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HMSS HIMALAYA entering Sydney Heads

Date: 1869-1870
Overall: 345 x 531 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00016878
Place Manufactured:Australia
Related Place:Sydney Heads,

User Terms

    Watercolour by Frederick Garling of the auxiliary steamship HMSS (Her Majesty's Screw Steamship) HIMALAYA entering Sydney Heads, about 1869-70.

    The ship is flying the Red Ensign at the mizzen mast and a flag of identification as a troopship at the mainmast. It is depicted passing South Head under steam, with sails partially furled in preparation for steaming into the harbour. The Macquarie Lighthouse, the signal station and the Hornby Light are shown in the background.

    The small boat on the right with five oarsmen and a cox'n at the helm may be a boat returning to the pilot station at Watson's Bay having already dropped off the pilot on board the HIMALAYA.

    Red-clad figures on the deck are presumably military personnel. The painting is not signed or dated. It possibly depicts the HIMALAYA's arrival at Sydney carrying a military detachment on 13 March 1869.
    SignificanceThe painting is a fine example of the maritime watercolours of eminent colonial artist Frederick Garling, characterised by thin washes creating even tones and light, and detail from his close knowledge of ships. The ship depicted is significant in marking a transitional period in the design of ships, and as a ship which brought military and naval personnel to Australia.

    It is possible to discern at the base of Dunbar Head (below the Macquarie lighthouse) that Garling painted in some evidence - a mast and a boiler?- indicating the location of the wreck of the DUNBAR.
    HistoryThe auxiliary steamship HIMALAYA was built for the P&O Company by C J Mare & Company at Blackwall, England, and completed in 1853. It was an iron-hulled single screw steamship with three masts and square rig of auxiliary sails. Originally designed as a paddle steamer, it was built with screw propulsion instead, when P&O decided to move to this mode. At 3,438 gross tonnage and 340 feet (103.6 metres) in length, it was the biggest steamship in the world at the time. It had capacity to carry 1,200 tons of coal, and burned 18 tons a day. On its sea trials it made 14.575 knots.

    However, the price of coal almost trebled while the HIMALAYA was being built, and P&O's profitability declined. The HIMALAYA lost money on each voyage it made. It was then chartered to the British government to carry troops to the Crimean War and subsequently sold to the government in July 1854.

    In its subsequent role as a troop carrier, HIMALAYA carried troops to the Second Anglo Chinese War, and made regular voyages to India with relief troops for the British garrison. It also made some voyages to the Australian colonies and New Zealand, carrying military and naval personnel. A number of desertions from the ship were recorded at Melbourne in 1863.

    On 13 March 1869 HIMALAYA came to Sydney with a detachment of the 50th Regiment. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the ship had accommodation for 1,000 rank and file, 90 women and 200 children, in addition to its crew.

    In 1894 the HIMALAYA was placed in reserve and in 1895 was cut down and reduced to a hulk and renamed HM Hulk C60. In 1940 it was bombed and sunk by German aircraft in Portland harbour.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Coming Through the Heads

    Web title: HMSS HIMALAYA entering Sydney Heads

    Assigned title: HIMALAYA Coming through the Heads

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