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2005/61/1 Banjo mandolin with case, timber / metal / leather / cardboard, by Pacific / Persinware, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1945-1965. Click to enlarge.

Banjo mandolin with case by Pacific

The Pacific company were one of the early large scale firms producing plucked string instruments in Australia. Established in Melbourne during the late 1940s by Hec McLennan, Pacific produced cheap guitars and banjo mandolins and were contemporaries of the Maton guitar company and of Olson, Iverson and Richards who were producing the Kord-King pedal steel guitar at about the same time. Early versions of banjo mandolins were branded as HEC McLennan instruments before the Pacific name was adopted. McLennan was a banjo player and performer whose recordings date from the 1920s. Hybrid instruments such as the banjo mandolin and banjo ukulele became popular from the 1920s and were used in jazz band and popular band contexts. However, they also became widely played by many amateurs when popularity increased for Hawaiian music. Banjo and mandolin clubs were established as well as others like the Hawaiian Club that popularised this musical style. Film stars and performers such as George Formby in Britain also contributed to the popularity of these kinds of instruments.

Michael Lea
Curator, music & musical instruments
December, 2004


Object No.


Object Statement

Banjo mandolin with case, timber / metal / leather / cardboard, by Pacific / Persinware, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1945-1965

Physical Description

Banjo mandolin with case, timber / metal / leather / cardboard, banjo mandolin made by Pacific, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1945-1965

Banjo mandolin featuring wooden circular outer body with wooden back housing skin diaphragm and metal frame with eight tension rods for skin. Back and side of body finished in brown/black varnish. Edges of side and top finished in white. Moveable wooden bridge in centre of skin. Wooden neck with 17 frets. Rectangular headstock painted black with eight tuning machines. Metal plate for attaching strings fixed to end of body.

Hard case in dark blue finish with white stitching. Woven fabric cardboard pattern on inside of case. The case has an interior compartment and two clasps.



Pacific guitars were begun by Hec McLennan in the 1940s. The name was later changed to Pacific. The company had possibly ceased production by the 1960s. Production numbers unknown. Not known if company records still exist. The case was made in Australia by Persinware.


Credit Line

Gift of Roger Buckmaster, 2005

Acquisition Date

14 February 2005

Cite this Object


Banjo mandolin with case by Pacific 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 March 2021, <https://ma.as/349024>


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