SS Canberra

From Our Contribution

SS Canberra
SS Canberra.jpg
SS Canberra 1.jpg
Name SS Canberra
Owner Australian Steamships Ltd. - Howard Smith & Co. Ltd., Melbourne
Builder Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd., Govan
Yard number 452
Launched 9 Nov 1912
Completed 1913
In service 17 Mar 1913
Out of service Nov 1959
Fate broken up
General characteristics
Type Passenger ship
Tonnage 7,707 tons
Length 410 0 ft (124.97m)
Beam 57.2 ft (17.42m)
Depth 38.4 ft (11.68m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 15 knots (27.78 km/h)
Capacity 1913 - 170 x 1st; 180 x 2nd; 60 x 3rd class. 1,080 troops


Owned by the Australian Steamships Ltd (Howard Smith), Melbourne and used on the Melbourne - north Queensland run. Requisitioned in October 1917 as a troopship, on 15 Nov 1917 she embarked 723 “Australian Imperial Force” (AIF) personnel; two Medical Officers, Dental Details, six miscellaneous, two Red Cross workers, 56 Nurses and two Chaplains.

Returned to her owners unscathed on 27 Apr 1920 she was refitted and resumed sailing between east coast ports until 1925 when a fire aboard during an industrial dispute took the life of a steward and caused extensive damage that took almost a year to make good.

SS Canberra was requisitioned for WW2 service in July 1941, and with some exceptions when she carried up to 650 troops, she continued with her coastal route. In March 1943 while travelling from Townsville to Port Moresby she was heavily straffed by Japanese aircraft near Cape York, escaping with only minor damage. A coal burner she was named "hungry-mary" by her stokers. SS Canberra was returned to her owners on 18 Aug 1947.

During 1947 she was sold for £100,000 to Goulandris Bros of Greece and employed on trans Atlantic migrant trade, and with one journey to Australia with Greek emigrants before she resumed her Europe to USA route. Renamed Espana when sold in October 1954 to the Dominican Republic's Navy Department. Scrapped in October 1959.

Soldiers carried

World War I

Fremantle to Port Tewfik, Egypt 24 November 1917 - 21 December 1917

Word War II

Port Moresby to Brisbane 7 - 9 February 1943

Townsville to Port Moresby 2 - 5 August 1943

Port Moresby to Townsville 15 -18 February 1944

Townsville to Port Moresby 10 - 13 March 1944

Port Moresby to Townsville 13 - 17 March 1944

Brisbane to Rabaul 12 - 29 March 1946