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Date: 15 March 1924
83 x 108 x 2 mm
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Photographer Frederick Garner Wilkinson
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00040933

User Terms

    RMS ORSOVA was photographed at the Orient Company's wharf No 2 in Circular Quay on Saturday afternoon 15 March 1924. ORSOVA was operating for the Orient Line and carried mail and commercial cargo between Australia and Britain.
    SignificanceThis photograph represents RMS ORSOVA and its role as a Royal Mail vessel travelling between Australia and Britain during the first half of the 20th century.

    It is part of the F G Wilkinson Photograph Collection, comprising more than 700 glass plate negatives of ships in Sydney Harbour between 1919 and 1936. The collection provides an extensive and well-documented coverage of the changing styles of shipping in the port of Sydney before the gradual decline of the coastal trade, and in a period which was probably the peak reached by commercial shipping in Australia. The backgrounds also reveal the changing face of the city and harbour foreshores.
    HistoryRMS ORSOVA was one of five 12,000 tonners built for the Orient Line in 1909, during a time of expansion in the company. It was built at Clydebank, Scotland by the shipbuilders Messrs John Brown & Co, the first ship of its style and size built for the mail run between England and Australia. The vessel could accommodate 1076 passengers and had a refrigerated cargo space of 100,000 cubic feet. Under the charter of the Orient Royal Mail Company, ORSOVA conducted its maiden voyage to Sydney, Australia in June 1909 under Captain J F Ruthven.

    ORSOVA temporarily stopped the mail service during World War I and on 7 May 1915 was re-commissioned as a British troopship, making stops in Malta, Alexandria, Mudros and Australia carrying troops. On 14 March 1917 under the command of Captain A J Coad, ORSOVA was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the English Channel, resulting in significant damage to the ship and a large loss of life. It was two years later in January 1919 that ORSOVA was finally repaired and used to repatriate Australian troops. By November 1919 it resumed its commercial mail services for the Orient Line, operating until 1933 when it was remodelled as a tourist class ship. ORSOVA was eventually scuttled on 30 June 1936.
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: F G Wilkinson Shipping Photographs Collection

    Web title: RMS ORSOVA

    Assigned title: RMS ORSOVA

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