- Letter Writer
- Ship histories and stories, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 2022 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
In my welcome and informative June edition of the Review your article on the cruise ship industry was of special interest to me, as along with others I have been unable to ‘get away’ due to many months of cancellations. It would appear that a safe entry and medical clearance into Sydney Harbour is now reliant on costly private consultants, and a mix of government departments, with failures and confusion on all sides.
The days of Jenner and Pasteur, the launches based at the Sydney Quarantine Station, meeting ships outside the Heads and putting a doctor aboard have long passed. Any detected or disclosed health problems aboard would result in the ship concerned being taken into Manly Cove for further examination by the quarantine staff, until a safe clearance was granted.
On a lighter note I have enclosed a newspaper advert from 1957, detailing sailings from Sydney, when we had our own fleet of passenger ships on the coast. I took passage aboard TSMV Manoora that year to Fremantle and return to Sydney.
To accompany your correspondent’s information on RMS Strathaird as our first designated cruise ship, I have enclosed an image of her, preparing to sail again for London, a week after her return from that first cruise to Norfolk Island.
If I may comment, I believe your correspondent may have ‘missed the boat’ with this image of Strathaird, captioned Departing Sydney. It would appear that she is coming into her berth, with tugs in assistance, launch under her starboardbow, ready to run the bow lines ashore, all the ferries to the North Shore and Manly clear to proceed, also the ship’s overboard discharge is trailing after.
Leyland is a long-term correspondent who now resides in Grafton. By way of further explanation, the Sydney Quarantine Station had a steam launch Jenner which commenced service in 1914. In about 1920 she was joined by another Sydney built vessel Pasteur. They were engaged as tugs towing a fumigation barge to various vessels and transporting patients and stores to and from the Quarantine Station at North Head. They also transported animals to and from the Stock Quarantine Station at Abbotsford. A motor launch Hygeia was also employed conveying medical officers to board vessels.Pasteur was the last of these vessels and was sold out of service in 1959.
With the post-war popularity of air transport and decline in passenger ships the Sydney Quarantine Station went into decline and eventually closed. In April 1973 the Japanese tanker Sakaki Maru was the last ship to be quarantined here with a suspected case of smallpox.
Incidentally the above covers quite an extent of forgotten naval history as two Acheron-class torpedo boats Acheronand Avernus built by Atlas Engineering in Sydney were commissioned in 1879 for the NSW Naval Service. They were transferred to the Commonwealth Naval Forces in 1901 but being outmoded they were soon disposed of, with Acheronbecoming the Quarantine Service launch Jenner. She paid off in the late 1930s.