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GULF OF MARTABAN departing Cowper Street wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay

Date: 17 February 1897
Dimensions:
Overall: 120 x 164 mm, 0.077 kg
Medium: Glass plate negative
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of Peter Britz
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00017542
Place Manufactured:Woolloomooloo Bay

User Terms

    Description
    This image depicts Greenock Steamship Company Ltd's SS GULF OF MARTABAN departing Cowper Street wharf in Woolloomooloo on 17 February 1897. The launch next to the vessel is NEA. The gunboats in the background are possibly HMS KARRAKATTA (left) and HMS BOOMERANG (right).

    A contingent of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles were specially chosen to sail to London and participate in Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Representatives were selected after undergoing competitive tests intournament work, fencing, boxing and horsemanship. They were assembled at Camden on 15 January for training along with horses specially chosen for the voyage and festivities in London. On 12 February the contingent proceeded by route march from Camden to Sydney, arriving at the Royal Agricultural Society's grounds at Moore Park. They were stationed there until the 17th where they boarded GULF OF MARTABAN at Woolloomooloo.
    SignificanceThis image depicts one of the many events planned in the lead up to the first Diamond Jubilee to be held by a British monarch - Queen Victoria. To mark the queen's 60-year reign, a select few members of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles were chosen to go to London. This photograph, taken by one of Australia's most famous early photographers, depicts the moment the representatives departed Woolloomooloo Bay bound for the Jubilee celebrations.
    HistoryThe SS GULF OF MARTABAN was built by R and W Hawthorn, Leslie and Company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and launched in 1889 as part of Greenock Steamship Company Ltd's Gulf line.

    On 17 February 1897, a contingent of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles were specially chosen to sail to London on board GULF OF MARTABAN and participate in Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Forty-three representatives were selected after undergoing competitive tests in tournament work, fencing, boxing and horsemanship. They were assembled at Camden on 15 January for training along with horses specially chosen for the voyage and festivities in London. On 12 February, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel H B Lassetter, the contingent proceeded by route march from Camden to Sydney, arriving at the Royal Agricultural Society's grounds at Moore Park.

    At 8:15am on 17 February, the detachment commenced a march on horseback from the grounds at Moore Park to Victoria Barracks before passing through Oxford Street to the delight of spectators. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' described the excitement on the day:

    'As the Mounted Riflemen rode out amongst the crowd, every man with his prancing charger thoroughly under control and with a seat like a centaur, the admiration of the onlookers found vent in a rousing cheer.'

    The Mounted Rifles then made their way to Victoria, William, Park, George, Hunter, O'Connell, Bent, Macquarie and Albert streets before reaching Cowper Street wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay where GULF OF MARTABAN awaited their arrival. The SMH went on to describe the vessel and the various colourful flags that adorned it in honour of the event. Those distinguished individuals lucky enough to have had a ticket were greeted by Captain Hey as they boarded. The Mounted Rifles boarded after receiving an address from Major General French, stressing their status as chosen representatives of the colony and the nation. At 5:15pm, the vessel was flanked by the Government steam launch NEA and was towed down the harbour by the tug COMMODORE. The detachment arrived in London on 22 April 1897. On the voyage back to Australia one of the officers, Private W Handscombe, died and was buried at sea.

    Shortly after the Jubilee voyage, on 11 July 1897, a fire was discovered in the coal bunkers of GULF OF MARTABAN which caused extensive damage to the vessel while en route from Liverpool, England to Adelaide, South Australia. In 1902 the vessel was transferred to Furness, Withy and Company and eventually sold to A C de Freitas and Company and renamed LUSITANIA III. It was then broken up in 1909.

    Source: New South Wales Mounted Rifles, History, Part 8, 1897
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: A ship in Woolloomooloo Bay

    Web title: GULF OF MARTABAN departing Cowper Street wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay

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