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Date: 1914
Overall: 480 x 640 x 50 mm, 2.4 kg
Medium: Oil paints on board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gertrude Collier
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00028481

User Terms

    Theo Grimanes painted this view of the coastal steamer SS TAMBAR off the coast of Sydney in 1914. The ship is shown from port side underway, with dark smoke billowing from its funnel. A red ensign flies at the stern, and the flag of the North Coast Steam Navigation Company flies at the aft mast.
    SignificanceThis painting is significant in representing the coastal steamer TAMBAR, and is the work of a little-known but highly skilled maritime and landscape artist Theo Grimanes, who served on the ship.
    HistoryThe 456-ton steel cargo vessel TAMBAR was built in 1912 at Grangemouth, Scotland. It was originally owned by the North Coast Steam Navigation Company and traded between Sydney and the coastal rivers of northern New South Wales. In 1922, it was sold to the Tasmanian State Government Shipping Department and use to trade between Launceston, Curries and Melbourne. The TAMBAR was too large to be economical for the volume of cargo available and was offered for sale in 1926 and eventually sold to William Holyman and Sons Pty Ltd, Launceston in 1929.

    Coastal shipping provided the infrastructure to service towns along the coast and rivers before railways and roads were built. The arrival of ships was met with excitement in small towns. Such vessels carried the goods people had ordered such as groceries and clothing.

    Theo Grimanes (1887-1953/4) was born Theodore Emanuel Grimanes on the Greek island of Andros. At 12 years of age he ran away to sea, working aboard sailing ships and British tramp ships. After arriving in Australia he continued his seagoing career on Australian coastal vessels. Grimanes painted this view of SS TAMBAR in 1914 while he was working on board the vessel for the North Coast Steam Navigation Company. In the 1930s, Grimanes was a bosun with the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company. In Sydney he studied art and produced commissioned works, mostly ship portraits and rural scenes.

    According to the donor Mrs Gertrude Collier, Theo Grimanes gave the painting to his friend Laban Davis (Collier's father) who lived at Urungar, at the head of the Bellinger River, New South Wales. Gertrude remembers the TAMBAR and other ships berthing at the wharf on the opposite side of the river to their house at Urungar. Her family ordered groceries from McIlwraiths in Sydney and they arrived in boxes aboard the North Coast Steam Navigation Company's ships. When she was about 12 years of age, Gertrude travelled to Sydney on the TAMBAR and remembers it as a very exciting voyage. The vessel bumped the bar on the way out of the Bellinger River and they were momentarily very concerned the ship may have stuck fast.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: SS "TAMBAR"

    Web title: SS TAMBAR Sydney

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