HMT Katoomba

From Our Contribution

HMT Katoomba
SS Katoomba.jpg
SS Katoomba 1.jpg
seen when named SS Columbia in 1952
Name HMT Katoomba
Owner McIllwraith, McEacharn Ltd
Builder Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Launched 10 Apr 1913
Completed 10 Jul 1913
In service 1913
Out of service 1958
Fate sold for scrap
General characteristics
Type Passenger / steamship
Tonnage 9,424 tons
Length 466 feet (142m)
Beam 60 feet (18.29m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 15 knots
Capacity 55 passengers and crew of 170.


Built for McIllwraith, McEacharn Ltd of Melbourne for the Sydney to Western Australia passenger run carrying passengers, as well as general and refrigerated cargo. In June 1918 she was requisitioned as a troopship and was sent to New York via the Panama Canal with American troops. Refitted at Sydney for her owners in 1919-1920 she was then used on the Australian coastal service from March 1920. In the 1930's she ran Pacific cruises that were very successful.

In February 1942 she was again requisitioned and converted to a troopship. Returned to her owners in 1946, she was sold to Cia Maritima del Este (Greek Line) in July 1946. Between 1947-1949 she was under charter to Cie Generale Transatlantique (French Line) and sailed between France and the West Indies. During a 1949 refit she was converted to oil burning boilers, given extra lifeboats, and painted white. She was renamed SS Columbia at the time of being sold, with accommodation for 52 x 1st class and 75 tourist class passengers.

Operated by them, in 1949 she was renamed SS Columbia and operated on the Bremen - Montreal service. in 1957 she made several voyages from Liverpool to Belfast and Quebec. She was damaged in a collision with the Home Line's SS Homeric at Quebec on 18 Aug 1957 in fog, and on 2 Oct 1957 started her last crossing before being retired from service in June 1950. She was laid up at Piraeus, Greece in March 1958 and scrapped at Nagasaki in 1959.

Soldiers carried

Milne Bay to Sydney 6 - 14 December 1942

Sydney to Townsville 12 - 15 May 1943

Buna, Papua New Guinea to Bowen, Queensland 20 - 27 Feb 1944

Buna, Papua New Guinea to Townsville 12 - 18 Mar 1944

Fremantle to Sydney 16 - 26 June 1944

Sydney to Aitape, New Guinea 5 - 13 November 1944

2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion

Brisbane to Jacquinot Bay, New Britain 19 - 24 February 1945

Townsville to Jacquinot Bay, New Britain 10 - 17 March 1945

Boarded on 10th, sailed on the 11th.

Lae, New Guinea to Townsville 29 April - 3 May 1945

Lae, New Guinea to Sydney 24 May 1945 - 2 June 1945

Sydney - Lae, New Guinea 25 Jul - 3 Aug 1945

Torokina, Bougainville to Townsville 11 - 16 December 1945