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Dinner menu for the DUCHESS OF BEDFORD

Date: 16 November 1938
Dimensions:
Overall: 229 x 151 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John Rector
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Menu
Object No: ANMS1359[003]

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    Description
    This collection of paper ephemera relates to the Rector family's trans-Pacific voyage from England to Australia, via Canada, onboard the Canadian Pacific liner SS DUCHESS OF BEDFORD and Canadian Australasian liner RMS AORANGI in 1938. The family had fled Nazi persecution in Germany just four days before Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), the coordinated attack on Jews on 10 November 1938.
    SignificanceThis collection documents aspects of shipboard life experienced by the Rector family - three of the 7,000 Jews who migrated to Australia in the 1930s.
    HistoryMr and Mrs Hurt Rector and their nine-year-old son John migrated from Germany to Australia in 1938, having fled Nazi persecution just four days before Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), the coordinated attack on Jews throughout Germany on 10 November 1938.

    Hurt Rector had initially tried to get a permit for the family to migrate to Brazil but was unsuccessful. His second choice was Australia because it was a Commonwealth country that was politically and economically stable, and as far as possible from Europe. The Rectors paid their own fares in addition to a landing fee of 200 pounds. Family members who were unable to leave Germany died in Auschwitz.

    On 11 November 1938 the Rectors sailed from Liverpool to Montreal on the Canadian Pacific liner SS DUCHESS OF BEDFORD. DUCHESS OF BEDFORD was built by John Brown & Co in Glasgow in 1928. It embarked on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal in June 1928. DUCHESS OF BEDFORD was requisitioned as a troopship during World War II and decommissioned in 1947. Following a refit, it was renamed EMPRESS OF FRANCE and operated on the Liverpool-Quebec-Montreal route until 1960.

    The Rectors sailed from Canada to Australia on the Canadian Australasian liner RMS AORANGI, arriving in Sydney on 16 December 1938. AORANGI was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand in 1924. It was named after Mount Aorangi in New Zealand. In January 1925 AORANGI embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton to Los Angeles and Vancouver. It continued on its maiden Pacific voyage to Honolulu, Suva, Auckland, Wellington and Sydney in February.

    In 1931 AORANGI was transferred to the Canadian Australasian Line, jointly formed by the Union Steamship Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company to operate the trans-Pacific service between Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It was requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport during World War II, carrying troops and supplies to Europe. AORANGI was refitted in Sydney after the war and resumed the Vancouver-Australia service in August 1948. It was scrapped in Scotland in 1953. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper clipping in this collection shows AORANGI berthing at Darling Harbour on 9 June 1953, during its last voyage to Australia.

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