State Library of South Australia logo Mountford-Sheard Collection
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

02. Unloading supplies from a Catalina Seaplane
Title : 02. Unloading supplies from a Catalina Seaplane 02. Unloading supplies from a Catalina Seaplane
Add To My SA Memory
Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976, photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/2902
Date of creation : 1948
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Loading expedition supplies brought to Groote Eylandt by a RAAF Catalina seaplane, onto a wooden Aboriginal canoe, to set up the first camp during the 1948 American- Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. An aboriginal man stands in the canoe loading the supplies.

In his report to Mountford, American Anthropologist Frank Setzler, wrote about his experience of travelling in the Catalina:

After leaving Darwin on April 4, 1948, I experienced one of my most memorable events. We took off in a Catalina plane during a heavy rain storm headed for our initial camp in Arnhem Land.

For the first few hours visibility was nil, then as we neared the high sandstone escarpments we could see the East Alligator River, which, at this time of the year, gave the appearance of an arm of the sea. ...As we flew across the sandstone escarpments the clouds melted away, and we could see the rugged canyons and gorges forming rectangular patterns of green in the white sandstone. After several hours we could make out the eastern end of the escarpments and the Catalina slowly descended over Blue Mud Bay where we caught our first glimpse of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

We began to circle; all were requested to move into the cabin out of the blister. Everyone held his breath, air became stifling. Soon there was a woosh, then a bump, a swish, and we were down safely on Little Lagoon. We had reached our destination, Umba Kumba, on the north-eastern corner of Groote Eylandt.

Setzler, Frank, Reports of Staff, Expedition to Arnhem Land, 1948, Mountford-Sheard Collection PRG 1218/17/17.

Related names :

American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948)

Coverage year : 1948
Place : Arnhem Land
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :
American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948). Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land, Melbourne : Melbourne University Press, 1956-1964

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, Adelaide : Rigby, 1972

May, Sally K. Collecting cultures : myth, politics, and collaboration in the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition, Lanham, Md. : AltaMira Press, 2010
Internet links :

Angurugu Community Government Council - Groote Eylandt Community



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on