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Specification document relating to SS SAROS

Medium: Paper based material
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from McIlwraith McEacharn Limited
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1002

User Terms

    This specification document from the McIlwraith McEacharn Limited collection documents the hull and bunker capacities for the SS SAROS, a steamer owned by the Howard Smith Company.
    SignificanceThis collection is significant in recording a comprehensive history of an Australian shipping company from the 1870s to the 1990s.
    HistoryThe shipping firm of McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co was founded in London in February 1875 by Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm Donald McEacharn. McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co entered the Australian trade in 1887 bringing cargo and immigrants from Britain to Queensland. They also entered the coal trade. They entered into the fierce competition for passenger trade in the first decades of the twentieth century when competition for passengers required companies to provide more than converted cargo vessels. In 1909 their ship KAROOLA won a reputation for its salubrious accommodation and its size, and was the first Australian ship to exceed 7,000 tons. The company maintained the advantage in 1912 by commissioning KATOOMBA, which was larger and more luxurious than all its generation of passenger ships.

    With the growth of rail and road transport, Australian shipping declined during the twentieth century. McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co was a survivor and bought the fleets of James Paterson and Huddard Parker in 1961. In 1957 McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co together with Adelaide Steamship Company and Melbourne Steamship Company, set up Bulkships Pty Ltd to work the heavy ore trade and bought four ships. In 1964 it merged shipping interests with those of the Adelaide Steamship Company to form Associated Steamships. They had a combined fleet of 12 conventional cargo vessels, which they replaced with three container ships.

    McIlwraith McEacharn continued in the shipping trade until the 1990s when their ships were sold to a US company.

    Howard Smith Pty Ltd, Melbourne, was a company that was created in 1854 by Captain William Howard Smith. Captain William Howard Smith sailed into Melbourne from Hull in 1854 on the SS EXPRESS and commenced regular voyages between Melbourne and Geelong, but returned to England in 1861. He returned to Launceston in 1864 with his family and then operated a regular intercolonial passenger and cargo service between Melbourne and Sydney. By 1883 the company owned sixteen steamships and one sailing ship.

    By 1868 services were extended to Newcastle and in 1880 regular services operated to Maryborough, Adelaide, Brisbane and Rockhampton. Coastal routes rapidly expanded until 1947 when the company's involvement in the intercolonial passenger trade ceased.

    In 1901 it became Howard Smith Company Ltd and in 1914 changed to Howard Smith Limited. By 1914 the fleet had grown to thirty seven ships, and a large majority of these served in World War I. In 1961 the Melbourne Steamship Co. was taken over by Howard Smith. The company was also heavily involved in the towage, salvage and stevedoring industries. Howard Smith withdrew from the traditonal shipping business in 1996 and from the towage industry in 2001 and the company was taken over by Wesfarmers Ltd., Perth. Howard Smith Limited still continues to operate on the Australian stock exchange.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Specification document relating to SS SAROS


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