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WWI hospital ship TSS KAROOLA in dry dock

Date: 1914 - 1918
Dimensions:
Overall: 103 x 79 mm
Medium: Photograph
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transfer from the Australian War Memorial
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0047[308]

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    Description
    TSS KAROOLA was built in 1909 and owned by McIlwraith McEacharn Limited. It was leased as a WWI hospital ship, A63, until June 1919.
    SignificanceThe KAROOLA was one of the primary Australian hospital ships of WW1 and responsible for transporting casualties from the Middle East home.
    History"KAROOLA was taken over in Sydney on 9 May 1915 by the British government, for eventual duty as a hospital ship. However the ship was converted into a troop transfer A63 in Sydney then went to Brisbane to embark reinforcements for the 9th and 15th Battalions on 12 June.
    Returning to Sydney the ship embarked reinforcements for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions on 16 June along with medical supplies and equipment contributed by the New South Wales Red Cross Society. The cargo hold was filled for the voyage, mostly with foodstuffs. The ship then proceeded to Freemantle, where on 25 June, reinforcements for the 11th Battalion embarked and KAROOLA headed off across the Indian Ocean.
    The troops disembarked at Suez, and then Karoola continued through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, stopping briefly at Marseilles before arriving in Southampton on 9 August. KAROOLA was then converted into a fully equipped hospital ship, using funds raised by public subscription in Australia. When the conversion was completed, KAROOLA was designated No. 1 Australian hospital ship.
    On 9 September KAROOLA left Southampton for Egypt, boarding medical cases at Alexandria and carrying them back to Australia. On 18 December KAROOLA left Melbourne to return to Egypt to collect more casualties. Over the next three years KAROOLA voyaged regularly between Egypt or Britain and Australia, usually through the Suez Canal, but on two occasions went via South Africa. "[page 60, "Coast to Coast: The Great Australian Coastal Liners", Plowman, Peter. Rosenberg Publishing, 2007].

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