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Dinner menu on board MV WESTRALIA under Commander R Darroch.

Date: 9 February 1937
Overall: 156 x 115 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS1311[007]

User Terms

    Dinner menu on board Huddart Parker Ltd's MV WESTRALIA under Commander R Darroch. The front cover features an image of the vessel, and the reverse lists the meal options available.
    SignificanceWESTRALIA was a popular passenger liner in Australia in the inter-war period of the 1920s and 1930s, and had an active career in the Navy during World War II, narrowly escaping several enemy attacks. Shipboard menus such as these were often collected as souvenirs by passengers and crew as a memento of their travels. The Australian National Maritime Museum holds a variety of shipboard menus that represent the journeys of both the individuals who collected them and the vessels that produced them.
    HistoryWESTRALIA was launched on 25 April 1929 and at the time was Huddart Parker’s largest vessel at 8,108 tons. WESTRALIA transported passengers between Sydney and Freemantle, and was well known for her high standards of comfort and amenities.

    However the liner was requisitioned for war service in November of 1939 and commissioned in January 1940 as the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMAS WESTRALIA. Under the command of CMDR Alvord Rosenthal, WESTRALIA went on to serve as a patrol and escort vessel until late 1942. Early 1943 saw WESTRALIA’s conversion to a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) assisting in landings in support of campaigns in New Guinea and New Britain. In January 1944, on route from New Guinea, WESTRALIA was attacked by Japanese aircraft and sustained some damage and several casualties. Almost exactly one year later, while taking part in the Lingayen landings, WESTRALIA then experienced an attempted kamikaze attack by a Japanese Zero aircraft which fortunately ended in only minor damage for the ship.
    After the end of the war in the Pacific in August 1945, WESTRALIA’s main role became repatriating thousands of troops from the islands back to the mainland of Australia as well as assisting the British Ministry of Transport to carry troops between Sydney and Japan for the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF). WESTRALIA was then returned to her owners in 1951 and resumed service as a passenger vessel. Before being broken up in 1961, the ship had been sold to a Fijian shipping company and converted to a livestock carrier.

    The company Huddart Parker had its roots in a small trading business working between Geelong and Melbourne in the 1850s, before becoming the firm of Huddart & Parker & Co in 1876. Huddart Parker & Co began working with the transport of coal between Newcastle and Port Phillip before expanding their services to Melbourne and Sydney and later New Zealand. The company entered the passenger trade in the 1880s, running popular services between Sydney, Adelaide, Fremantle and Tasmania. During World War I Huddart Parker & Co had five of their vessels requisitioned for use in the war, and during World War II three of their passenger liners were acquired for war service. Huddart Parker & Co ceased trading in 1961 when, bowing to economic pressures, the company sold its remaining fleet to McIlwraith McEacharn.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: MV WESTRALIA dinner menu for Commander R Darroch

    Web title: Dinner menu on board MV WESTRALIA under Commander R Darroch.

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