in neat, screened bungalows surrounded by well watered gardens and trees. There are modern bachelor living quarters, mess halls, recreation clubs, stores, bank and post office. On the other side of the ridge and the Leichhardt River lies the original township. Both are served by...

ART25545

Copper for war, Mt Isa

A green pyramid of copper concentrate, preparatory to smelting. From Mt Isa in the far north west of Queensland came a steady supply of melted copper to meet the demands of war. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland....

ART25546

Miner, Mount Isa (Jack Thorburn)

Mr Jack Thorburn, New Zealand born, has been a miner all his life. Underground was the only world he knew and liked best. As Underground Superintendent, Mount Isa Mines he spent most of his time below the surface. Generous but firm, he had the biggest ears the artist had seen on a man and the flesh...

ART25547

Mines landscape, Mt Isa

Hard spinifex-tufted ridges were rich in minerals essential for war. First zinc, and lead - then copper for wartime usages, had transformed an isolated belt of western Queensland into a modern hive of industry. A neat cluster of mine buildings, a long-legged haulage shaft, an aggressive chimney...

ART25548

The mill, Mt Isa

The sun sears, the winds scorch; there is a sharp geometric pattern in a landscape of iron buildings, a mammoth water tank, the long legs of a haulage shaft, a great smoke stack and a road sliced out of a rock face. But it's logical arrangement and the burning colour of the west gives it purpose...

ART25549

Smelting copper at night, Mt Isa

These twin converters are pouring molten copper into blister moulds for shipment to the coast.

ART25550

The narrow-gauge, one-truck railway bridge into Townsville

Over this small bridge, crossing Ross Creek, passed all troops and war equipment entering north by train. Dominating the port of Townsville is Castle Hill, towering almost 1,000' above the bay. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of...

ART25551

Locomotive under repair during wartime

The workshop in Townsville was built in 1893; a solid structure with an elegant iron grille at each end - a contrast to present day prefabricated methods of building. Mount Stewart is visible in the background.

ART25552

The ballast engine

In coastal country swept by torrential rains and subject to flooded rivers, the rail bed must be kept in constant repair. Despite the war enormous loads of material moved north and south over rail beds built originally for much lighter traffic.

ART25553

The train wreck, wartime

The train wreck during wartime, Queensland.

ART25554

Destruction by flood of Inkerman Railway Bridge

Near Ayr, with the loss of a goods train, two lives and many cattle, North Queensland.

ART25555

Troop train crossing Herbert River Bridge during floods

This somewhat perilous crossing was made after the bridge had been tested and the flood waters were receding.

ART25556

These three locomotives also served

A night scene in the Roundhouse at Rockhampton Railway Yards. The engine in the foreground is a U.S.A Lend Lease locomotive, a small number of which were shipped from America during the war. The two other are well known Queensland types - a B 18 1/2 and a PB 15, both passenger class. Throughout...

ART25557

The water train

Vital to drought stricken area in inland Queensland, water trains must run year in year out and in peace time or war.

ART25558

Vincent Hall, chief engineer of Queensland railways during war

Depicts a portrait of Mr Vincent Hall, Chief Engineer Queensland Railways, Queensland.

ART25559

Victor Martin, engine driver, Queensland railways

Depicts a drawing of Mr Victor Martin, engine driver; part of foot plate of steam locomotive, Queensland.

ART25560

Australian troops returning south rush the dining room, Rockhampton

During the war the Queensland Government Railway system transported armies and fighting material. The single track system extended from Brisbane in the south to the Atherton Tableland in the north. As many as 98 trains would pass through Rockhampton on one day, more than one every fifteen minutes...

ART25562

Northward bound troop train pauses at Rockhampton for lunch at the station and a beer or two at the Terminus Hotel

Northbound troop train pauses at Rockhampton for lunch at the station and a beer or two at the Terminus Hotel. This elegant station was built in England and shipped to Queensland during the latter part of last century. The consignment included the duplication of all main structural parts and...

ART25563

War freight in shunting yards

Rockhampton has the largest railway yards and workshops in Central Queensland. As many as 98 trains have passed through here in one day during the height of the war, which meant more than one train every 15 minutes on a single narrow gauge track system.

ART25564

War supply trains moving through Central Station, Brisbane

All southern supplies moving northward into the war zone had to be transhipped to narrow gauge rolling stock in Brisbane yards. Notice the concrete block-house air-raid shelters down the centre of the street.

ART25565

Bob Weber of Maryborough

Depicts a portrait of Mr Robert David (Bob) Weber, works manager, Walker's Limited, engineering and shipbuilding works, Queensland.

ART25566

Building Corvette, Mary River Maryborough

At one end of the town of Maryborough are the engineering works and shipbuilding yards of Walkers Limited, a very old Queensland firm building locomotives, sugar mill machinery, ships and every kind of mechanical equipment. Maryborough is some distance from the sea.

ART25567

Building Lighters for the Navy at MacKay

A new type of flat bottom 50 ton steel lighter was in construction at MacKay when the war against Japan came to and end. Designated a "lock-up" lighter, they made a colourful study in a coat of red and blue paint.

ART25568

Green Point Navy yard, tugs, barges and Military Hospital, Parramatta River

Green Point Navy Yards, tugs, barges and Military Hospital on the Parramatta River. The largest building in the background is No. 113 Australian General Hospital at Concord, Sydney.

ART25569

Final touches to a steel tug, Hexham, Hunter River

At J & A Brown's boat yard, where the first Australian all-welded ship was built. Here also was engineered the 'revolving jig' method of construction, to ensure all over 'down-hand' welding, Hexham, Hunter River, New South Wales.

ART25571

Launching a steel tug-boat, Broadside, BHP yard

Depicting the unusual method of launching at the Steel Mills Yard of the Broken Hill Proprietory Company. Each boat is launched completely fitted out and ready to go into service, Newcastle, New South Wales.

ART25572

Tug boat assembly line, Steel Mills Yard, Newcastle

An interesting feature of this yard was the outfitting of each vessel before launching. They are 85' in length and intricately fitted and have been completed and launched ready for the Navy to take over in 16 working days - a remarkable achievement for a small boat building yard.

ART25573

Steel tug-boats in Steel Mills yard, Newcastle

Depicts a drawing of steel tug boats under construction at the Steel Mills yard in Newcastle, New South Wales.

ART25574

Stern of liberty ship in floating dock, Newcastle

'Liberty' ships; stern view of 'Liberty' ship in floating dock

ART25575

HMAS "Condamime" at fitting-out berth, State Dockyard, Newcastle

HMAS "Condamine at fitting-out berth, State Dockyards, Newcastle, New South Wales.

ART25576

The Basin, Newcastle in wartime

Throughout the war against Japan, the Hunter River at Newcastle was packed with ships. There was seldom an unoccupied berth in the Basin and constant dredging of river sand was a routine job.

ART25577

Boyd of Swansea, Lake Macquarie (James Boyd)

Depicts a portrait of Mr James Lewis Boyd, boatbuilder, Lake Macquarie.

ART25578

Skeleton of wooden freighter, Boyd's Yard, Lake Macquarie

Three 85' ocean going wooden freighters stand on the stocks (two not in picture) their sterns to the lake, their prows overshadowing Boyd's front verandah, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

ART25579

Joseph Glover, Aboriginal benchman, Ryan's shipyard

Depicts a portrait of Mr Joseph Glover, Aboriginal, Benchman at Ryan's Shipyard, Brown's Creek, Taree. Before the war Glover toured Australia making a living in local agricultural shows as a champion wood chopper.

ART25580

Ryan's Shipyard, Brown's Creek, Taree

In a rural setting of rich dairy lands, some distance for the sea, Ryan's builds his 45' wooden tugboats for the Australian Navy, Taree, New South Wales.

ART25581

Elijah Lamb of Lismore

Barnes Shipbuilding Yard; Mr Elijah Lamb, boat builder making tugboats

ART25582

The US flag flies at the mast of Australian - built tug boat, Ballina

A tug boat, made by Barnes and launched on the Clarence River at Lismore, lies up after a storm in Ballina with a damaged propeller. A bleak wintry wind sweeps across the town at the mouth of the Clarence. It is Sunday and the American skipper entertains a few friends on board.

ART25583

Ygosse's boat yard, Toowong, Brisbane River

Perhaps because the owner of this yard was a Dutchman, most of his wartime output was turned over to the Dutch Army in the Pacific. Almost completely screened by luxuriant vegatation, this was typical of numbers of small peacetime yards converted to war work, Brisbane.

ART25584

Invasion barges at launching bay, Boggy Creek, Brisbane

The development of these all-welded steel landing barges was the work of the Ford Motor Company in Brisbane in conjunction with naval and military engineers. The first barge to be built measured only 32' in length. When two of these were tied together in order to transport a bull-dozer across...

ART25585

C E Crowley, boatbuilder

Depicts a portrait of Mr C E Crowley, boat builder, contract for refuelling barges, Brisbane. The proprietor of a boat building yard on the Brisbane River who was completing a war contract to build refuelling barges.

ART25586

Crowley's yard, Brisbane River

Seven of the eighteen employees in this yard are apprentices learning the trade and continuing with their studies at night school. In this small yard Crowley has built sailing craft, power boats, repaired wheat ships and is now completing a war contract of refuelling barges, Brisbane.

ART25587

Battered on active service

From Norman Wright's boatyard at Bulimba, one looks across the river to Bowen Hill's crowned by a large dance hall and band rotunda. An antiquated side wheeler, 'The Hetherington,' now a steam driven ferry, bucks the swift current.

ART25588

Wartime along Breakfast Creek, Brisbane

Two refuelling launches emerge from the shadows of an old boatyard. A new Royal Australian Air Force rescue craft lies alongside, gleaming in fresh paint. Little peacetime boats rub shoulders against the narrowing banks of the muddy creek where explorer Oxley is supposed to have stopped one morning...

ART25589

Shipbuilding along Brisbane River

Navy ships and a freighter tied up at the outfitting berth of Evan Deakin's Shipbuilding yard in Brisbane. Small American landing barges ride on the mud. The storey Bridge and the houses of Bowen Terrace beyond look down on this new wartime activity.

ART25590

Arrival of Gloucesters in Royal Aircraft, Canberra

H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, when Governor-General of Australia made constant flights from State to State during the war period, invariably accompanied by H.R.H the Duchess of Gloucester. Their return to Canberra was marked by only the simplest formalities as may be seen in this picture.

ART25591

Death for a neighbour on Banya St, Bulimba

A pile of goulish-eyed monsters that had once seen action as Flying Fortresses, Liberators and 'Biscuit Bombers' lay rusting in a crumpled heap beside a little suburban house. The junk is part of an American aircraft salvage dump; inside the shack there was a birthday party in progress, children...

ART25592

Workmen's ferry for Chinese war-workers, Brisbane River

Rushing for the ferry, the mob of yelling Chinese, once part of the crew of ships destroyed in the war, were employed by the U.S. Army as labourers. Hundreds of them worked along the Brisbane Waterfront.

ART25593

Leading Teleprinter Operator, Patricia Scott-Stevenson

Depicts a portrait of WR/868 Leading Teleprinter Operator Patricia Scott-Stevenson, serving at HMAS Harman, a shore signals establishment of the Royal Australian Navy, Canberra.

ART25594

Steel mills skyline, Newcastle

View of a section on Newcastle's heavy industry, busily engaged on the production of war materials.

ART25595

Monument to destruction in a Brisbane suburb

An American aircraft salvage dump at Bulimba, Queensland. The torn fuselages and twisted junk of engine parts are 'boiled' down and converted back into metal suitable mainly for saucepans.

ART25596

Dawn take-off of the 'Dougs' from Garbutt

Douglas planes of a Royal Australian Air Force Transport Squadron take off for the forward areas with their load of troops and supplies from Garbett Airfield, one of the busiest air fields in Australia.

ART25597

Pre-dawn muster, Garbutt airfield, Townsville

All ranks of Australian and American troops bound for overseas and active service, wait outside the old Air Transport shed to listen for their names to be called over the loud speaker by an American corporal. Garbutt airfield was the best known departure and arrival point for troops travelling...

ART25598

Lawson's wartime timber yard, Tully

Lawson's wartime timber mill at Tully, North Queensland. The huge kauri logs seen in the foreground will be stripped into plywood sheets by a rotary lathe. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train...

ART25599

Timber cutter's camp Kirrima Range Highway

The timber industry in Queensland forests were working at top pressure thoughout the war to satiate the demands for timber by the armed forces.

ART25600

Gunnawarra Aborigines, North Queensland

A team of five unidentified aboriginal stockmen milling cypress pine for the construction of cattle yards on Gunnawarra cattle station, with the use of a circular saw and a tractor, near Mount Garnett.

ART25601

Highway through Kauri pine country, Kirrima Range

In the tropical scrub, inland from Cardwell, a new highway has been built, down which monster trucks and jinkers haul out enormous kauri logs, delivering them at the Kennedy Mill, where rotary lathes strip most of them into ply-wood sheets for Defence purposes.

ART25602

Loading kauri logs on jinker, Kirrima Range

Loading Kauri logs into jinker for transport to Kennedy Mill and production into war material, Kirrima Range, North Queensland.

ART25603

Tractors snigging

Tractors snigging logs onto the ' bull ring' in the Tinaroo Ranges, North Queensland. Tractors are used to haul out the log from where it fell to a cleared are for loading onto the jinkers which transport the logs to the mill.

ART25604

Dan, (Daniel Buckley) forest overseer of Dimbulah

Depicts a portrait of Daniel Basil Buckley, forest overseer, who felled maples for aircraft production, North Queensland.

ART25605

Joe the axeman (Joseph Fletcher)

Depicts a portrait of Joseph Ethelbert Fletcher, timber feller, who felled kauri pine in the forests of North Queensland and had earlier driven bulldozers for the American Army.

ART25606

Stripping Kauti plywood with a rotary lathe, Kennedy Mill

Depicts men stripping kauti plywood with a rotary lathe at the Kennedy Mill, North Queensland.

ART25607

The chaff cutters, Gunnawarra Station, North Queensland

Depicts a drawing of unidentified men cutting chaff, an ancient method of cutting chaff at "Gunnawarra," a large cattle station near Mount Garnett, North Queensland.

ART25608

Jackaroo's saddle "Gunnawarra"

"Gunnawarra" is a large cattle station near Mount Garnett, North Queensland.

ART25609

Cattle dipping, 'Gunnawarra'

Showing cattle being driven through a dip containing chemicals to eradicate tick and other animal parasites. The cattle are completely immersed at least once during their journey through the trough, "Gunnawarra Catlle Station, near Mount Garnett, North Queensland.

ART25610

D Day, Aboriginal stockman, Gunnawarra Cattle Station

Mr D Day, aboriginal stockman at Gunnawarra Station, Mount Garnet, North Queensland.

ART25611

Young dairy farmer, Monto (Norman Greenup)

Depicts a portrait of Mr Norman Brodie Greenup, was drawn after he had returned to the land following services in North Africa, Malta and England as a Royal Australian Air Force volunteer with the Royal Air Force.

ART25612

Burning off stubble, Black soil country,Darling Downs

Burning off stubble, black soil country, Darling Downs, Queensland.

ART25613

The big chimney, Mt Morgan

At the open cut mine were copper and gold is produced, Mount Morgan, Queensland.

ART25614

The open cut, Mt Morgan Mines

On the uppermost bench in one corner of Mount Morgan's great open cut, an electric shovel loads a truck with ore, while in the background the Lilliputian figures of miners hang by ropes over the sheer sides of the mountain to lay their explosive charges. The centre of the mountain has been gouged...

ART25615

All services canteen Mackay

This canteen was the voluntary effort of the women of Mackay. It stood alongside the railway station and throughout the war it never closed, day or night. Its welcome hot meals will not be forgotten by thousands of Australian and American service personnel passing through Mackay

ART25616

Dredging for Tin on the Herbert River, Mt Garnett

Inland, on the upper reaches of the Herbert River, rich deposits of tin were extracted by modern dredges during the war years.

ART25617

Road bridge over the Fitzroy

The main road link with the north, this bridge was designed and built in England for use in India during the last century but an alteration of the plan diverted it to Australia where it was erected over the Fitzroy River. Even the ornate facade of the nearby Criterion Hotel suggest in its design a...

ART25618

Power from Barron Falls

Hydro electric power generated at the foot of the Barron Falls supplies light and energy to many North Queensland towns; a train struggles up the gorge with troops on its way to the tablelands.

ART25619

V-J Day at country school house

Hoisting the Australian flag to celebrate victory over Japan, school teacher and children muster to sing the National Anthem, North Queensland.

ART25620

Demolishing a concrete air raid shelter

During the war these block-house shelters planted down the centre of wide Queensland streets were a feature of many towns.

ART25621

A Queensland house goes for a ride

This house, which stood in the way of a newly planned airstrip, had to be hauled away to another site.

ART25622

Lighthouse at Cooktown

The lighthouse throws its beam over the Coral Sea and returns, after four years, to its peacetime coat of paint. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train he captured a rich visual record of the...

ART25623

Cooktown 1945

Looking south across the mouth of the historic Endeavour River to the northerly township of Queensland. A radar station and a lighthouse crowning the summit of Grassy Hill, swept the Coral Sea. Along the beach is a monument to Captain Cook who landed here on June 17th 1770 to repair his small three...

ART25624

Officers and men of Catalina Squadron playing basketball

Showing personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force stationed at the Catalina flying boat base at Trinity Inlet, relaxing during the day. They were operating nightly over New Guinea.

ART25625

A "Black cat" returning from night raid over New Guinea, dips low over hides' roof

Hide's hotel, well known to northern tourists before the war, was the first living quarters in Cairns for pilots and officers of the Royal Australian Air Force Catalina Squadron operating from Trinity Inlet, Cairns, North Queensland.

ART25626

Officer's mess, home of the flying-boat squadrons, Cairns

From this typical North Queensland house, young fliers of the Royal Australian Air Force went out nightly on bombing missions over New Guinea, to return when the sun was up, to a meal and a long sleep on the spacious old verandah. To these lads the old home on the waterfront looked very sweet - the...

ART25627

First Australian prisoners of war from Malaya arrive in Cairns by catalinas

Large numbers of Australian prisoners of war are arriving at the wharf in Cairns and being greeted by Australian officers and soldiers in uniform. A genial major reassures a POW who has misplaced his hat and boots. On the wharf the women of Cairns provide welcome refreshments and across the bay can...

ART25628

"Wharf sitting"

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force and one American, all with island postings after peace with Japan was declared, wait dejectedly for air transport.

ART25629

The big figtree in Abbott street

Beneath its great branches, an ugly concrete air-raid shelter stood during the war years, Cairns, Queensland.

ART25630

RAAF ground crew overhauling a Mariner's engines on improvised slipway, Trinity Inlet, Cairns

RAAF ground crew working on engines of Martin Mariner flying boat on an improvised slipway, Trinity Inlet, Cairns.

ART25631

A Mariner of the air-sea rescue flight at anchor, Trinity Inlet, Cairns

A Martin Mariner patrol-bomber flying boat of the Royal Australian Air Force riding at anchor at the flying boat base, Cairns.

ART25632

Rhythm of the take-off

A Royal Australian Air Force Catalina flying boat leaving Trinity Inlet, Cairns.

ART25633

Black cats taking off from Trinity Inlet

Showing Catalina flying boats of the Royal Australian Air Force taking off on a night bombing raid over New Guinea. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train he captured a rich visual record of the...

ART25634

Auctioning army huts to Tableland farmers after the war, Atherton

Tableland farmers who had worked hard and grown rich during the war years, looked with a shrewd eye on abandoned army buildings of doubtful value, and bidding was not high. Occasionally a large recreation hut with a sound timber floor would fetch a good price. Despite the cleverness of a stout and...

ART25635

Australian troops swimming under Malanda Falls

Before the war came to northern Australia, the people in Atherton Tableland lived somewhat remote lives. As the war progressed, the Tableland became the base camp for and northern training centre for three divisions of Australian troops moving into New Guinea and beyond. The Atherton Tableland...

ART25636

The Koala club, 7 Aust Division Camp

A recreation club for all non-commissioned ranks, it was known throughout the tablelands.

ART25637

Washed up

An anti-aircraft gun awaiting disposal after the war, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland.

ART25638

Old field guns and young cane

Symbolic of war giving way to peace, North Queensland.

ART25639

Road to Atherton

Atherton Tableland was, for a long period of the war, a vast camp area and hundreds of thousands of troops passed through the various camps. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train he captured a...

ART25640

Centre of Atherton and old air raid shelter

Hundreds and thousands of troops passed through the Atherton Tablelands district when the area was used as a vast camp and training area. This view is of the main street looking towards the Railway Hotel. A truck transporting troops is depicted in the upper right. From August 1945 in his capacity...

ART25641

Flying boat anchorage

Two Royal Australian Air Force Sunderland flying boats are seen at anchor while a Mariner flying boat takes off for New Guinea.

ART25642

Castle Hills twin humps

Depicts a painting of Castle Hill's twin humps, Townsville.

ART25643

Townsville looking towards Mt Stewart

The camouflage painted Headquarter building of Royal Australian Air Force North Eastern Area stands on Sturt street at right of picture. Townsville, during the war years, was the scene of feverish activity; the wharves were always occupied with ships loading supplies for the islands or embarking...

ART25644

The city of Townsville from Castle Hill

During the war the small wharves of Townsville were jammed with ships loading or unloading trips and fighting materials. behind the breakwater were berthed the flying boats of the Royal Australian Air Force Transport Squadrons. Small landing barges clustered in packs along the banks of the Ross...

ART25645

Abandoned concrete observation post, Castle Hill

Abandoned concrete observation post, Castle Hill, Townsville.

ART25646

Island bound troops embarking at Townsville

Depicts a drawing of island bound troops embarking at Townsville.

ART25647

Goats cleaning up rubbish after army picture show

Depicts a drawing of goats cleaning up rubbish after an army picture show, Townsville. A war loans poster is visible in the lower left attached to a telegraphic pole.

ART25648

Wartime interlude along the waterfront

Servicemen and servicewomen of nearly all Allied nations were stationed in Townsville at one time or another during the war.

ART25649

Hangars of the RAAF Transport Sqn, Garbutt

Garbutt airfield and the Douglas DC3 planes of the Royal Australian Air Force Transport Squadrons will always be remembered by the many thousands of Australian and American troops who were transported by air from the mainland to the various island theatres of war.

ART25650

Gilbert (Gilly) Bates of Cairns

Depicts a portrait of Sergeant Gilbert 'Gilly' Bates, VDC, also senior field officer Bureau of Sugar Experiment, Cairns.

ART25651

Burning cane before harvesting, Gordonvale

Owing to the labour shortage in the cane fields during the war, practically all ripened cane was first fired to remove superfluous leaves and trash and so make cutting easier. Cane cutting follows within 24 hours after burning. The fire, which looks fierce, only singes the stalk which is heavy with...

ART25652

Loaded cane trucks emptying at hopper, Hambledon Mill

Loaded cane trucks emptying at a hopper, Hambledon Mill, North Queensland.

ART25653

Loading raw sugar, Mourilyan Harbour

One of the most beautiful small harbours of North Queensland, it is approached through a very narrow entrance between jungle green cliffs. A few miles west is the prosperous sugar growing centre of Innisfail.

ART25654

Canegrower's landscape

Linking sugar farms to mills is a network of tram lines along which miniature locomotives fussily haul out the ripened cane. Here and there is a strip of primitive jungle swamp in which rank and beautiful vegetation flourishes and wild duck have their nests.

ART25655

Mechanical cane cutter at work

The inventor of this simple harvester was a Queenslander, Larry Moloney of Mackay. It has proved a valuable aid in the quick harvesting of cane during the war period, when; on most farms, there was a shortage of manpower. Two men can operate the machine which is attached to a tractor and can...

ART25656

Mulgrave sugar mill in its coat of camouflage

Drawing of Mulgrave Sugar Mill in its coat of camouflage, North Queensland. The National Bank of Queensland building is visible in the right side of the picture. The artist described the camouflaged chimney as having black sploges with faded greens and reds on the roof and sides.

ART25657

War charities bazaar makes its appeal outside Mulgrave Mill

War charities bazaar makes its appeal outside Mulgrave Mill, North Queensland. From August 1945 in his capacity as official war artist Emerson Curtis undertook a three month tour of Queensland. Travelling mostly by train he captured a rich visual record of the extensive wartime activities, people...

ART25658

Weeding new cane

A Queenslander sugar farmer cultivating his young crop of cane, North Queensland.

ART25659

Caricature around the bar

Officers if the 11th Air-Sea Rescue Flight, Royal Australian Air Force, Cairns.

ART25667

Rolling duralumin sheets

In these mills of G.F Crane and Sons, the first duralumin sheets for aircraft construction were rolled and continued through the war period, Sydney, New South Wales.

ART25668

Thanksgiving service in celebration of Victory in Europe held on the steps of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 9 May 1945

On the steps of the Australian War Memorial under an Autumn sky a thanksgiving service in celebration of the Victory in Europe is held. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the service which was conducted by the Right Reverend E H Burgmann, Bishop of Goulburn. The...

ART25669

Australian troops embarking for the Atherton Tableland at Cairns railway station

Australian troops embarking for the Atherton Tableland at Cairns railway station. During the war the Queensland Government Railway system transported armies and fighting material. Although this placed great strain on locomotives and manpower, there was never a serious breakdown in the movement of...

ART25695

War Memorial, Canberra

Depicts the exterior of the Australian War Memorial, viewed from the front steps, with a number of people entering the Memorial. Robert Emerson Curtis (1899 - 1996) was born in Croydon, England and his family migrated to Australia, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents painted and,...

ART29723

In the War Memorial, Canberra

Depicts a drawing of the inside of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

ART29724

Canberra War Memorial from Mt Ainslie

Depicts a view of the Australian War Memorial, viewed from the tree covered slopes of Mt. Ainslie, looking across towards Old Parliament House. Robert Emerson Curtis (1899-1996) was born in Croydon, England and his family migrated to Australia, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents...

ART29725

Sketch for storm - Canberra airfield

This work is a preliminary drawing in crayon for another artwork in the Memorial collection 'Winter storms over Canberra airfield' (ART21384). This work depicts Dutch aircraft and presumably pilots, who were involved in coastal patrols. There was a strong presence in Canberra of Dutch air-force...

ART94480

Digunono, Morata Island, South West Papua

Digunono was a 'boss-boy' for ANGAU (Australia and New Guinea Administrative Unit). He came from Moratai Island in South West Papua. The work was sketched on the spot by R. Emerson Curtis on Goodenough Island in 1943.

ART91886

Jungle march

Depicts a drawing of large rainforest trees, soldiers can be seen in the distance, Milne Bay, New Guinea.

ART90427

Colin Wyatt

Portrait sketch of Colin Wyatt playing the accordion made at Milne Bay.

ART90428

On Walrus...

Depicts a cartoon of a duck holding the enemy in each hand. Still playing and important role in rescue and communication work in New Guinea is the "Walrus", affectionately known as the "Duck". Members of the "Duck" crew are: 411310 Flying Officer R.M Gole, Newcastle, NSW; 28036 Flight Sergeant K.G...

ART90429

Max shooting through the hatch of a Spitfire over Bankstown airfield

Portrait sketch of Camoufleur Max Dupain shooting, with his camera, through the hatch of a spitfire over Bankstown airfield.

ART90431

[Boxing under the palms]

Depicts a drawing of a boxing match under the palms, New Guinea.

ART90432

Approach to Goodenough Island

Depicts a view from on board a vessel towards Goodenough Island, New Guinea.

ART90433

Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Commemorative Area, Canberra.

ART90645

Official opening of Garden Island, Graving Dock

On the 24 March 1945 Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester officially opened the Captain Cook Dry Dock, Sydney. Artist Emerson Curtis was there to witness and this is a colourful depiction of the scene on the day. A large audience is seated in front of a large ship on the deck...

ART28140

Scraping down British aircraft carrier "Indomitable"

Scraping down British Air-craft Carrier HMS "Indomitable" at Captain Cook Graving Dock for a re-fit, Sydney.

ART25570

Kaitaki Kabadu, Kiriwina. A Trobriand Island 'bride' of 15 years

Portrait of young female Papuan Islander wearing a necklace and an earring in the left ear. Reproduced in R Curtis, 'Two Women of Kirriwina', Walkabout, 1 November 1944, pp.22-23. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in...

ART96137

Papuan boy of Fergusson Island

Half length portrait of a Papuan Island boy, with seperate study of face in profile. In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages,...

ART96146

Delara - Kiriwina

Portrait of a female Papuan Islander from Kiriwina Island breastfeeding infant. Reproduced in R Curtis, 'Two Women of Kirriwina', Walkabout, 1 November 1944, pp.22-23. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe,...

ART96136

Not titled [male Papuan Islander]

Seated profile portrait of male Papuan Islander with decorative comb in hair. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via...

ART96142

"Sopapa" Sisiana, Duau Island

Profile portrait of a young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having...

ART96170

Boy of Morata

Portrait of a young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96160

Police Boy "Hinamali", Bwaidoga, Morata Island

This portrait of Hinamali was reproduced in R. Curtis ' Men of Morata', Walkabout, 1 October 1944. In his article Curtis wrote that Hinamali ' belongs to the native constabulary and represents the 'Guvman'...he was smart in his scarlet-banded blue serge blouse, his short with cartridge belt and...

ART96150

Trobriand Island

Portrait of male Papuan Islander from Trobriand Island. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having...

ART96140

Not titled [Female Papuan Islander]

Portrait of female Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96141

Not titled [sketch of Bride - 15 years old]

Portrait of a female Papuan Islander on transfer paper. A copy of ART96175, 'Bride - 15 years old', 1944. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a...

ART96175

A Papuan work-boy from Amau

Head and shoulders portrait of a young male Papuan. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having...

ART96167

Evening Toilet

Full length portrait of a male Papuan Islander using hand held mirror and combing his hair. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis...

ART96174

Sketch, Fergusson Island

Portrait of female Papuan Islander with infant. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having...

ART96144

"Digunono" Nueyu, Morata Island

Portrait of Male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96154

Native work boy from Amau, Papua

Portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96161

Goodenough Islanders

Half length portraits of two Papuan Islanders (a male and female). Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via...

ART96162

Abaya

Portrait of Abaya, a police boy from Daru, Western Papua with palm trees in background. Reproduced in R Curtis, 'Papuan Profiles: inside a Prison Yard', Walkabout, 1 January 1945, pp.22-21. This portrait was one of two drawn by the artist on a visit to a prison camp while on active service with the...

ART96168

"Gamau" Naqualeya, Morata Island

Portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96158

Saramo, Fergusson Island

Seated portrait of a smiling Papuan boy, with landscape and vegetation in the background. In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages,...

ART96148

Trobriand Islander

Profile portrait of male Papuan Islander wearing armband and decorative comb in hair. Vegetation, signs of a village and a female Papuan Island figure feature in the background. Reproduced in R Curtis, 'Peace and War on a Coral Island', Walkabout, 1 August 1945, pp.20-21. Of his subject Curtis...

ART96138

Not titled [portrait of male Papuan Islander]

Portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96176

Boy of Morata (about 12 years)

Portrait of a boy from Papua New Guinea. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96166

Hula Boy, New Guinea

Portrait of a young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96156

Work-boy, Goodenough Island

Portrait of a young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96165

'Nineo' Naqualeya, Goodenough Island

Profile portrait of male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96163

'Ualo' Hula, New Guinea

Profile portrait of young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having...

ART96164

Bride - 15 years old

Portrait of a young female Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established...

ART96152

Fergusson Islander of Sarams

Seated portrait of female Papuan Islander with flower in hair. In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages, creating a series of...

ART96145

Study of a Papuan work boy - Milne Bay

Portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96173

Trobriand Islander

Two profile portraits of a male Papuan Islander from Trobriand Island. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via...

ART96139

Police boy "Hauko" Kokoda

Portrait of Hauko, a police boy from Kokoda. This portrait was one of two drawn by the artist on a visit to a prison camp while on active service with the Camouflage unit. Reproduced in R Curtis, 'Papuan Profiles: inside a Prison Yard', Walkabout, 1 January 1945, pp.22-21 along with a portrait of...

ART96169

Ualo Hula, "ANGAU" Boy, Goodenough Island

Portrait of a young male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96159

Fergusson Islander

Portrait of a young male Papuan Islander eating a banana. In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages, creating a series of portraits of...

ART96149

At ANGAU Headquarters, Goodenough Island

Scene depicting two male Papuan Islanders and settlement with vegetation in beckground. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis...

ART96153

Not titled [Papuan Islanders, shop scene]

Scene depicting nine Papuan Islanders around a table with coins, writing implements and spools of fabric. Reproduced in R. Curtis, 'A Papuan goes to Town', Walkabout, 1 December 1944. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in...

ART96143

In Milne Bay

Seated portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established a...

ART96171

Papuan (one hair style!)

Profile portrait of a male Papuan Islander. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via correspondence. Having established...

ART96157

Saramo, Fergusson Island

Seated portrait of a young Papuan boy wearing a sarong. In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages, creating a series of portraits of...

ART96147

"Cleaned up" after work.

Portrait of a relaxed male Papuan Islander, seated on a rock with a palm tree in the background. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time,...

ART96172

"Livinai" Haiwali, Morata Island

Portrait of Livinai, with decorative comb in his hair. This portrait was reproduced in R. Curtis ' Men of Morata', Walkabout, 1 October 1944. In his article Curtis wrote ' Livinai, the boy with the smile, was born in the village named Haiwali. Livinai knows about planes and has flown in one twice;...

ART96151

"Boudda" from Amau, Papua

Profile portrait of a male Papuan Islander with decorative comb in hair. Born in 1898 in Croydon, England, Robert Emerson Curtis migrated to Australia with his family in 1914, settling in Stanthorpe, Queensland. Both his parents and two sisters painted and, for a time, Curtis studied art via...

ART96155

Timeline

Date of birth 1898
Date of death 1996-03-23