Collection MS 1180 - A research tribute by the Retired Officers Association of Papua New Guinea

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AU PMB MS 1180


A research tribute by the Retired Officers Association of Papua New Guinea


  • 1957-2000 (Creation)

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1 reel; 35mm microfilm

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Captain Brett Hilder was born in Epping, Sydney in 1911, son of watercolourist
J J Hilder. In 1928 he joined Burns Philp Ltd as a deck cadet, which took him to the Pacific Islands and Indonesia, then the Dutch East Indies. Ten years later he had become a ship's master. Captain Hilder was called up by the Navy in World War II, but quickly transferred to the RAAF where he flew Catalina flyingboats. After the war he returned to his former profession and captained passenger and cargo liners that traded between Sydney and the Solomon Islands, including the MV Malaita. During this period, Hilder started painting and drawing, producing many watercolour landscapes and portraits of the people and places he visited in both the Pacific and South East Asia. These were exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne, Port Moresby, Honiara and New York. He also wrote extensively on navigation, ports, islands and other topics, such as forestry and architecture, publishing in magazines such as Walkabout. Hilder wrote the book Navigator in the South Seas, published in 1961. In 1964 he became Senior Captain of Company with Burns Philp. Captain Hilder founded the Australian Institute of Navigation. Captain Hilder died in 1981, leaving a unique artistic legacy which is closely associated with the heyday of the Burns Philp era in the South Pacific.

This research tribute was collated to accompany an exhibition of Captain Hilder's paintings at the Annual Dinner of the Retired Officer's Assocaition of PNG in Sydney on 3 December 2000. The documents include lists of paintings and drawings, lists of profiles published in Pacific Islands Monthly, Hilder geneaological details, maps, magazines, invitations and catalogues to exhibitions, correspondence, charts, navigation charts, descriptions of islands, indexes, passengner lists, photographs and cards, and manuscripts of Brett Hilder, including a substantial work on marine phosphorescence.

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Pictorial Section, National Library of Australia

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Access this title at PMB Member Libraries or by purchasing it directly from the Bureau:

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