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Half model of the steamship SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR

Date: c 1924
Overall: Height: 500 mm, width: 650 mm, depth: 215 mm
Medium: Wood, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Howard Smith Industries Pty Limited
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00031704

User Terms

    Half model of the steel steamship SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR. It has been constructed with a solid timber hull and metal deck fittings and displayed in a mirror backed case.
    SignificanceBefore a ship was built a half model such as this was created to plan a vessel's design and to display the hull to the ship builders and clients. These skilfully crafted models are replicas of their full scale counterparts and provide details of the design and build of individual vessels. This particular model represents a vessel of the Australian coal trade that gained fame as one of the industry's fastest carriers.
    HistoryShip builder's half block models were produced to demonstrate the shape of a vessel and were constructed by joining a series of planks together. Builders then used the model as a reference when cutting and fitting timbers for the full scale vessel.

    The SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR was a 3000 ton collier owned and operated by R W Miller & Co ship owners. It was built by J Lewis and Sons of Aberdeen, Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1924 to begin operations as Miller's first coal carrier to Newcastle. The ship became known for its quick passages, making a record trip between Newcastle and Melbourne in just over 5 days.

    During the war in February 1943 SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR was converted to a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship.

    On 14 October 1959 the carrier ran aground off Manly resulting in severe damage to its hull. After being towed to Sydney the vessel was repaired and in May 1960 was sold to Hines Metals Limited of Sydney. Later in that year it was sold to Taiwanese Breakers for scrapping.

    Robert William Miller (1879-1958) was born in Scotland and apprenticed at the age of 14 as a cabin boy. Miller migrated to Australia around 1901 and worked with Huddart, Parker & Co before leaving to begin his own business in 1907 in stevedoring and lighterage. He founded the company R W Miller & Co Pty Ltd in 1919 working mainly in the transportation of coal by sea but later expanding to road transport in New South Wales and Victoria. Through the 1920s Miller acquired several mines and cemented the company's place as a major coal producer in NSW. In the 1930s the company diversified into hotels and breweries. Miller died on 10 February 1958.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Half model of the steamship SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR

    Assigned title: SS WILLIAM MCARTHUR

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