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Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour with YALLAROI berthed at right

Date: September 1889
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mr and Mrs Glassford
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: ANMS1092[253]
Place Manufactured:Circular Quay

User Terms

    The German liner KAISER WILHELM II can be seen moored at East Circular Quay with YALLAROI loading cargo at front.
    SignificanceThe Hall photographic collection provides an important pictorial record of recreational boating in Sydney Harbour from the 1890s to the 1930s. The collection documents the lively sailing scene in Sydney during this period and features images of vessels ranging from large racing and cruising yachts to the great array of skiffs and the emerging technologies of motorboats. The developing cityscape of Sydney and its harbour are also documented in this visual record.
    HistoryYALLAROI was the sister ship of TORRIDON and was built for the London/Australia wool trade in 1885. Owned by Alexander Nicol and Company of Aberdeen, it was reportedly in Sydney (alternating between Circular Quay and Grafton Wharf on Sussex St) in November 1885, July 1888, September and December 1889, November 1890, and January 1893. YALLAROI continued the Sydney trade until 1906 before it was sold to G B Drago of Genoa in 1911, Italy for 4,400 pounds.

    One article from the New Zealand newspaper 'The Press' described the vessel's days in Sydney:

    'These were the palmy days of the British clippers, when the cream of the Australian wool trade was in the hands of Aberdeen, Glasgow, and London sailing ship owners...The Yallaroi was probably one of the most handsome of the hundreds of clippers...She was one of the best-known ships trading to Sydney, and when loading there was visited weekly by hundreds of people who came expressly to admire the beautiful Yallaroi in her glory of clean paint, polished teakwood and glittering brasswork.' ('The Press', 5 March 1913, p. 5, National Library of New Zealand).

    The paper also published a tribute written by a sailor:

    An Old Salt's Lament

    "Yes! That's the old ship—the Yallaroi, built by Hall, of Aberdeen, and in her day the proudest and best of Sydney's famous wool clippers. She was launched in January, 1885. As a schoolboy I saw her 'take the water' and, later, by one of Fate's chances, when I was sixteen and the Yallaroi just over three, we met again.
    Well do I remember the meeting. Hurrying through the South-West India Dock gates, to see my first ship. I came upon her in all her glory, and my boyish heart was uplift. There she lay in the dazzling sunlight of an April morning, her flags streaming straight to a fresh head breeze, the red lion on her house-flag rearing defiance to the City of London.
    From the boom-end to her taffrail, from her glided trucks to her waterline, a live, vibrating thing. Aloft, wire, standing and running, yards and masts were snow-white, contrasting sharply with her jet block rigging and chain work and the black and white painted ports of her topsides....Little wonder, say I, if the boy's heart of me was stirred, and I trod on air.
    Five years later, after serving in the Yallaroi, through wet and shine, through fair weather and foul, as apprentice, and then as third mate, I once more stood on the South-West India dockside, and watched her tow to sea. We were parting company, my dear old ship outward bound to chase the evereceding horizon, till Australia's shores were raised, and I to study for my second mate's certificate. I was a grown man then, yet, as the last glimpse of her white yards disappeared round a bend of the smoky Thames I turned away with wet eyes. Twenty years, have passed, and much water has run under the bridge since then. Those clipper ships had souls, and were beloved. Now, alas! well, who can say?
    No. I won't go on board. The woman at her prow that we used to deck with greenery each Christmas wouldn't know me now. She will have forgotten her Scotch, and I cannot speak Italian."

    ('The Press', 5 March 1913, p. 5, National Library of New Zealand).
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