Modern pollies not a patch on Cap’n Dan Van Blarcom
Modern pollies not a patch on Cap’n Dan Van Blarcom

Spy or Nazi? Cap’n Dan takes secret to his grave

SADLY, one of the most colourful characters of modern Queensland elections won't be making another run at it again this October.

Cap'n Dan Van Blarcom passed away in Mackay Hospital a few weeks back.

"To all that knew him Dan was a true gentleman, a dad, a sailor, a stirrer, a journalist, a trainer, a community advocate, a skilful raconteur, an eccentric, a good bloke, and a pirate … always a pirate!" a post on the Whitsunday Chat Facebook page he ran said.

Yet it was his turn as a supposed Nazi sympathiser that earned Cap'n Dan a place in Queensland political folklore.

Back in 2004 when he was a Nationals candidate for the seat of Whitsunday, The Courier-Mail revealed a picture of a 19-year-old Dan wearing a swastika armband during a sit-in protest outside Canberra's Legislative Assembly.

The notorious photo from The Canberra Times from 1970 shows (L-R) Howard Bruce, Eric Wenberg & Dan Van Blarcom wearing suits with Nazi swastika armbands.
The notorious photo from The Canberra Times from 1970 shows (L-R) Howard Bruce, Eric Wenberg & Dan Van Blarcom wearing suits with Nazi swastika armbands.

Cap'n Dan shrugged it off with one of those big piratical laughs he was famed for but the Nationals didn't see the funny side and disendorsed him.

While the photograph and accompanying article used Van Blarcom's real name, Cap'n Dan staunchly maintained he was no Nazi and had actually been working as an "undercover operative".

The New Jersey born native, whose first name was actually Gilbert, insisted his story was true until he passed, revealing in 2012 he'd actually been recruited and paid by notorious Special Branch detective Don "Shady" Lane before he became a crooked MP.

After obtaining his secret file, former cop Barry Krosch, now living the quiet life in Kingaroy, reckons the story stakes up.

Maybe Cap'n Dan was never a Nazi. But he was a pirate loved by many who lived a hell of a life.

Rest in peace.

Originally published as Spy or Nazi? Cap'n Dan takes secret to his grave


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