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HMS DORSETSHIRE and RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN

Date: 6 April 1938
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Magazine clipping
Object No: ANMS0405[002]

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    Description
    This magazine clipping from The Sydney Mail, dated 6 April 1938, details a report of the arrival of HMS DORSETSHIRE and RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN in Sydney.
    SignificanceNewspaper and magazine reports of the day present a snapshot into the excitement surrounding the arrival of the ships for the Sesquicentenary celebrations. They provide colourful snippets of information that are otherwise not communicated through contemporary photographs, and display popular perceptions held by the general public of Sydney and its distinctive maritime qualities.
    HistoryOn 2 April 1938, RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN arrived in Sydney Harbour to the cheers of thousands of Sydneysiders. The Argus in Melbourne reported that royal and distinguished passengers Princess Della Torre E. Tasso of Duino, Lord Tennyson, an English Test captain, and his wife arrived in Sydney for the first time. Amidst the buzz and excitement, the next day HMS DORSETSHIRE sailed into Sydney Harbour for the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. Although RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN only stayed for three days before moving on to Melbourne, HMS DORSETSHIRE stayed in dock in Sydney for almost a month.

    The Sydney Mail provided a two-page report on the arrival of the two ships in Circular Quay. On page 25, there are two images depicting HMS DORSETSHIRE and RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN in Sydney Harbour. The text reads:

    'The most intense interest was aroused in Sydney during the week-end by the visit to this port by the giant C.P.R. liner Empress of Britain (42,300 tons). Unfortunately for the public, it was found impossible to allow a general inspection of the ship, but those few fortunate enough to be able to visit her will not readily forget her beautiful amenities and her wonderfully complete equipment. Her size is not realised until one enters her immense halls or stands upon her upper deck and notes how she dominates every other vessel near her, like a whale amongst minnows. Another visitor whose advent also aroused general interest was H.M.S. Dorsetshire, which arrived on Saturday and berthed at Circular Quay. The Dorsetshire is a sister ship to the Canberra, and has come to participate in the Sesqui-Centenary Celebrations, and the gesture has been much appreciated by Australians generally. She was thrown open for public inspection on Sunday last, when many thousands of curious sightseers availed themselves of the opportunity thus presented to them....'

    The report on page 27 on RMS EMPRESS OF BRITAIN reads:

    'Tens of thousands of citizens lined the heights of Sydney Harbour on Saturday to welcome to Port Jackson the greatest vessel that has ever been seen in Australian waters - the Empress of Britain (42,348 tons), whose visit coincided with the opening of the final stage of Australia's 150th Anniversary Celebrations. As she entered the Heads in glorious weather planes flew overhead, ferry-boats, tugs, and scores of smaller craft blew their whistles and sirens, and the vast crowds both on and off the water extended a wonderful welcome to the great liner.

    On board the Empress of Britain are hundreds of tourists representing at least ten nationalities. They are making a cruise of the world, and during their three days' stay were fortunate to see Sydney and many of the sights within hundreds of miles of the capital under splendid conditions. Sydney Harbour was a joy to most of them, and those who visited the Blue Mountains and the surfing beaches were loud in their praises of both.'
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