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Dinner menu for TSS KATOOMBA featuring an image of the vessel on the cover.

Date: 30 October 1932
Overall (Closed): 157 x 119 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS1311[009]

User Terms

    Dinner menu for the McIlwraith McEacharn liner TSS KATOOMBA, featuring a black and white image of the vessel and the company flag in the top left corner.
    SignificanceShipboard menus such as these were often collected by passengers and crew as a memento of their travels. This particular vessel, TSS KATOOMBA, was part of Australian maritime history for a period of over thirty years. The vessel was used as a luxury passenger liner between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and also served as a troopship during both World Wars. After World War II, KATOOMBA was sold to a Greek company where she was involved in transporting European emigrants to Australia.
    HistoryTSS KATOOMBA was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the shipping company McIlwraith McEacharn in 1913. Harland & Wolff were famous as the shipbuilders of the ill-fated TITANIC while McIlwraith McEacharn was a London based company with strong ties to the Australian shipping industry. In 1913 when the newly built KATOOMBA arrived in Australia, it was one of the largest and most luxurious liners in the competitive passenger transport industry.

    In 1918 KATOOMBA was requisitioned for war service and spent several years transporting troops before returning to work as a passenger liner in 1920. In the inter-war period the vessel was used mainly for the passenger run between Sydney and Melbourne, although KATOOMBA did participate in a popular series of cruises to the South Pacific and Queensland. In 1941 KATOOMBA was again requisitioned for war service as a troopship and in August of 1942 found herself the target of a Japanese submarine in the waters off South Australia. Fortunately the ship was able to pull away from the submarine and avoid any damage.

    By the time KATOOMBA was released from war service as a troopship in 1946, the vessel was thirty years old and no longer economically viable for her owners. KATOOMBA was then sold to a shipping company in Greece where passengers liners were in demand and after a refit, was renamed COLUMBIA. The ship’s first voyage as COLUMBIA was to return to Australia with a full complement of emigrants and after several more years as a passenger liner, the vessel ended her days in Japan in 1959, being broken up for scrap.

    McIlwraith McEacharn Limited originated in London in 1875, going on to become one of the largest and most successful companies operating in Australia throughout the following century. Within a year of forming, McIlwraith McEacharn had won a major contract with the Queensland Government to provide six ships for two years, transporting British migrants to Australia.

    When the contract between McIlwraith McEacharn and the Queensland Government ended in the 1880s, the company's ships instead conveyed wool and passengers. Around this time McIlwraith McEacharn gained some notoriety as pioneers of frozen and refrigerated sea transport. Throughout next few decades, McIlwraith McEacharn became involved in mining and transportation services, and strengthened its hold on passenger shipping. By the 1980s coal had become the major focus of McIlwraith McEacharn and the company sold its remaining shipping interests. In 1992 the remainder of the business was traded to a US company and lost the 19th century name.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Dinner menu for the McIlwraith McEacharn TSS KATOOMBA

    Web title: Dinner menu for TSS KATOOMBA featuring an image of the vessel on the cover.

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