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Teapot from Howard Smith Line ships

Date: c 1960
Dimensions:
Overall: 155 x 155 x 90 mm, 523 g
Medium: Silver plated
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jocelyn Cameron
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Teapot
Object No: 00048081

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    Description
    A silver teapot with Howard Smith Line ships markings.
    SignificanceThis tableware is from the Howard Smith Line, an important and influential Australian shipping line from the mid-nineteenth century until the late twentieth century.
    HistoryWilliam Howard Smith (1814-1890), master mariner and ship-owner, was born at Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, son of Ormond Smith, mariner, ship-owner and mail contractor for Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Holland, and his wife Kesier, née Edmunds. At 10 Howard Smith went on his first voyage; he later studied navigation and qualified as a master. He became a partner of his father at 21 and was given command of the steamship ADONIS. For some years he was employed by Malcolmson Bros, ship-owners, and sailed to Dutch, Spanish and Latin American ports. His first wife Anna Geil, née Hansen, died without issue; in 1854 he brought his second wife Agnes Rosa née Allen, and their five children to Australia.

    With S. P. O. Skinner, a marine engineer, Smith had bought the EXPRESS, a 136-ton schooner-rigged steamer, and entered the Port Phillip Bay trade between Melbourne and Geelong. After eight years Smith sold out to his Geelong agent, T. J. Parker (later a founding partner of Huddart, Parker & Co.), and entered the intercolonial trade.

    In 1862 he and his family revisited Europe. He bought the steamer KIEF, renamed it YOU YANGS, and from mid-1864 commanded it in competition with the powerful Australasian Steam Navigation Co. between Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle. The venture was successful and two years later he bought another steamship in England, the DANDENONG. It was his last command and he remained ashore after 1870.

    Establishing himself in the Newcastle coal trade, Howard Smith formed a limited partnership with L. J. L. Burke, who had a large coal business in Melbourne in the mid-1860s; he acquired the firm afterwards and it became one of Melbourne's largest and most efficient coal importers, constantly acquiring vessels because of the growing demand for passenger and general cargo services from Melbourne to all the eastern coast ports.

    In the late 1870s he had three of his sons in the partnership and they took charge of the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offices. The firm became a limited liability company in September 1883, William Howard Smith and Sons Ltd, with a nominal capital of £1 million, paid up to £500,000: all the £10 shares issued were taken up by the family. He became managing director at Melbourne and his second son, Edmund, at Sydney. Howard Smith retired from active management in 1884 and his sons Walter S. and Arthur Bruce succeeded him. He continued as chairman until 1887.

    The company continued to thrive after William Howard Smith's death in 1890. Coastal routes rapidly expanded until 1947 when the company's involvement in the inter colonial passenger trade ceased. In 1961 the Melbourne Steamship Co. was taken over by Howard Smith. The company was also heavily involved in the towage, salvage and stevedoring industries, until it withdrew from the traditonal shipping business in 1996 and from the towage industry in 2001 when the company was taken over by Wesfarmers Ltd., Perth.


    See G. R. Henning, 'Smith, William Howard (1814 - 1890)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, p. 161

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Australian Steamship Line teapot

    Web title: Teapot from Howard Smith Line ships

    Related People
    Manufacturer: Walker and Hall

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