Moving objects around the collection stores sometimes turns up interesting discoveries. I made one such discovery that requires a bit of detective work to solve. While searching through a textile box in storage I came across a lonely black fabric pocket. The pocket logically seemed to have come loose from a jacket or blazer and this makes sense as the rest of the material in the box were in fact jackets and blazers.

Black pocket with CSC CRONULLA stitched onto a small flag at the centre

However, the box contained a navy blue Royal Australian Navy cadet midshipmen’s jacket and a black Chief Petty Officers coat both naval jackets. The colour and fabric of these two jackets and the fact that both are complete with their own pockets meant that our lonely pocket did not belong to either of these.

My first port of call was to visit our curator of Maritime Technology, Exploration & Navy which confirmed my suspicions; not a naval pocket. My next visit was to our curator of Maritime Communities to identify the small flag stitched to the pocket.

Upon closer inspection the flag reads: CSC CRONULLA – light bulb moment! Great, I thought, a quick search through the museum’s collection for jackets and blazers relating to the Cronulla Sailing Club or Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club and hey presto a solution, but things are rarely that easy. We have no jackets relating to the Cronulla Sailing Club in the collection and only two jackets from the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club. On closer inspection neither jacket is made of similar material to our lonely pocket nor is either jacket missing a pocket, another dead end.

Next step was to contact both organisations but before this the pocket needs to go to our photography department for a close up. Photo taken, emails sent I sit back and wait, not too long before I get a reply from the Cronulla Sailing Club. The experts suggest the pocket’s from Cronulla Surf Club.

Cronulla Surf Club confirms the flag is familiar, to be sure they send it onto their history committee for clarification, great we’re almost home! But wait this just in, the experts don’t recall this as a type of flag used for the club – Cronulla SLSC always had a reel on their flags, try Cronulla Sailing Club! And so the plot thickens.

Can you help identify the flag on our pocket?

Registrar, Information Management


Rhondda Orchard

Rhondda is the Managing Registrar Collection Documentation and Database at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Posted in: From the collection