News from 1885: Launch of Belgic II

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: Although not a call on White Star's Australian service, Hobart
was the only call after Cape Town for ships on the White Star/Shaw, Savill
and Albion joint service to New Zealand.

The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, 12 March 1885
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

On January 3 (says a Home paper) the steamer Belgic, the first of two
additions to the White Star fleet, was launched from the yard of Messrs.
Harland and Wolff, in Belfast. Her general appearance corresponds in
all respects with that of the well-known vessels of the line; like her
sisters, the Ionic, Doric, and Coptic, now so well-known in the New Zealand
trade, she has turtle backs both forward and aft, forming an excellent
shelter in wet and stormy weather for the steerage passengers. The captain's
cabin is immediately adjoining the wheel-house and bridge. The officers, as
is customary in the White Star steamers, are quartered by themselves in a
deckhouse on the upper deck forward. The steerage accommodation is in three
sections, approached by separate entrances, and a hospital with every
requirement is provided for each section, and two on deck for infectious
cases. The whole upper deck, fore and aft, forms a promenade for the
steerage passengers, the saloon passengers having a special separate deck
above this again. The Belgic will be lit by electricity in all sections. She
is divided into eight water-tight compartments, and the provisions against
fire are most complete, while the life-saving appliances are also of the
most approved order. The Belgic is built of mild steel, and her dimensions
are as follows: -Length, 420ft.; breadth, 42ft.; depth, 29ft. 6in.; and the
gross register tonnage about 4,500 tons. She has two double-cylindered
engines of 400-horse power, also built by Messrs. Harland and Wolff,
the steam for which is supplied from three elliptical boilers, working at an
initial pressure of 90lbs. to the square inch. She is steered amidships by
steam, and has, in addition to the approved ordinary compasses and sounding
appliances, Sir William Thompson's patent compasses and sounding machine.


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