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Orient Line RMS OTRANTO 20,000 Tons

Date: 1908-1918
Overall: 139 mm x 90 mm
Medium: Photographic print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00001746

User Terms

    This sepia-toned postcard features a photographic image of the Orient Liner RMS OTRANTO. The vessel appears to be under steam in a harbour, shown from port side.

    The Orient Line - along with the Aberdeen and Sitmar Lines - transported thousands of child migrants from the UK to Australia until the child migration schemes ended in the 1960s.
    SignificanceThis postcard relates to a significant period in Australia's migration history, when thousands of children and youths emigrated from the UK through various church and philanthropic schemes as labour for rural Australia - all while bolstering the population with 'good British stock'.
    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.

    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 OTRANTO was one of four new 20,000 ton steamers constructed by Vickers Armstrong, of Barrow-in-Furness for the Orient Line's UK - Australia run. Built in 1925, OTRANTO embarked on its maiden voyage in January 1926. OTRANTO travelled to Australia between October and March, and was employed on cruises to Scandinavia and the Mediterranean in the northern summer. OTRANTO was requisitioned for service during World War II as a troopship. In 1948 it was refitted as a one-class passenger ship with accommodation for 1,416 Tourist Class passengers. In July 1949 OTRANTO resumed the London to Sydney service. Its last voyage was in 1957, after which it was replaced by ORSOVA and scrapped at Faslane, Scotland.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Orient Line RMS OTRANTO 20,000 Tons

    Web title: Orient Line RMS OTRANTO

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