The Pacific company was formed in the 1940s by Hec McLennan, a mandolin and banjo player working in Australia from the 1920s. Instruments were originally put out under his name, as a banjo mandolin in the museum's collection suggests. The name was later changed to Pacific. The guitars produced by Pacific seem to have been marketed with a Hawaiian theme in mind and sometimes bore images of palm trees or else cowboy themes which were often spray painted stencils on the bodies. Fret markers were also often sprayed on the neck rather than mother of pearl being used.
Pacific are significant as they are one of the earlier makers of guitars in Australia that produced instruments in large numbers, however relatively few of their instruments survive possibly due to the quality of the materials and finishes that were used. They were contemporaries of Maton but did not have the same quality, instead focusing on more utilitarian instruments made from basic materials. Other companies making guitars around the same time include Wayne guitars and the makers of the Kord King pedal steel guitar, of which only 100 were apparently made.
This guitar was made during the period when Hawaiian music was popular in Australia. Its label features an image of a hula dancer flanked by musicians sitting in front of a tropical backdrop. The statement on the label stating it is a "Genuine Wikara Guitar" is also telling as Buddy Wikara (aka Arthur Thompson), was one of the founders of the Hawaiian Club in Sydney during the mid 1930s. Wikara was also a professional musician and played in a number of groups such as the Pacific Players and with musicians such as Johnny Wade and Django Kahn. His wife, who took the stage name Lani (aka Grace Thompson), was also in one of the lineups.
Curator, music & musical instruments