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The Eastern & Australian auxiliary steamer EASTERN

Date: 1905
Dimensions:
Overall: 330 x 402 x 23 mm, 1.35 kg
Display Dimensions: 118 x 217 mm
Medium: Watercolour on card, framed
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00004609
Place Manufactured:Newcastle

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    Description
    This painting by John Downes depicts a broadside view of EASTERN in the open water. An unidentified clipper ship can be seen in the distance. EASTERN was built in 1899 by R Napier & Sons, Glasgow, for the Eastern & Australian Steamship Co, which eventually amalgamated into the P&O Line.
    SignificanceThis watercolour represents the early passenger trade to Australia operated by the Eastern & Australian Line.
    HistoryEASTERN was a single screw steamship for passengers and cargo built by R Napier, Glasgow. It had a triple expansion engine and could reach a speed of 12.5 knots. In 1924 EASTERN was sold to Harada Kisen K K, Kobe, Japan, and renamed TERUKUNI MARU. Seeing service in World War II, TERUKUNI MARU was bombed and sunk on 18 October 1944 by US aircraft 40 miles north of Luzon Island, Philippines.

    The Eastern & Australian Steamship Co (E&A Line) began as four British and Australian merchants contracted in 1873 to provide a mail service for the Queensland Government to transport mail between Queensland, Dutch East Indies, Singapore and Sydney. Hong Kong and Melbourne were eventually added to the route. In 1880 the contract was not renewed and they ceased mail transportation, evolving into a passenger and cargo carrier. They operated mainly between Hong Kong and Australia.

    In 1919 the company was taken over by Australasian United Steam Navigation Ltd, although it continued to operate as a separate entity until 1945. At that time, the chairman of P&O also held extensive interest in Australasian United Steam Navigation, and the company became connected to P&O in 1946. From thereafter Australasian United focused on cargo transportation between Australia and the Far East and continued to operate until 1975 when their last two ships were sold.
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