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Reproduced courtesy of the Allcot Trust


Date: 1931
Overall: 550 x 745 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Allcot Trust
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00000437

User Terms

    Watercolour painting by John Allcot, 1931, of the refrigerated cargo ship SS BERWICKSHIRE, at sea. The ship has the livery of the Scottish Shire Line - yellow funnel, black hull, and white uppers. Built in 1912 for the Clan Line, it was originally named CLAN MACARTHUR (II), but was transferred to the Scottish Shire Line and renamed BERWICKSHIRE in 1918. It served on the Australian and New Zealand routes via South Africa until World War II. It was torpedoed and sunk in 1944.

    SignificanceThe painting is a good example of John Allcot's early work and of the ship portraiture for which he is highly regarded, characterised by fine detail and knowledge of ships. The painting also represents the international cargo trades which have been vital to Australia's maritime history.
    HistoryThe Scottish Shire Line originated in a small fleet of tramp steamships which were named after shires in Scotland, founded in 1874 by Turnbull Martin & Co. In 1884 it merged with other interests to become Elderslie Steam Ship Company, operating in the New Zealand and Australian trades. Elderslie in turn was taken over by a newly formed company, Scottish Shire Line, in 1910. The large Scottish shipowners Cayzer, Irvine & Co. had a controlling interest. The Scottish Shire Line thus became part of the Cayzer Irvine empire, comprising the extensive Clan Line and other fleets. However, the Scottish Shire Line kept its own livery and was separately managed by Turnbull Martin & Co, founders of the original line. Fleet numbers were never large. At the beginning of World War I there were seven ships, but at the end of the war only two remained. At the outbreak of World War II it had five ships, reduced to three at the end of the war. In 1967, with only one ship remaining, the Scottish Shire Line closed down.

    SS BERWICKSHIRE, 7,390 gross tonnage and 450.1 feet in length (137.2 metres) was built at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was a single screw steamship with a triple expansion engine, and refrigeration for cargo. In 1944 it was torpedoed by a German U-boat while in convoy in the Indian Ocean off Durban. It sank with loss of 8 lives - 94 people were picked up.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: SS BERWICKSHIRE

    Assigned title: SS BERWICKSHIRE

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