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Postcard dinner menu for Commander WTC Firth on board TSS CANBERRA.

Date: 28 August 1932
Overall (Open): 170 x 218 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard menu
Object No: ANMS1311[008]

User Terms

    Postcard dinner menu for Commander WTC Firth on board the Howard Smith liner TSS CANBERRA. On the cover is a black-and-white image of the ship and on the reverse is a small map of the eastern coast of Australia showing the Sea and Air Routes of Howard Smith Ltd.
    SignificanceTSS CANBERRA played a part in Australian maritime history for a period of over thirty years, working in passenger and cargo transport and also as a wartime troopship. Shipboard menus such as these were often collected 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 ships that produced them.
    HistoryThe shipping company Howard Smith Ltd was registered in Victoria in 1884, and was the result of nearly 30 years of entrepreneurial work by Captain Howard Smith and his family. Arriving in Australia in 1854, Smith took advantage of the burgeoning colonial population to build up a fleet and reputation in cargo and passenger transport.

    CANBERRA was built by Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow for Howard Smith in 1913 and at the time of its launch was the largest passenger liner in the company’s fleet. The ship was requisitioned during World War I and converted to a troopship, mainly ferrying troops and supplies between Egypt and the Persian Gulf. In 1918, in response to a surprise German offensive on the Western Front, CANBERRA was one of seven liners that rushed large numbers of allied troops from Alexandria to Marseilles to assist in repelling the German attack.

    CANBERRA was returned to Howard Smith Ltd in 1919, and due to a lack of resources required to refit her for passenger services, the vessel stayed in use as a cargo transport service. In 1920 the ship was refitted and returned to work as a passenger liner, however ran into scandal in June 1925 when a dispute between the master and crew resulted in a strike. The same night a fire began on board that destroyed most of the ship and took the life of one of the crew members. The cause of the fire was not discovered, and an inquiry was unable to confirm an act of sabotage. Repairs resulting from this incident cost Howard Smith Ltd as much as it had paid to have the vessel built, however in May 1926 the ship was back working the coastal passenger service along the east coast.

    CANBERRA was again utilised during World War II as a troopship, but at 30 years old upon her return to Howard Smith Ltd in 1947, the vessel was sold. After several years as a passenger liner with a Greek shipping company, and a brief period as a cargo ship, in 1959 the liner was sold to ship breakers.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Postcard dinner menu for Commander WTC Firth on board TSS CANBERRA.

    Assigned title: Dinner menu for Commander WTC Firth onboard TSS CANBERRA

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