The Port Chalmers Regional Maritime Museum has the pleasure of presenting the Douglas Summerland Collection.

The then archivist Jim Wilson (1934-2005) and artist in residence Peter Fitzpatrick discovered the personal effects and photographs of Douglas Summerland in the Museum’s archive in 2004.

Summerland was born circa 1891. His family history has links to Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia. It is speculated that his father was involved in pastoralist activities on the Island before the family relocated to Whangarei in New Zealand.  All other knowledge about Summerland’s history lies within the artefacts and photographs that are deposited in the Museum’s archive.

The Douglas Summerland archive consists of an album of maritime images, lantern slides from original photographs taken on the Wanganui River, a reel of 17.5mm movie film, some letters dated 1913 and a small collection of personal effects.

Artist Peter Fitzpatrick is currently using the archive to reconstruct the life of Douglas Summerland. During his residence in 2004, Fitzpatrick produced a series of video works at specific locations in New Zealand that are connected to Summerland’s life. Fitzpatrick is currently organising funding to pursue Summerland across the Pacific to the USA.

 Douglas Summerland served as a crew member on board the last of the early twentieth century ships of sail. The ships included the:

William Mitchell, Dorothy Sterling, S.V. K.V. Kruse, S.V. Garthneill, Glenard, Marborough Hill,
S.V. Margaret F. Sterling

This image, in the style of Dr C.L. Gabriel (1857 -1927), was taken on the banks of the Wanganui River by Summerland circa 1912.

Circa 1912 Douglas Summerland travelled down the Wanganui River documenting the reflections on the water and the surrounding landscape. All that remains of the images taken by Summerland are four photographs found on the back page of the album and a collection of lantern slides. The purpose of the expedition or the images are not known. However the fact that they take the form of lantern slides alludes to their use for some type of public performance.