Museum of Brisbane

The tadpole and the trophy


Earlier this year, Garry Sydes visited Museum of Brisbane and spent some time going through our  exhibition The River: A History of Brisbane. He was particularly interested in a photograph, taken by Alfred Elliott of the Opening of the sailing season at Hamilton Reach in 1896. This triggered Garry’s memory to an old family treasure, a beautifully engraved silver trophy shaped like a cup, won by his Great-Grandfather William James Mooney’s yacht, Tadpole. The 18 foot yacht had come first place in the Hamilton Reach Regatta Yacht Race on the 3rd January 1881!

Photo by Alfred Elliott City of Brisbane Collection, Museum of Brisbane

The win is legendary in the Sydes family, as the Tadpole won by quite a lead. It was reported in The Brisbane Courier on 4 January 1881 that the boats got away well together, but in beating down the reach, Ned Clark, who was sailing the Tadpole, soon worked into windward position and afterwards greatly increased his lead, rounding the flagship to first place, 9 minutes ahead of the Vixen, the other boats being nowhere.

The trophy was passed down through generations of Garry’s family, residing at his parents place in New South Wales for many years. After visiting the Museum Garry told his father Kevin (William James Mooney Grandson) about the image and they decided to donated the trophy to Museum of Brisbane.

We were so pleased to have this object as part of the Museum of Brisbane Collection and to continue the stories in The River: A History of Brisbane where it is now exhibited, living near Alfred Elliott’s Hamilton Reach photograph.

Garry intends on bringing his parents to the exhibition to see the family heirloom later this year.

Regatta_Cup_03 back

Hamilton Reach Regatta trophy 1881
Gift of Garry, Kevin & Jan Sydes, 2014
Museum of Brisbane Collection

Photo by Carl Warner


 The trophy is now displayed in The River: A History of Brisbane