A boat or ketch travelling along the McArthur River, with a man visible on the deck. A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts and its identifying feature is that the mainmast is taller of the two. This ketch is the 'Venture' which is featured in other photographs taken by Baldwin Spencer and Frank Gillen. The following information relating to the 'Venture' was provided by a visiting researcher in 2010: 'The Venture was a ketch of 15 tons owned by shipping agents A.E. Jolly and Co, Darwin, used for carrying stores and mail from Darwin to the Roper and McArthur Rivers. It arrived in Borroloola on 2 December 1901 under Capt. Frederick Mugg. On 25 January it was back again, this time under Capt. Charles Gore with a crew of five, having been attacked in the Cadell Straits. One of the crew, John Lewis (or Louis) of Nova Scotia, died of his wounds at Borroloola on 31 January (Gillen's Diary pp. 357, 360; Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 14.2.1902: 3).' (Tony Roberts). Spencer and Gillen arrived at the final camp located at Borroloola on November 2, 1901. They remained there for approximately two months and their departure on the 8th of February 1902, marked the end of their extraordinory 1901-1902 expedition. In his diary of August 1901 to February 1902, Spencer describes the country as they approached and eventually sighted Borroloola, 'At length we have come to the end of our journey across and are now near to the shores of the gulf......We started off at a quarter to six soon after the sun had risen and rode on a miserable plain with gum trees and grasshoppers and nothing else...After a time there were only scattered gums and then across the plain covered with dry yellow grass stalks we could see a dark belt of trees bordering the Macarthur (sic) River. Then about a mile away from the river we saw the roofs of three corrugated iron houses which indicated the important city of Borroloola.....Borroloola is a kind of central port for all this part of the world. Stores come round here to the mouth of the river from Port Darwin and outlying stations for some one or two hundred miles around.....' (pp.87-88).

Physical Description

Silver gelatin emulsion. Half plate.

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