AHS2 Wanganella

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AHS2 Wanganella
AHS Wanganella.jpg
Australian ex POWs from Batu Lintang camp about to embark. AWM 118509
Name AHS 2 Wanganella
Owner Huddard Parker
Builder Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Yard number 849
Launched 17 Dec 1929
Completed 29 Nov 1932
In service 12 Jan 1933
Out of service 1970
Reclassified Ocean liner (1933–41, 1946–63) Hospital ship (1941–46) Floating hostel (1963–70)
Fate scrapped
General characteristics
Type Passenger liner (Trans Tasman)
Tonnage 9,576 tons
Length 461.2 ft 140.6m
Beam 63.9 ft (19.5m)
Depth 29.1 ft 98.9m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 16.7 knots (30.9kph)
Capacity 304 x 1st class & 104 x 2nd class


Originally named Achimota, the liner was acquired by Huddart Parker after the original sale to Elder Dempster Lines fell through. On 28 December 1937 she collided with the trawler Durraween off the coast of New South Wales. On 19 June 1940 she helped to rescue passengers from RMS Niagara after the latter hit a mine and sank off the coast of Auckland.

Renamed Wanganella, the ship sailed between New Zealand and Australia until 1941, when she was converted into a hospital ship. As Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Wanganella, the ship operated in support of Australian forces until 1946. AHS Wanganella carried wounded and sick evacuees from the Middle East, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Borneo and the South Pacific, travelling over 251,011 nautical miles (464,872 km) and transporting 13,385 wounded. In late 1945 ship carried ex POWs from Borneo home to Australia before being released to her civilian operator.

On 19 Jan 1947, while making her first trans-Tasman voyage after the war, Wanganella struck Barrett Reef just before midnight and stuck fast. The weather conditions were unusually benign, and remained so for the 18 days she spent on the reef. No-one was injured, and the passengers were taken off the ship the morning after the accident. The damage she incurred put her out of action for 22 months, mainly as a result of industrial action while she was laid up in a floating dock for repairs.

The increase in travel by air made operating the ship less viable, but before the ship was due to be scrapped in 1963, she was acquired and moored in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, and used as a hostel for construction workers building the Manapouri Power Station until 1970. In April 1970, a tug towed Wanganella to Hong Kong, and later to Taiwan, where she was scrapped. [1]

Soldiers carried

Melbourne to Singapore 2 - 15 September 1941

2/13th Australian General Hospital, including

Kantara, Egypt to Fremantle 11 September - 1 October 1942

Morotai to Tarakan 21 - 25 June 1945

Labuan Island to Morotai 5 - 8 Jul 1945

Labuan Island to Sydney 26 Sep - 11 Oct 1945

Labuan Island to Sydney 10 - 23 November 1945

29 - 31 Dec 1945 Sydney to Melbourne


  1. Wikipedia entry for MS Wanganella accessed 16/4/19