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Christmas menu from SS ESPERANCE BAY

Date: 25 December 1930
Height: 187 mm, width: 115 mm
Medium: Ink on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Patrick Moss
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS0284[005]

User Terms

    Christmas menu from the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line's SS ESPERANCE BAY. The menu features text reading 'Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line / a Merry Xmas to all / SS / ESPERANCE BAY' with the menu printed beneath.
    SignificanceShipboard menus such as these were often printed to be souvenirs and were collected as mementos of their travels by crew and passengers. Many shipping companies produced their own series of collectable menus with themes such as exotic destinations or historic events.
    HistoryESPERANCE BAY was built for the fleet of the Australian Commonwealth Line in 1921, and was one of five new large cargo-passenger ships known as the 'Bay Vessels', comprised of MORETAN BAY, LARGS BAY, HOBSON'S BAY, ESPERANCE BAY and JERVIS BAY. The fiver liners had accommodation for 12 first class and around 710 third class passengers and each was registered in the State relative to its name, thus ESPERANCE BAY was registered in Fremantle, LARGS BAY in South Australia, JERVIS BAY in Sydney, HOBSONS BAY in Melbourne and MORETAN BAY in Brisbane.

    After a period of disruptions with strikes, labour issues and a change of government, the company wound up in 1928 and the 'Bay Vessels' were sold to the Aberdeen-White Star Line, sailing under the title of Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line as part of the terms of sale. ESPERANCE BAY then joined the fleet of Shaw, Savill & Albion Co. Ltd in 1936 and was renamed ARAWA. In 1939 AWARA was requisitioned for war service and was fitted out in Sydney for use as an armed merchant cruiser. During the war the liner also served as a convoy escort and troopship and was involved in the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Black Sea ports and Istanbul to Marseilles. In early 1946, after being refitted at Newcastle, ARAWA returned to service as a passenger liner.

    In May 1955 the liner was nearly 30 years old and was sold to shipbreakers in Newport, Wales, for scrapping.

    The Australian Commonwealth Line was created in the middle of World War I, in 1916, as means to speed the transport of troops and cargo during the war effort. The company's fleet included several captured German steamships as well as 16 second-hand British ships bought from the Burrel Strath Line. During the years after the war the company purchased more vessels and the fleet rose to 64. However the mid-1920s saw a slump in Australian Commonwealth Line's profits and the company began to sell some of their ships. By 1928 the last of the company's fleet was sold and operations ceased.

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