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Reproduced courtesy of P&O Heritage

P&O Line SS STRATHNAVER children's menu

Date: 16 August 1956
Overall: 217 x 137 mm, 10 g
Medium: Ink on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © P&O Heritage
Object Name: Menu
Object No: 00014579

User Terms

    The P&O Line - along with the Aberdeen and Sitmar Lines - transported thousands of child migrants from the UK to Australia until the end of the child migration schemes in the 1960s.

    Unlike Oliver Twist on this P&O menu, child migrants rarely had to ask for 'some more' on the voyage to Australia. Twelve-year-old David Hill savoured the cuisine on board, saying 'we had never seen food so beautifully presented and in such quantities. It was little wonder that I put on a lot of weight'.
    SignificanceThis child's menu provides insight into the experiences child migrants on board SS STRATHNAVER - and other passenger ships - during the voyage to Australia as part of various church and philanthropic schemes to develop rural areas with young labour. These schemes reflected Australia's broader immigration policies in the early 20th century, namely the government's desire to bolster the population with 'good British stock' and the building of a White Australia.
    HistoryFrom the 1860s, more than 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. They were sent by charitable and religious organisations, with government support, in the belief that their lives would improve, and that they would provide much-needed labour and increase the population.

    Few were orphans; many came from families who were unable to care for them. The lives of these children changed dramatically and fortunes varied. Some succeeded in creating new futures. Others suffered lonely, brutal childhoods. All experienced disruption and separation from family and homeland. Child migration schemes received criticism from the outset, yet continued until the 1960s.

    In 1869 the first party of child migrants boarded the Allan Line steamship HIBERNAIAN. The Liverpool shipping company would carry almost half of Canada's child migrants on its ships. At the height of the emigration trade, the Liverpool to Canada route was also serviced by the Cunard and White Star Lines. From Glasgow, the Anchor Line carried many of the children. Until the early 1960s most child migrants to Australia travelled by sea, sailing on vessels of the Aberdeen, Orient and Sitmar Lines. Names such as STRATHNAVER, ORMONDE, ORONSAY and FAIRSKY still evoke powerful memories for many former child migrants.

    RMS STRATHNAVER was launched in 1931 and operated by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). STRATHNAVER was the first of a series of Strath class ocean liners built by the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, England. STRATHNAVER was the sister ship of RMS STRATHAID - known as the 'White Sisters'. In October 1931 STRATHNAVER left for her maiden voyage from London to Sydney - a run the vessel serviced frequently during the post war migrant boom. During World War II, STRATHNAVER was requisitioned by the Government for service as a troopship and training ship. In 1948, she was refitted (which included the removal of her two fake funnels) and returned to commercial passenger service on the UK - Australia run carrying First and Tourist Class passengers. In 1954 she was converted to a single class ship, accommodating up to 1,250 passengers. In 1960 Orient Line and P&O Line merged and STRATHNAVER was under the ownership of P&O-Orient Lines. As the number of migrants to Australia slowed down, it was announced in 1961 that STRATHNAVER would be withdrawn from the service, and in February 1962 STRATHNAVER was sold and scrapped in Hong Kong later that year.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: P&O Line SS STRATHNAVER children's menu

    Assigned title: SS STRATHNAVER children's tea menu

    Related People
    Maker: P&O

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