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Photograph of HMAT NESTOR leaving Port Melbourne Pier

Date: c 1916
Dimensions:
Overall (photograph): 165 x 209 mm
Overall (mount): 250 x 301 x 3 mm
Medium: Paper, cardboard, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00051785
Related Place:Port Melbourne,

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    Description
    Photograph of troopship NESTOR departing Port Melbourne Pier, 1916. The logistics of transporting the expeditionary force long distances to Europe and the Middle East in World War I required the Australian Government to requisition commercially owned passenger transports that were hurriedly converted into troopships. In this photograph HMAT NESTOR, numbered A71, is thought to be transporting the 21st Reinforcement, 4th Light Horse Brigade. It was originally owned and operated commercially by the Ocean SS Co Ltd.
    SignificanceThis photograph clearly depicts the use of commercially owned vessels for troop transports during World War I and the rousing send off Australian troops were given on the departure for war.
    HistoryAt the outbreak of hostilities of World War I the Royal Australian Navy consisted of a young and small fleet. With 20,000 Australian troops pledged to fight for Britain before war had even been formally declared, the logistics of transporting the expeditionary force long distances to Europe and the Middle East required the Australian Government to requisition commercially owned passenger transports that were hurriedly converted into troopships. One of the first was the auxiliary cruiser operated by P&O Branch Line, BERRIMA. In just six days it was fitted out at Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour to carry 1500 officers and men to Rabaul, in German New Guinea.

    As the larger expeditionary force was raised, Australia tended to requisition British ships visiting Australian ports, often for trade reasons, for conversion to troopships rather than its own coastal cruisers and began to assign trooping numbers to these vessels, beginning with A1. NESTOR, pictured in the photograph, was assigned the troopship number A71. Not all requisitioned ships carried troops as cargo transport, such as horses and food supplies, were also required. These ships boarded troops at all major Australian ports. NESTOR was originally owned by the Ocean SS Co Ltd, Liverpool, and was leased by the Commonwealth until 26 June 1917.

    The photograph of NESTOR departing Melbourne in 1916 probably relates to the 21st Reinforcement, 4th Light Horse Brigade, which departed from Melbourne aboard HMAS NESTOR, according the Australian War Memorial, on 2 October 1916. Two other troopships, CLAN MACCORQUODALE and HYMETTUS left Melbourne in September carrying troops from the 21st Reinforcement.

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