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Tea menu for the SS WOLLONGBAR (II).

Date: 4 February 1934
Dimensions:
Overall (Closed): 157 x 119 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS1311[010]

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    Description
    Tea menu from SS WOLLONGBAR (II). On the reverse of the menu, a supply list has been written in rough handwriting and perhaps reflecting the fact that this working ship carried mainly cargo rather than passengers.
    SignificanceWOLLONGBAR (II) was commissioned for the North Coast Steam Navigation Company in 1922 and while it was mainly used to transport perishable items such as butter between Sydney and Byron Bay, it did also take a small number of passengers. The North Coast trade run was vital for material that required fast distribution as road transport at this time was generally slower and unrefrigerated, making it a less reliable form of delivery for fresh produce. The fate of WOLLONGBAR (II) is also demonstrative of the very real dangers faced by Australia’s merchant ships during times of war, as enemy action threatened their important role as suppliers of food and cargo.
    HistoryBeginning as the Grafton Steam Navigation Company in 1855, the North Coast Steam Navigation Company (NCSN) underwent several changes before taking its title in 1891. The company was active in Australian shipping until 1954 where, due partly to the decline of the sea trade at this time, the company went into voluntary liquidation.

    WOLLONGBAR (II) was commissioned by the NSCN to replace an earlier vessel of the same name and almost the same design which had been lost in bad weather near Byron Bay in 1921. In early 1923 WOLLONGBAR (II) took over the route of its predecessor, serving mainly to carry produce and passengers between Sydney and Byron Bay. WOLLONGBAR (II), however, was not to last beyond the war years as in April of 1943 the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine near Crescent Head, about halfway between the ports of Sydney and Byron Bay. The ship was completely destroyed within a matter of minutes, as was her full shipment of cargo. Sadly, of the 37 crew on board at the time, only 5 survived. The ship had spent the previous day searching unsuccessfully for survivors of the SS LIMERICK, a merchant vessel that had also been targeted and sunk by an enemy submarine. The loss of life on both vessels, as well as the loss of shipments of products that were in short supply during the war was devastating. Twenty years later, in 1962, some original (and now rather decayed) boxes of butter from the wreck of the WOLLONGBAR (II) washed ashore near the site of the incident.


    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Tea menu from the SS WOLLONGBAR

    Web title: Tea menu for the SS WOLLONGBAR (II).

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