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The tug HERO towing the sailing ship PAMIR

Date: 14 April 1947
Sight: 429 x 405 mm
Overall: 570 x 504 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print, wood, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Brambles Australia
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00038310
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Photograph of the tug HERO towing the four masted steel barque PAMIR. Handwritten text below the photo reads 'HERO towing PAMIR, Nov. 1945', however the correct date for this visit has been established as 14 April 1947. An illegible signature and date appears on the lower left and stamped on the reverse is "Buster J. Browne / Box 317, P.O., Crows Nest, / NSW., Australia. 2065".
    SignificanceThis iconic image by renown Sydney photographer Max Dupain captures the visit of the famous barque PAMIR to Australia 1947. At the time this image was taken, the vessel was a possession of New Zealand, having been seized from its German owners while in port at Wellington in 1941.
    Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, PAMIR was launched in 1905 and joined the fleet of the German company Laeisz primarily for use in the Chilean nitrate trade. After World War I the ship was awarded to Italy as war compensation, but was bought back by Laeisz in 1924 and continued working the trade route around Cape Horn to Chile.

    PAMIR was later sold to Captain Gustaf Erikson of Finland, and in 1932 the vessel entered the Australian grain trade. It made headlines in February 1934 when it arrived in Sydney from Port Victoria, South Australia and had to lower the topgallant mast in order to pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    During World War II the ship changed hands again when she was seized as a war prize while berthed in Wellington, New Zealand in August 1941 - the first ship ever taken in this way in New Zealand. Under the New Zealand flag with Captain Horace Stanley Collier in command, PAMIR made several commercial voyages to Australia.

    In January 1947, PAMIR brought 750,000 super feet of New Zealand timber and stayed in Sydney for three months as a result of minor industrial disputes and the wharf-labourers’ strike. One major event during the vessel’s sojourn was Sydney’s Anniversary Regatta. The 111th Australia Day Regatta was held on the public holiday on 27 January 1947. The PAMIR was the flagship of the regatta and, along with a naval gunboat, was moored at Kurraba Point acting as the starting and finishing line for some 2,000 race participants. In the end, 30 vessels were capsized during the races, a record at the time.

    In 1948 the vessel was returned to the Erikson Line. PAMIR then sailed from New Zealand to Australia to collect grain before voyaging onto Falmouth, on the journey that confirmed the vessel's status as the last sail ship to carry a commercial load around Cape Horn in July of 1949.

    As the Erikson fleet became more reliant on steamships, sailing ships such as PAMIR were becoming obsolete and the vessel eventually became a training ship for the German navy. In 1957 tragedy struck en route from Buenos Aires to Hamburg. The ship became caught in a hurricane and sank in the middle of the Atlantic. Of the 86 men aboard, only 6 survived to be rescued. The legacy of PAMIR is closely linked to the shipping history of Cape Horn as she was the last commercial sail ship to pass the cape in 1949.

    The tug HERO, pictured with PAMIR in this image, was a regular feature in the harbours of NSW for nearly 70 years. HERO was built in England in 1892 for towage firm J&T Fenwick and was one of the most powerful tugs of the time. During HERO's long career the tug safely and successfully guided many ships to port including the famous clipper ships CUTTY SARK and THERMOPYLAE.

    In 1905 HERO was involved in the dramatic rescue of the American barque ABBY PALMER. The tug's crew braved life threatening weather conditions in order to prevent ABBY PALMER from being destroyed against the cliffs at Bondi and to tow the barque to safer waters.

    HERO came close to disaster several times while performing the often dangerous duties of towage with two near fatal collisions in 1908 and 1929. While berthing British freighter NORTHUMBERLAND in 1940 the tug collided with the ships bow and sank, with the loss of one life. HERO remained at the bottom of Sydney Harbour until 1943 when a wartime shortage of vessels saw the tug salvaged by the US Navy. At this stage HERO was 50 years old, and went on to serve another 17 years with Fenwicks before an incident in 1960 with the ship BULWARRA at Port Kembla saw HERO irretrievably sunk.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Tug HERO towing the sailing ship PAMIR

    Web title: The tug HERO towing the sailing ship PAMIR

    Related People
    Photographer: Max Dupain

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