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Reproduced courtesy of the Allcot Trust

Scottish Shire Line steamship entering Sydney Heads

Date: 1931
Overall: 550 x 745 mm
Image: 385 x 274 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Allcot Trust
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00000439

User Terms

    Untitled watercolour painting by John Allcot, 1931, of a Scottish Shire Line cargo ship entering Sydney Heads. South Head and the Hornby Lighthouse are seen in the background. The ship has the livery of the Scottish Shire Line - yellow funnel, black hull, and white uppers. It can be identified as MV STIRLINGSHIRE, built in 1928 as CLAN MACDONALD (III), transferred to the Scottish Shire Line and renamed in 1929. It served on the Australian and New Zealand routes via South Africa until World War II. It was torpedoed and sunk in 1940.
    SignificanceThe painting is a good example of John Allcot's early work and the ship portraiture for which he is highly regarded, characterised by fine detail and knowledge of ships. The ship 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.

    MV STIRLINGSHIRE, ex CLAN MACDONALD (III), 6,022 gross tons, was built at Greenock, Scotland. It was a single screw oil-fuelled ship, and was the Clan Line's first motor ship. On 2 December 1940 it was torpedoed by a German U-boat north of Ireland, while part of a 41 ship convoy between Australia and the north Atlantic. The crew of 73 were rescued by another ship.

    Additional Titles


    Assigned title: Scottish Shire Line steamship entering Sydney Heads

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