- Zammitt, Alan
- Obituaries, Biographies and personal histories
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Tingira, HMAS Cerberus (Shore Establishment), HMAS Sydney I, HMAS Melbourne I, HMAS Brisbane I, HMAS Canberra I
- September 1996 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
His attention to detail and accuracy resulted not only from study and research but from the knowledge and experience gained in years of service at sea. He was an outstanding naval artist and writer, but his collection of naval photographs is also of international significance. The collection was obtained the hard way-during more than 70 years of taking photographs himself and exchanging them with naval photography collectors throughout the world.
I first met John when he came on board the Australia in 1946 to do some research for an article he was writing for a magazine. I was amazed then at his knowledge of the vessel, and I doubt whether there was anyone more knowledgeable on ships of the RAN and British Commonwealth navies.
Bastock was an expert in drawing and painting naval subjects just as Norman Lindsay was in painting nudes. Like Lindsay, he built many ship models, some of which will be presented to museums. The wardroom of HMAS Adelaide has a fine painting of the cruiser Adelaide in 1944 in her wartime camouflage, and HMAS Canberra I also has an outstanding painting of the 10,000-ton Country class cruiser Canberra in her prewar paint. Bastock also presented the ships Sydney, Melbourne, Success and Anzac with splendid painting of earlier warships bearing those names.
Bastock’s enthusiasm for the Royal Australian Navy was contagious, and many people have a greater appreciation of it as a result of his excellent work with pen and paintbrush.
He married Vera in 1930; they had one son and two daughters. Vera died three days after her husband.