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SS ORONTES at Circular Quay, Sydney

Date: 1 April 1915
Overall: 112 x 152 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Piers Jones
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00017046
Related Place:Circular Quay,

User Terms

    This photograph depicts passengers standing at the deck railings of the passenger ship SS ORONTES in Circular Quay, Sydney.

    SS ORONTES was a 9,028 ton Royal Mail steamer built in 1902 at Clyde, Scotland and managed by the Orient Line. The ship was designed specifically for the Australian mail and passenger service. It could accommodate 320 first class and 320 third class passengers. Its maiden voyage left from Tilbury, Britain on 24 October 1902 for Sydney, Australia travelling via the Suez Canal. The ship became popular with passengers and conducted numerous trips to Australia for 14 years until it was requisitioned in 1916 for service in World War I as a troopship. For a short period after 1921 the vessel was renamed BRITISH TRADE and used as an exhibition ship. In 1922 it once again came under the management of the Orient Line who renamed it ORONTES and placed the vessel back on the Australian passenger trade route until 1926 when it was scrapped.
    SignificanceThe Harry Brisbane Williams photographic collection provides an interesting record of a range of activities on Sydney Harbour from the 1890s into the 1920s. An enthusiastic amateur boater and photographer, Williams’ photographs capture a range of subjects – pleasure cruising on his motor launch on the Lane Cove River, yachting on Sydney Harbour, foreshore social activities, surf lifesaving, cargo ships, battle cruisers of the United States fleet, model yachting and the shipbuilding industry. In particular, they are a wonderful personal record of the new phenomenon of leisure motor boating in the early twentieth century.
    HistoryHarry (Henry) Brisbane Williams was born in 1869 in Brisbane, Queensland, and later lived in Balmain and Point Piper - both on Sydney Harbour. Williams was an enthusiastic amateur boater, and took his motor launch SABLE on numerous excursions around Sydney Harbour and the Lane Cove River. He was the photographer for the Water Board of New South Wales, and was a keen amateur artist - becoming friends with a number of prominent Sydney artists including Alfred Coffey.

    Williams' photographs held in the museum's collection date from the 1890s into the 1950s. His images depict a range of vessels, from passenger ships, cargo ships, Royal Australian Navy vessels, United States Navy battle cruisers, yachts, motor launches, sailing ships, tugboats, ferries, row boats and even paddle steamers on the Darling and Murray Rivers. Williams captures a range of social activities, including Fleet Week celebrations, rowing sculls, surf life saving, picnics, pleasure cruising and swimming. He also photographed a range of ship building activities, dry docks, slip ways and waterfront construction.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: SS ORONTES at Circular Quay, Sydney

    Assigned title: SS ORONTES arriving at Circular Quay

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