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Interview with Captain Donald L. Garnham the 'Cape Horner'

I flew down to Hobart today to interview Captain Donald L. Garnham. At ninety-eight, Don is one of the few remaining ‘Cape Horners’, who sailed aboard a four-masted barque from South Australia to Europe in 1936. The ships were laden with grain and used sand, shovelled by hand into cane baskets in the hold, for ballast. It’s estimated only about thirty-two of these Cape Horners are left in Australia.

It was a wonderful interview. Don showed me the painting of him done by Dennis Adams where he is clinging to the sails of the Herzogin Cecilie during rough seas. I also bought a copy of Old sea dogs of Tasmania by Andrew Wilson from him ( It is a beautiful book, full of photographs of sailors in locations around Tasmania. Don is featured in one of the chapters.

Keep checking back here on the blog, I’ll post a chapter teaser on Captain Donald L. Garnham soon.

Down at the harbour in Hobart

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