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HT KATOOMBA Victory Dinner menu

Date: 17 August 1945
Height: 177 mm, width: 137 mm
Medium: Ink on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Sheila McLean
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS0335[002]

User Terms

    HT KATOOMBA Victory Dinner menu. The front cover features illustrations of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and what is possibly the city halls of South Australia, West Australia, Victoria and Queensland. Inside is the menu as well as an image of the American, British and Soviet Union flags and the verse 'Lest we Forget'.
    SignificanceShipboard menus such as these were often printed by shipping companies to be souvenirs and were collected as mementos of their travels by crew and passengers. This particular menu is dated 17 August 1945, only three days after the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II and marks the occasion of a 'Victory Dinner' onboard KATOOMBA to celebrate this historic event.
    HistoryTSS KATOOMBA was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the shipping company McIlwraith McEacharn in 1913. Harland & Wolff were famous as the shipbuilders of the ill-fated TITANIC while McIlwraith McEacharn was a London based company with strong ties to the Australian shipping industry. In 1913 when the newly built KATOOMBA arrived in Australia, it was one of the largest and most luxurious liners in the competitive passenger transport industry.

    In 1918 KATOOMBA was requisitioned for war service and spent several years transporting troops before returning to work as a passenger liner in 1920. In the inter-war period the vessel was used mainly for the passenger run between Sydney and Melbourne, although KATOOMBA did participate in a popular series of cruises to the South Pacific and Queensland.

    In 1941 KATOOMBA was again requisitioned for war service as a troopship and in August of 1942 found herself the target of a Japanese submarine in the waters off South Australia. Fortunately the ship was able to pull away from the submarine and avoid any damage. By the time KATOOMBA was released from war service as a troopship in 1946, the vessel was thirty years old and no longer economically viable for her owners. KATOOMBA was then sold to a shipping company in Greece where passengers liners were in demand and after a refit, was renamed COLUMBIA. The ship’s first voyage as COLUMBIA was to return to Australia with a full complement of emigrants and after several more years as a passenger liner, the vessel ended her days in Japan in 1959, being broken up for scrap.

    McIlwraith McEacharn Limited originated in London in 1875, going on to become one of the largest and most successful companies operating in Australia throughout the following century. Within a year of forming, McIlwraith McEacharn had won a major contract with the Queensland Government to provide six ships for two years, transporting British migrants to Australia. When the contract between McIlwraith McEacharn and the Queensland Government ended in the 1880s, the company's ships instead conveyed wool and passengers. Around this time McIlwraith McEacharn gained some notoriety as pioneers of frozen and refrigerated sea transport. Throughout next few decades, McIlwraith McEacharn became involved in mining and transportation services, and strengthened its hold on passenger shipping. By the 1980s coal had become the major focus of McIlwraith McEacharn and the company sold its remaining shipping interests. In 1992 the remainder of the business was traded to a US company and lost the 19th century name.

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