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Gala dinner menu from SS ARCADIA

Date: 6 March 1957
Dimensions:
Overall: 215 x 140 x 1 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jenifer Dhu
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS1355[021]

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    Description
    Jenifer Dhu and Dr Brian Hobbs acquired this collection of menus, unused menus and entertainment programs during voyages on the P&O liners SS ARCADIA and SS ORSOVA in 1957-1958, and a visit onboard Lloyd Triestino's MN AUSTRALIA in 1951.
    SignificanceWith their delightful cover illustrations, menus and entertainment programs have always been cherished mementos of a long sea voyage. Featuring illustrations by well-known Australian and international artists and graphic designers Douglas Annand, Dorrit Dekk and Kay Stewart, the menus and programs provide an insight into the activities and entertainments onboard passenger liners during the 20th century.
    HistoryOnboard activities were crucial for encouraging social interaction and relieving boredom on long sea voyages on passenger liners during the 20th century. Entertainment programs promote the range of activities on offer - from table tennis and quoits, to cocktail parties and discos, bingo and card games to horse races - with appropriate prizes presented to winning owners and jockeys.

    With their delightful cover illustrations, ship menus have always been cherished mementos of a long sea voyage. This collection of menus from P&O liners SS ARCADIA and SS ORSOVA, and Lloyd Triestino's MN AUSTRALIA, feature illustrations by well-known Australian and international artists and graphic designers, including Douglas Annand, Dorrit Dekk and Kay Stewart.

    The menus are printed with the name of the ship, date, meal (breakfast, luncheon or dinner) and a vast selection of appetisers, entrees, salads, sweets, cheeses, fruits, desserts, beverages and wines. Menu covers were printed in advance on land and delivered to the ship, where menu selections would be printed on a daily basis. Passengers were able to acquire souvenir sets of unused menus from their table stewards. Jenifer Dhu collected three sets of unused menus - featuring scenes of Royal Residences, Queens of England and Holland - during a voyage on SS ARCADIA in 1957.

    Jenifer sailed on SS ARCADIA with her then husband, Dr Brian Hobbs, for postgraduate medical study in the UK. They embarked from Melbourne on 27 February 1957, travelling via Perth, Cape Town and Las Palmas, with a brief stop at Madeira, before arriving at Tilbury on 26 March. ARCADIA could not sail via the Suez Canal due to hostilities surrounding Egypt's decision to nationalise the canal the previous year. Jenifer remembers there was about one third of the usual number of passengers onboard because of the extra costs necessitated by the change in route.

    ARCADIA was built by John Brown & Co at Clydebank, Scotland in 1954. Easily distinguished by its black-domed funnel, ARCADIA accommodated 675 first and 735 tourist class passengers. It departed Tilbury on its maiden voyage to Australia on 22 February 1954.

    ARCADIA underwent an extensive refit in 1959, with air conditioning extended through the ship, and cabins and public rooms upgraded and refurbished. The ARCADIA cabin plan in this donation pre-dates the refit, with its reference to the punkah-louvre system of ventilation installed in the cabins.

    At the end of 1959 ARCADIA departed Sydney on its first voyage across the Pacific to San Francisco. Following its conversion to accommodate 1,372 passengers in one class, ARCADIA made a series of cruises to Alaska and Mexico, before being based in Sydney for cruises to the South Pacific and Asia. It was broken up in Taiwan in 1979.

    Jenifer and her husband returned to Australia on SS ORSOVA, departing Tilbury on 28 November 1958. The Suez Canal had just reopened, and Jenifer recalls the trip being extremely slow due to the number of ships which had been sunk there. She says, "This time the ship was filled to capacity. All free cabins were filled with passengers migrating to Australia." They arrived home in Adelaide on 24 December 1958.

    ORSOVA was launched by the Orient Line on 14 May 1953 - the same day as ARCADIA - and departed on its maiden voyage from London to Australia on 17 March 1954. It had accommodation for 681 first and 813 tourist class passengers.

    ORSOVA completed the Orient Line's first round-the-world cruise in 1955, sailing from London to Australia through the Suez Canal, then across the Pacific to the west coast of America, returning to Tilbury via the Panama Canal.

    ORSOVA was repainted white in 1964 and transferred to the ownership of P&O the following year. ORSOVA was used extensively for cruising through the early 1970s before being broken up in 1974.

    Jenifer acquired the Lloyd Triestino menus - illustrated with an array of Australian animals - during a visit onboard MN AUSTRALIA when it docked at Outer Harbour, Adelaide in 1951.

    MN AUSTRALIA was the first of seven new liners launched by Lloyd Triestino after World War II. Built by Cant Riuniti dell'Adriatico at Trieste, Italy in 1951, AUSTRALIA accommodated 280 first, 120 second and 392 third class passengers. It departed Trieste on its maiden voyage to Australia on 19 April 1951, returning to the port of Genoa, from where all future sailings would depart. AUSTRALIA was refitted in 1958, with air conditioning extended throughout the ship and accommodation altered for 136 first and 536 tourist class passengers. AUSTRALIA was transferred to the Italia Line in 1963 and renamed DONIZETTI, operating a service to South America until 1976.

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