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SS WESTRALIA (I) docked at wharf

Date: 1897 - 1927
Medium: Photograph
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transfer from the Australian War Memorial
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0047[392]

User Terms

    HistoryWESTRALIA (I) was an Australian coastal steamer built in 1897 by Sir James Laing at Deptford Yards, Sunderland, United Kingdom for Messrs Huddart, Parker & Co Limited. The single screw steamer was capable of carrying 180 first class passengers, 200 steerage and cargo with a gross tonnage of 2742 tons. For a time it was the largest passenger ship operating in Australian waters and was regarded as a luxurious ship, with electric lights, modern bathrooms and finely carved oak and teak panelling in the public rooms. Its design was considered to be so successful that the company ordered three more ships based on the dimensions of the WESTRALIA between 1899 and 1904.

    WESTRALIA undertook the coastal service on Australia's eastern ports travelling from Melbourne to Fremantle to take advantage of the economic boom generated from the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s. After this it served for 20 years on the Sydney to Hobart run.

    It was sold in 1927 and towed to New Guinea where it was used as a store ship after having its engines removed. Based in Rabaul the vessel was used to hold Copra waiting to be shipped to Australia. A Japanese bomb sunk WESTRALIA on 22 January 1942 while it was in Rabual Harbour.

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