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Date: 03 July 1923
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: 00040977

User Terms

    RMS ORSOVA is shown departing Sydney Harbour for London on Tuesday 3 July 1923. The tugs ST OLAVES and HEROIC are also shown alongside it. ORSOVA was used for transporting passengers and mail between Australia and Britain.
    SignificanceThis photograph 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 built in 1908 at Clydebank, Scotland by 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

    Assigned title: RMS ORSOVA and tugs ST OLAVES and HEROIC

    Web title: RMS ORSOVA and tugs ST OLAVES and HEROIC

    Collection title: F G Wilkinson Shipping Photographs Collection

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