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Commemorative plaque from the ship BULOLO

Date: 1939-1968
Overall: 607 mm, 11 kg
Medium: Engraved patinated copper alloy
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Burns, Philp & Company Limited
Object Name: Plaque
Object No: 00018171

User Terms

    This commemorative plaque came from the ship HMS BULOLO and is engraved with the emblem of the Burns, Philp & Co Ltd. In 1939 BULOLO was commissioned into the Merchant Navy and in 1942 it was converted into a landing ship and Allied headquarters in Algiers, Casablanca, Sicily, Anzio, Normandy and Malaysia. The plaque features a coloured naval British insignia and a number of engraved emblems including the company logo of Burns, Philp & Co.
    SignificanceThis plaque represents the service of HMS BULOLO as part of the Merchant Navy during World War II. It commemorates and highlights the achievements of its crew during the conflict.
    HistoryThe shipping line Burns, Philp & Co Ltd became incorporated in 1883. The company's early operations included running small stores on Queensland's Gympie goldfields and shipping goods between Brisbane and Sydney. The company expanded and began shipping between Australia and the South East Pacific running numerous plantations and warehouses overseas.

    In the interwar period of the 20th century Burns, Philp & Co became an established name in Australia; their ships were clearly recognisable by their Scotch Thistle flag. They operated on the Australian Stock Exchange until December 2006 when they were divided and sold.

    MV BULOLO was launched on 31 May 1938 at Glasgow, Scotland. It was ordered by Burns, Philp & Co, who used the vessel to fulfill their mail service contract with the Australian government. It visited many ports in Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides, Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands. BULOLO ran 8 trips as a merchant vessel before being commissioned into the Merchant Navy on 22 September 1939 to serve as a convoy escort. In 1942 BULOLO was made into a Landing Ship Headquarters and a communication centre for the Allies in Algiers, Sicily, Anzio and Normandy.

    BULOLO was eventually handed back to Burns, Philp & Co in 1948 and was once more used as the Commonwealth's mail service. It also ran as a passenger liner accommodating over 200 guests with luxuries including a cinema, stateroom and glass deck swimming pool. For 20 years it was the largest liner to travel between Australia and Papua New Guinea on a regular basis. In January 1968 Burns, Philp & Co sold the vessel to Chinese buyers who scrapped it in May 1968.

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