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Shipbuilder's half block model of SS EMU in original case

Date: c 1875
Overall: 426 x 1408 x 150 mm
Medium: Wood, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Half block
Object No: 00005619

User Terms

    This builder's half block model is mounted in its original casing and was modelled for Adelaide Steamship Company's SS EMU.
    SignificanceHalf models rarely survive as the names of the ships they represented are usually lost or they are often mistaken for scraps of wood. This model showcases the shipbuilding tecniques of the late 19th century, designed for the cargo and passenger trade in Australia.
    HistoryShipbuilder half-block models were produced to demonstrate the shape of a vessel and were constructed by joining a series of planks together. Builders then used the model as a reference point when cutting and fitting timbers for the full scale vessel. The museum holds a large number of half models depicting vessels of different types, including steamships, skiffs, dinghies, launches and tugs.

    The SS EMU was built in 1875 by Blackwood and Gordon Port in Glasgow for R W Osborne and Partners, Port Adelaide. It was purchased by Adelaide Steamship Company in 1882 to serve the passenger trade from Port Pirie, South Australia. EMU made several visits to Sydney for the International Exhibition, which was housed in a purpose-built building, Garden Palace, and ran from 1879 until it was tragically burnt down in 1882. In 1888, EMU was used to transport coal between Wollongong and Port Adelaide. In 1894, EMU was then recalled to serve as a passenger vessel between Port Adelaide and the goldfields in Esperance, Western Australia. After sustaining considerable damage throughout the late 1890s, EMU was sold in 1901.

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