Life Jacket; c1930s; 127.93


Port Macquarie Museum


Life Jacket

About this object

This Standard Life Jacket is believed to have come from the passenger launch M.V. Ena which was built by Robert Henry Reckless, and his sons Robert William and Herbert, near the ‘R.W. Reckless Boatshed’ at the northern end of Short Street, Port Macquarie in the 1930s.

The M.V. Ena was a motor launch, 30 feet long and 9 feet wide with a depth of 4 feet and was able to accommodate 40 passengers. Launched on 30 November 1935, the M.V. Ena was used to ferry workers to the northern breakwall at the entrance to the Hastings River during the breakwall’s construction.

At that time and maybe up until the Ena was destroyed by fire in 1956, it was not necessary to have a life saving device for every passenger on board a marine vessel, especially one that operated in enclosed waters. It is possible that this life jacket was one of only a few on the launch.

The jacket is quite large and bulky, with floatation pouches of equal size at the front and back, indicating that it was designed as a buoyancy vest to keep a person afloat and to turn a person from a face down position to a vertical or slightly head-back position while floating in the water. It is not known if the jacket was ever used.

The Jacket provides a link to the M.V. Ena which was built and used in Port Macquarie, and to the well known and respected Reckless family who, as well as building this launch, made significant contributions to the boat-building and marine industry in Port Macquarie over a period of 50 years.

Margaret Blight
30 September 2014

Date Made


Medium and Materials

Canvas, kapok

Inscription and Marks

Stamped on front 'STANDARD/ LIFE JACKET'

Subject and Association Keywords


Object Type

Safety equipment

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from


Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.

This object is in 1 community


eHive copyright disclaimer

It is the responsibility of the eHive Account Holder to gain copyright clearance for any images or content published on eHive. If you are concerned about the copyright status for any content in eHive or would like more information on using or ordering copies of content, please contact the Account Holder of that content. For further information see our Copyright Claims page.