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Date: 1897
Overall: 1160 x 2580 x 460 mm, 135 kg
Medium: Wood, silver (plated) fixtures, string, iron, copper, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00016826
Place Manufactured:United Kingdom

User Terms

    Ship builder's model of the Australian coastal vessel SS WESTRALIA (I) made in the United Kingdom.
    SignificanceThis is a model of the SS WESTRALIA, an important passenger and cargo ship on Australia's eastern coast for many years in the early twentieth century and at one time the largest passenger vessel in operation. Vessels such as this played an integral part in developing Australia's commercial infrastructure. This model is a rare example in excellent condition of a ship builders model of a late 19th century vessel.
    HistoryHuddart Parker was formed in Geelong in the 1850s and grew on the trade produced by the Victorian Gold rushes to become a major Australian Shipping Company by the 1890s. The discovery of gold in Western Australia in the 1890s sparked a boom and several companies competed for service in the trade. In 1897 Huddart Parker purchased the WESTRALIA (I) to service the route between Melbourne and Fremantle.

    The two-masted single funnelled coastal steamer WESTRALIA was built by James Laing, Deptford Yards at Sunderland for Messrs Huddart, Parker & Co and for a time was the largest passenger ship operating in Australia. This model, originally built in 1897 as a builders model, was repaired in 1996.

    After the gold rush the WESTRALIA served for 20 years on the Sydney to Hobart run. The single screw steamer was capable of carrying 180 first class passengers, 200 steerage and cargo with a gross tonnage of 2742 tons. For a time it was the largest passenger ship operating in Australian waters and was regarded as a luxurious ship, with electric light, modern bathrooms and finely carved oak and teak panelling in the public rooms. Its design was considered to be so successful that the company ordered three more ships based on the design of the WESTRALIA between 1899 and 1904.

    It was sold in 1927 and towed to New Guinea where it was used as a store ship after having its engines removed. Based in Rabaul the vessel was used to hold Copra waiting to be shipped to Australia. A Japanese bomb sunk the vessel on 22 January 1942 while it was in Rabaul Harbour.
    Additional Titles

    Label title: Restored ship builder's model, SS Westralia


    Web title: SS WESTRALIA (I)

    Related People
    Model Maker: James Laing

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