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SS WIMMERA docked at a wharf

Date: 1904 - 1918
Overall: 81 x 106 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transfer from the Australian War Memorial
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0047[338]

User Terms

    Photogrpah of SS WIMMERA docked at a wharf. She was a small passenger steamship owned by Huddart Parker and involved in it's trans Tasman route. The WIMMERA was sunk by a mine in 1918 during WWI off the north island of New Zealand, north of Cape Maria van Diemen.
    SignificanceThe SS WIMMERA was a regular traveller between New Zealand and Australia and her sinking in 1918 is evidence of the close proximity that the German navy came during WWI and the successful record the WOLF had in the southern waters.
    HistorySS WIMMERA was a steamship built in Scotland in 1904. Owned by Huddart Parker she became a 'particular favourite' for passengers between New Zealand and Australia.
    On June 25 1918 she had left Wellington en route to Sydney with 76 passengers and 75 crew on board. Despitre knowledge that the German raider, WOLF, had been in the region laying mines, Captain Herbert Kell of the WIMMERA took the route north of the North Island. In the early morning of June 26, the ship struck a mine north of Cape Maria van Diemen, New Zealand, killing 26 passengers and crew, including its captain who stayed onboard until the end assisting as many pasengers as possible.
    There was an inquiry into the incident that resulted in the blame being placed on Captain Kell taking a route he knew to have been potentially dangerous. However, there was doublt raised during the proceedings with evidence by the general manager of Huddart Parker that the Admiralty never provided specific instructions as to the definte trade route of vessels. They were also told shipping notices to skippers advised mines were "not a menace to navigation"
    (Sydney Morning Herald, March 22, 2010).

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