News from 1899: Medic's Maiden Voyage Inaugurates White Star's Australian Service

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Mark Baber

Staff member
The Times, 4 August 1899

NEW SERVICE TO AUSTRALIA---The White Star Line service between Liverpool
and Australia was inaugurated yesterday, the Medic, a well-appointed
vessel of 12,000 tons, leaving the Mersey in the afternoon bound for
Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, calling at Cape Town. The
service is to be monthly, and only third-class passengers---for whom the
accommodation is of a superior character---will be carried. The Medic on
her maiden voyage takes 85 passengers.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The West Australian (Perth), 11 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The first of the new White Star steamers put in an appearance at Albany on
Friday morning, and was met by Mr. Leeds, as representing the Australian
agents, Messrs. Dalgety and Company, Ltd. Acting on the side of caution the
captain decided to anchor in the sound and not go into the harbour on this
occasion, wishing first to see whether any risk to the safety of his ship
would be run by the Media and succeeding steamers using the inner anchorage.
Captain Thornton, however, satisfied himself on that point, and there is no
doubt but that the inner anchorage will be availed of in future. A series
of concerts and entertainments were held on board, and at one of these, the
evening before arrival in port, the passengers expressed to Captain Thornton
the pleasure they had derived from the excellent berthage accommodation and
the liberal diet provided, which had far exceeded their most sanguine

Shortly after anchoring, the Mayor (Councillor C. McKenzie) boarded the
steamer, and, on behalf of the town, extended a hearty welcome to the
captain, and invited him to meet the councillors and principal residents at
the Town Hall, which was accepted. At 3 o'clock a large and representative
gathering took place, when the Mayor, after proposing the health of the
Queen, asked the company to drink success to the White Star Line,
expressing the hope that the venture would prove a profitable one for the
owners, Messrs. Ismay, Imrie, and Co. Captain Thornton responded, thanking
the Mayor for his hospitality and good wishes, at the same time giving
some interesting details of the steamer under his command, which he stated
was 550 feet long, 63 feet beam, and 45 feet in depth, capable of carrying
over 350 third-class passengers, besides nearly 20,000 tons of cargo. Mr. S.
J. Haynes, M.L.C., proposed "The Mercantile Shipping Interests of the Port
of Albany," which was responded to by Messrs. Knight and Clare. Mr. J. A.
Wright, G.R., then gave the toast of "The Agents, Messrs. Dalgety and Co.,
Ltd.," remarking that the thorough manner in which they conducted all their
business rendered them particularly suitable agents for such a powerful
company as the owners of the White Star Line. He welcomed the advent of such
a popular line, which was a distinct benefit to Albany, and said that every
encouragement should be given to shipping making Albany a port of call.
The name of the Fremantle manager present was coupled with the toast, to
which Mr. Leeds replied, expressing pride at the appointment of his company
to represent the line, which was doubtless owing to the fact that Messrs.
Ismay, Imrie and Co., being amongst the largest owners of shipping in the
world, selected the best known and largest company in Australia as their
agents, and it was their intention to make the venture a success. Captain
Thornton then proposed "The Mayor and Corporation," thanking them for their
courtesy and good wishes, and inviting the company to pay a visit to the
Medic, of which a number availed themselves. Subsequent to going off in the
launch a drive was taken round the Middleton Beach road.

Five steamers will be engaged in the trade, viz., Medic, Afric, Persic,
Runic, and Suevic, all twin screw, built by Messrs. Harland and Wolff. The
service will be a monthly one, calling at the Cape, and as the time occupied
by the Medic from London to Albany was only 38 days it is anticipated that a
large passenger trade will be done by the company. Mr. Leeds returned to
Fremantle by the mail train on Saturday.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Advertiser (Adelaide), 12 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


The history of Liverpool has been intimately associated with the development
of the Australian colonies from the earliest days. More than 50 years ago,
before the great rush to the Australian goldfields, fast sailing clippers,
flying the well-known flag of the White Star line, were regularly
dispatched with her Majesty's mails from Liverpool to Australian ports, and
when the gold fever set in something like half a million adventurers were
carried to the new El Dorado by sailing vessels, the favorite White Star
clippers obtaining a large share of the traffic. Some of the larger vessels
then employed in the line, such as the White Star, Red Jacket, and others,
were as renowned for smartness, luxurious accommodation, and quick passages
as are their successors, the great steamship liners of to-day. Until 1868,
when Mr. Ismay purchased the White Star flag from the retiring owners,
wooden ships had chiefly been employed, but, with characteristic enterprise,
his firm signalised their advent in the trade by loading iron ships, the
first of which, the Explorer, 750 tons register, sailed from Liverpool for
Melbourne on March 21, 1868, being followed by vessels of constantly
increasing size, culminating in the Hoghton Tower, of 1,598 tons register,
built by Messrs. Clover, which sailed from the Mersey on June 26, 1869, with
a full complement of saloon and third-class passengers, under the command of
Captain Digby Murray, who later commanded the Oceanic, the pioneer steamer
of the White Star line, on her first voyage to New York, and was afterwards
associated for so many years with the Board of Trade as principal nautical
adviser. The Hoghton Tower was followed on July 24, 1869, by the Victoria
Tower, a vessel of the same size, built by Messrs. Evans, commanded by
Captain Kerr, formerly in charge of the celebrated sailing clipper White
Star. Since then the trade between London and Australia has developed
rapidly. Immense imports of Australian wool, find their way to the London
market, augmented of late by the growing trade in frozen mutton, tallow,
wines, fruits, and dairy produce. Regular steamship lines between London and
Australia have been established, and foreign steamship companies have
instituted direct steam service between the Continent and Australian ports.
In all general cargo trades sail has been rapidly displaced by steam, and
Messrs. Ismay, Imrie, & Co., having sold all their sailing ships, the last
of which was the large four-masted clipper California (the last sailing ship
built by Messrs. Harland and Wolff) have now arranged with that firm for the
construction of five large twin-screw steamers, aggregating about 60,000
tons, for the Australian trade. These steamers will carry no saloon or
second cabin passengers, but will have very exceptional accommodation for
third-class, including smoking, dining, and reading rooms, so necessary on
such long voyages; the sleeping accommodation will also comprise many two
and three berthed rooms, all lit by the electric light. In addition to an
unusually large capacity for general cargo they will be fitted with
extensive refrigerating chambers for the carriage of dariry produce, fruits,
and chilled or frozen meats. Thus it is hoped that the city and port of
Liverpool will be greatly benefitted, for which the facilities already
provided by the Mersey Docks and Harbor Board, the great improvements which
are now being carried out, the excellent railway facilities existing, there
is no reason why the port should not become a centre for the distribution of
a portion of Australia's products, as she already is for those of North and
South America.

Australia is on the eve of a great change; according to the present outlook
Federation may be expected at no distant date, the irrigation schemes in
progress will tend to minimise the droughts from which the country has
suffered in the past, and the policy of the Secretary of State for the
Colonies (Mr. Chamberlain) of bringing the colonies into closer touch with
the mother country will be furthered by the establishment of a connecting
link of large cargo carriers. Liverpool is the centre for the consumption of
tallow and timber, and her proximity to the wool manufacturing districts
should attract a share of those commodities, in addition excellent
connections can be made for the carriage of colonial wool to the United
Stales and European ports. The first of these steamers, the Afric, 11,815
tons, was launched on November 16, 1898, and is now in Belfast, being fitted
with refrigerating machinery; the Medic, of similar dimensions, followed on
December 15, of the same year, and will shortly be succeeded by the Persic,
Runic, and Suevic, making together a fleet capable of maintaining a monthly
service between Liverpool and Australia.

The Medic, which will arrive at Port Adelaide to-day, is the pioneer vessel
of this line, and inugurates a monthly direct service between Liverpool and
Australia, via the Cape. The Medic is 11,984 tons gross register, and has a
carrying capacity of 18,797 tons. She is 550 ft. in length by 63 ft. beam,
and carries 326 passengers. In comparison with the largest merchant steamers
we find that she is about 1,000 tons greater in measurement than the
Barbarossa, 25 ft. greater in length, 3 ft. in beam, and 10 ft. in depth.
Mr. T. H. Ismay, the head of the firm of lsmay, Imrie, and Co., who own the
line, expressed himself as being well pleased with the work of the
shipbuilders, Messrs. Harland & Wolff, who are also building the four other
steamers for the same service. These additional steamers are all being built
after the type of the Medic. When the vessel was launched Mr. Ismay
expressed it as his opinion that the new line would completely revolutionise
the colonial trade. The line will have its terminus at Sydney, but will also
call at Adelaide and Melbourne for passengers and cargo. These steamers, as
before stated, have no saloon accommodation, but can offer special
advantages for third-class passengers, who will enjoy comforts on the long
sea voyage superior to those offered by any other line. The general room is
fitted with a piano, and a large library, and the state rooms are similar in
design and upholstering to those of the best ships of the line. The steamers
are intended to cater for the carriage of Australian meat, dairy produce,
and fruit, and for this purpose complete refrigerating machinery has been
installed in each. The system which has been adopted is that known as the
"brine-pipe system," which has the effect of producing a very cold, dry,
air. To ensure the successful carriage of fruit the cooling chambers have
been fitted with air trunks, arranged along the sides of the rooms: one
with openings through which the cold air enters, the other with orifices
through which the cold air is drawn away again by exhaust fans. These are
distributed over a set of coils, through which the brine is circulated in a
cool room. The air is thus forced at the necessary temperature among the
contents of the room, the same temperature being maintained throughout the
passage. The agents of the White Star line of steamers are Messrs. Dalgety &


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 13 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The Medic, the pioneer steamer to Australia of the celebrated White Star
line, arrived at Largs Bay on Tuesday afternoon. She anchored at a few
minutes after 2 o'clock. Her arrival was awaited by the health officer Dr.
Toll and other officials. As the launches got alongside those on board were
impressed with the Medic's large size, and the impression was enhanced later
when the surroundings were viewed from her extensive deck, and from the
steamer's bridge. Dr. Toll was the first official to board her, and having
made the necessary enquiries concerning the health of all on board awarded
pratique. There were on arrival 117 passengers. Of those 19 were for
Adelaide, and of this total 17 joined the vessel at Albany. For Melbourne
there were 12 passengers from Liverpool, 16 from Cape Town, and four from
Albany, and for Sydney 43 from Liverpool, 22 from Cape Town, and one from
Albany. The Medic has accommodation for 300 passengers, and at the
exceedingly low rates charges for berths she should be well patronised.
Visitors were conducted over the ship, and everything was found to be clean,
and in first-class order, the various cabins being well ventilated and
roomy. Her carrying capacity so far as cargo is concerned is 18,000 cubic
tons. On the present voyage for South Australia, she had, however, but a few
hundred tons. In her refrigerating space there is room for 80,000 carcases
of mutton. A good idea of her size can be gathered from the fact that she is
of 7,825 net registered tons, and 11,984 gross tons. Her bill for light dues
will for South Australia amount to £97 16/3.

Shortly after the steamer was sighted a launch, having on board Pilot Walsh,
went og [sic] to meet her. She was intercepted some distance out in the
gulf, and the pilot conducted her to a good berth. The steamer was drawing
21 ft. 9 in., and the depth of water in the river at the time was shown on
the gauge as 24 ft. 9 in. This would have been a sufficient depth, in the
pilot's opinion, for the vessel to have gone up the river, and into harbor.
He expressed his willingness to Captain Thornton to take her up, but he
preferred not to run a risk. Captain Thornton, in conversation with an
"Advertiser" reporter, afterwards, stated that he did not care to take the
risk of the vessel navigating the channel. "Circumstances would have to be
exceedingly favorable," he explained, before he would run a risk.

Had the right been given to you to choose your pilot would you have gone
into harbor?

"No, I should not personally have felt justified in running the risk. Before
I should venture to take the vessel up the river the weather would have to
be fine, very little or no wind, and there would require to be a rising
tide. Several thousands of pounds is represented in this ship, and I am not
going to risk my livelihood or endanger the vessel."

Whilst on the bridge, looking towards the river, the captain said---"If you
stand up here and think a little you can well conceive the amount of care it
would be necessary to exercise in navigating that stream. The wind would not
keep the steamer off lee shore, and there is no room for the vessel to
drift. The channel is so narrow that should the ship get her head at an
angle with it she would be aground." Captain Thornton expressed the opinion
that a canal through from Largs would have been a more sensible undertaking
than spending a large sum of money in deepening the whole length of the
river. He hopes to personally inspect the river to-day.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Argus, Melbourne, 13 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The expected arrival in Port Phillip waters of the new mammoth Liverpool
White Star line steamer Medic is arousing considerable interest in shipping
circles, for she is much larger than any other vessel, including the modem
German mail liners, yet engaged in the Australian trade. The Medic reached
Adelaide from Liverpool via Cape Town and Albany yesterday, and as far as
can at present be ascertained, she should enter an appearance in Hobson's
Bay on Friday next.

The Medic is a twin-screw steamer, and is of 11,984 tons gross, her
dimensions being---Length, 550ft., and breadth, 63ft. She is of nearly 2,000
tons greater burthen than the Majestic and Teutonic, of the same line, which
are so well-known in the service between Liverpool and New York. Hitherto
the German mail steamers Barbarossa, Koenigin Luise, Friedrich der Grosse,
and Bremen, have taken the lead, both as regards tonnage and measurement,
among vessels trading to Australia, all of these being approximately of
equal size. "Lloyd's Register" gives the Barbarossa as of 10,769 tons, and
her dimensions---length 525ft., and breadth 60ft. It will be noted therefore
that the Medic is 25ft. longer and 3ft. broader than the colossal German
liner mentioned.

The Medic has one immense funnel and four pole masts. She is fashioned on
very attractive lines, and has a straight stem.

She will carry no first or second class passengers, but has exceptional
accommodation for third class passengers. The sleeping cabins, dining hall,
reading and smoking rooms are stated to be on a scale which for luxury and
comfort have never before been attempted in connection with the carriage of
third-class passengers in any part of the world. The electric light is
installed throughout the ship.

Captain Thornton, an old servant of the company, is in command. For some
years he was on the Australian sailing ship service of the Liverpool White
Star line, but recently he has been acting for the company in a shore
capacity at New York. On the passage round the coast from Adelaide to
Melbourne, and thence on to Sydney, Captain Thornton will on his first trip
have the assistance of Captain George Ramsay, formerly of the China
Navigation Company's steamer Tsinan, so as to thoroughly familiarise himself
with the route and the harbours.

The insulated compartments in the Medic are situated in Nos. 2 and 3 holds.
The total carrying capacity of these chambers is about 80,000 carcases of
sheep, but provision has been made for considerably increasing the space if
necessary. The refrigerating system is J. and E. Hall's carbonic anhydride,
and duplicate machines have been fitted in a special house in close
proximity to the required work. An extensive supply of spare gear is
carried, so as to minimise the risk of a breakdown.

The fares from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Albany to London are,
considering the excellence of the accommodation provided, excellently
reasonable. Two-berth cabins may be had for £18/18/ for each occupant. In
the four-berth cabins the charge is £16/16/ for each passenger; whilst those
who are content to travel in "open berths" can do so for £14/14/.

The Medic has a bunker capacity equal to 2,421 tons of coal, which would
enable her to steam from Liverpool to Sydney at her usual speed without
calling at any intermediate ports to replenish her fuel supply.

The immense size and heavy draught of the Medic render it impossible to
navigate her in the river, and arrangements have therefore been made for
berthing her alongside the Port Melbourne Railway Pier.

Included among the ship's company are a number of cadets from the
training-ship Conway.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Argus, Melbourne, 16 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


Yesterday morning, shortly before 10 o'clock, residents at St Kilda and all
round the foreshore of the bay could discern the majestic outline of the
largest steamer that has ever appeared in the Southern Hemisphere as she
made her way up towards Port Melbourne. With her immense single funnel and
her great height out of the water, the Medic fairly dwarfed all the shipping
that has yet been seen inside Port Phillip Heads and in the beautiful spring
morning, with a sea of almost perfect calmness, the gigantic vessel looked
her very best. In the construction of the modern steamship the masts have a
tendency to shrink in size owing to the fact they subserve no practical
purpose, just as in the living organism, appendages for which there is no
use invariably become subject to atrophy. In the Medic the four masts, two
forward of the funnel and two abaft it, are little more than flagpoles. The
insignificant height of the masts, however, absolutely enhance the idea of
size in the vessel herself, and when Captain Sanderson, the harbourmaster,
had safely berthed her on the west side of the Port Melbourne Railway Pier,
the visitors who thronged to see the new leviathan were able to form a fair
idea of her proportions. When moored alongside of the pier she occupied a
little more than one third of the entire berthing accommodation and those
who went on board had to climb a ladder of 42 steps from the level of the
pier to the steamer's main deck.

On board the steamer it is difficult to escape from the dominating
impression of overpowering size. Standing on the hurricane deck one can see
a fairly large steamer in front of one and another behind, for the Medic is
550ft. long and she has a beam of 63ft. She is above all things, a
cargo-carrier, for though she has accommodation for 350 passengers, these do
not encroach to any appreciable extent upon the vast space available for the
transport of goods, and when she is comfortably loaded for the homeward
voyage she can take no fewer than 80,000 carcases of frozen mutton and
24,000 bales of wool. Her refrigerating chambers are constructed on the
latest improved carbonic anhydride system. On a 27ft. draught she can lift
8,500 tons of cargo, but when fully loaded according to Lloyd's rule, she
would draw 32ft. of water, and could then carry 13,000 tons of cargo. The
only thing which will prevent her being loaded to that extent is the fact
that neither at Adelaide nor at Melbourne is there a sufficient depth of
water to float the mammoth when she is really full. The triple expansion
engines that drive her twin screws send her along at a speed of 13 knots an
hour on a coal consumption of 85 tons per day. The Medic has four gigantic
sisters, the Afric, the Persic, the Runic and the Suevic, making together a
fleet capable of maintaining a monthly service between Liverpool and
Australia, and this bold incursion of the White Star line into southern
waters is likely to mark a memorable epoch in the history of British
shipping development. The service which is to be maintained month by month
by these new steamers between Liverpool and Cape Town and the ports of the
Australian Commonwealth will be a new and important link between the two
great self-governing branches of the British Empire, and it will have the
great advantage of being entirely outside narrow seas, such as the
Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and the narrow and, in time of war, risky
channel of the Suez Canal. Keeping to the wide oceans, the White Star
steamers will, in fact, form an all-British steam line, connecting the
out-ports of the empire with the mother country.

It is the novel departure which has been made with regard to her passenger
accommodation that chiefly interests the bulk of the travelling public.
Having decided to carry only one class of passengers, the directors have
somewhat illogically chosen to describe their accommodation as "third
class"---an obvious misnomer where there is no second class or first class.
The staterooms are large and roomy, and people who desire privacy may secure
that luxury to a large extent in a two-berth stateroom, while those who are
content with a berth in a four-berth room may make the voyage at less
expense, and for the open berths a still further reduction is made. Eighteen
guineas is the fare for the best accommodation in the ship from Liverpool to
Australia, and, with £16/16/ for a berth in a four-berth cabin, and £14/14/
for an open berth, the purses and convenience of all are provided for. There
must be grades even in a democracy it seems. On her maiden voyage the Medic
has brought 95 passengers to Australia, a number of them being Australians
who embarked at Cape Town, preferring to come home to their native land
rather than run the risk of being shut up in Johannesburg, under the guns of
Mr. Kruger's newly-equipped fort. Many of those who went on board in
Liverpool are also Australians, who seized the opportunity of getting back
home at a greatly reduced rate after their trip to England. The dining
saloon is a spacious apartment, provided with tables and swivel chairs that
enable 350 persons to take their meals at one time. The saloon runs the
whole width of the ship, and the pantry is conveniently placed near the
entrance. A regulation bill of fare, which is posted up for public
information, shows that the passengers, are supplied with plain, wholesome
food with suitable variety of roast and boiled joints for dinner as the
"piece de resistance" during the week, and poultry on Sundays. There is a
good piano in the saloon for the amusement of the passengers, and a library
for the studious, and a smoking-room for devotees of the weed, are luxuries
not usually included in third-class accommodation. As might be expected,
there is no pretence at elaborate ornamentation in the fittings, but a
general air of substantial comfort may be noted. There are also
well-equipped hospital wards, and a ship's surgeon is carried. The
passengers are allowed the free run of the ship everywhere except on the
navigating bridge, and the magnificent length of deck enabled cricket to be
played almost throughout the voyage, as fine weather prevailed throughout
the entire run. Captain Thornton has command of the Medic, his chief officer
being Mr. F. Armstrong, who was in the Australian trade many years ago.
During the voyage the Medic spoke the Norwegian barque City of Agra, in lat.
35deg. S. and lon. 121deg. E., and supplied her with provisions of which she
had run short. The City of Agra was then 42 days out, bound from Mossell Bay
to New Zealand.

Yesterday afternoon Mr. John Blyth, the chairman of the Harbour Trust, with
Mr. W. J. Mountain, the vice chairman, and a number of commissioners,
accompanied by Mr. J. H. Haydon, the secretary of the trust and Captain
Sanderson, the harbourmaster, paid a visit of inspection to the steamer, and
were received by the chief officer, Mr. Armstrong, who entertained them
hospitably in the absence of the captain, and showed them over the vessel.
The chairman of the trust proposed the toast of "Success to the White Star
Line," which was warmly honoured. It was mentioned by Mr. Blyth, on the
authority of the harbourmaster, that the Medic, giant vessel as she is,
could have been taken up the river and berthed in the Victoria Dock. Messrs.
Dalgety and Co., the agents, decided however not to adopt that course, as
the margin of space for swinging the vessel in was too small, in their
opinion, for absolute security.

The Medic will be open for inspection by the public from 1 o'clock today and
during to-morrow. A charge of 6d. will be made for admission and the amount
received will be handed to the charities. Orders to go on board can be
obtained from the agents, Messrs. Dalgety and Co., Bourke-street, up to 1
p.m. to-day.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


Prior to the arrival yesterday of the Medic the distinction of having
introduced to Australia the largest merchantman remained with a foreign
flag---the German tricolor. It was the Barbarossa, of 10,769 tons, of the
Norddeutscher Lloyd, which stood in the front rank. Again the British red
ensign has come to the fore with the Medic, of 11,985 tons, Liverpool thus
beating Bremen by a good thousand tons. Perhaps it will be of interest in
this matter of rivalry in size to mention that what has now occurred in the
Pacific has been repeated in the Atlantic, and by a White Star ship. There
in the Atlantic or Western Ocean the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, of 14,349
tons, also belonging to the great Bremen company which owns the Barbarossa,
was to the fore amongst that monster fleet of Atlantic giants until, in the
present month, her colours were lowered to the Oceanic of the White Star,
and of 17,000 tons. Much has been written in connection with this gigantic
steamier Medic in the columns of the "Herald," including a description of
the vessel and an historical review of the part her owners played
half-a-century ago in the ocean service between England and Australia. In
the "Herald" of July 7 these particulars of historic interest, in connection
with the development of Australian commerce, appeared, and from time to time
since reference to and comparison with ships of the past and the present
have been published leading up to the arrival of the Medic in the waters of
Port Jackson. How far these comparisons may reach in half a century hence,
what the size, the rig, the speed, the motive power will be, one shrinks
from contemplating, so immense has been the progress in the past. The only
limit to size which suggests itself is that of the depth of water in the
harbours of the world. Taking the Medic's loaded draught at 32ft., any great
increase of that draught would be as prohibitive at many ports as a barred
entrance. The size of existing docks might be mentioned as a matter of
importance, but no more, seeing that docks will stretch as ships lengthen
and grow in immensity. It has been stated in previous notices that the Medic
is 550ft. in length and is 63ft. wide, and that she can carry 80,000 frozen
sheep and 24,000 bales of wool, and can lift 13,000 tons. And it has also
been enlarged upon that her size is not the only new feature about the
Medic, as steamers have in the past been understood. As much of a new
departure as ever entered into the designing of a steamer for the Australian
trade is that of the passenger department in this vessel. It has been said
that she carries 320 passengers; but if an intending voyager calls at
Messrs. Delgety's office to engage a cabin he will be told that he can have
a two-berth stateroom, a four berth one, or an open berth; but there is
neither first, second, nor third on board the Medic--- they are all
passengers, all one family, all use the same saloon, smoking room, social
hall, library, &c., &c., including the same bill-of-fare. He (or she) will
also be informed that as ticket-holders of the White Star Line for the Medic
the whole of the deck space is at command for promenades, for a dance, or
other shipboard entertainment. What are not to be found on the Medic are
those significant barriers over which are written "Second class passengers
not allowed on this deck," or "Steerage passengers not allowed abaft this."
These signboards have no room on this vessel, and the passenger may roam at
his sweet will almost whithersoever he listeth.


The first thing that will strike the visitor to the Medic is the perfectly
finished hull, which terminates in a stern the proportions of which have not
been on view in Sydney before. The Belfast firm of Harland and Wolff, it is
said, cannot turn out of their yards a disproportionate or an unsymmetrical
steamer, so that the Medic is shapely goes without saying. That she is huge
may be instanced thus. She was lying almost empty yesterday and drawing
21ft. of water. When loaded with 17,000 tons---it is said that she
can carry that quantity---there would not be too much water alongside the
wharf for her to float. But astern of her lies the ship Torridon, of 1500
tons and nearly loaded for London. The Torridon's draught is 18ft., or 3ft.
less than the mass of steel ahead of her draws now with little or no cargo
in her holds. A "Herald" reporter called on board during the afternoon and
met the chief officer and the chief engineer. A look down the great holds of
the ship was taken, from which it was seen that beneath the deck on which
the passengers are carried there are the lower deck, the 'tween deck, and
the lower 'tween decks, and below that the lower hold. A great part of the
ship is apportioned to frozen meat, butter, cheese, fruit, &c, and side
ports for loading from the wharf directly into these icy regions of the
vessel instead of hoisting the perishable cargo overhead and down the
hatchways are provided. After going forward along a deck upon which the
passengers play cricket, quoits, and football, the forecastle is reached.
Here the crew, comprising between 90 and 100 persons, all British sailors,
have their quarters. Then the attendant leads the way to the bridge deck,
where the officers have their quarters, and particularly fine quarters they
are. And here comes in a qualification as to the ship-roaming right of the
passenger, for it has been said that he or she may go from the stern post to
the the stem head without let or hindrance. This is not quite so, inasmuch
as the middle, or bridge deck section, of the ship is exclusively assigned
to the commander and officers. The officers like it because it cannot be
said of them that they "hobnob" with the passengers. Indeed, the White Star
rule is that an officer must not associate with passengers, a rule which on
being enforced in some other first-class employs has caused friction. Then,
after passing the bridge deck, is a long stretch of what may be called the
"well-deck" of the vessel. Here is more promenading space and you enter the
poop, the deck of which is also the passenger's exclusive camping ground.
The library is here come upon, with notices stating the hours of attendance
of the librarian, and that "this room closes at 10.30 p.m." Near to this is
a really comfortable smoking-room, the only noticeable omission here being
that it is not fitted with electric bells to the bar, which is close handy.
But the attendant, when speaking of another matter, said that this would be
attended to later on. It may at once be said of the Medic's unique passenger
idea that it is remarkable at the prices of 18 guineas down to 14, and the
bill of fare, and the privacy of the cabins, and the revolving chairs at
dining tables. When the first details came to hand as to the fitting out of
the Medic an opinion was entertained that the second cabin passenger trade
would be all but annihilated. A visit to the Medic does not impress one with
that opinion. That the introduction of vessels provided with so unusually
good accommodation for the steerage traveller will prove a boon is certain,
and the proprietors of the line are entitled and deserve every credit.
"Those who voyage out or home by this line may be assured of a safe passage
in so far that the Medic has two screws, while most of the steamers running
out here have but one," remarked the chief engineer, and "we steam 13 knots
right through, pretty well as much as some of your mailboats do." Speaking
of the smallness of the single funnel, the chief said, "It is about large
enough to take in one of your street 'buses, with the horses and passengers
on top, and though it may not look very lofty from the deck, I dare say that
down to the fire bars isn't much short of 100ft. Our Oceanic, which ought to
arrive at New York to-day on her first voyage, has a funnel through which
two of the Belfast trams could pass abreast. This," looking up to the
smokestack, "is a baby to it." In answer to other inquiries the engineer
said that the engines were quadruple expansion, and that the furnaces
swallowed up 80 to 85 tons of Welsh coal every 24 hours. This is not
extraordinary in view of the fact that under the old system a ship half the
tonnage consumed more fuel. Speaking of the class of passengers who
travelled out by the steamer, the chief officer said that "they were
altogether of the better class. There was no comparison between them and the
emigrants to the States so called." And that remark was certainly pretty
well corroborated by the class of portmanteaus, &c., which were going over
the side. It is certain that the White Star has come to stay.

As announced in another column, to-morrow afternoon and the following
afternoon Captain Thornton, through the local representatives of the White
Star line, Messrs. Dalgety and Co., has permitted the vessel to be thrown
open to visitors. Whatever is realised in this way will be devoted to the
Shipwreck Relief Society. The Naval Brigade band and Naval Artillery
Volunteer band have generously offered their services. Particulars are also
given as to a line of penny 'buses which run from Miller's Point to the
Woolloomooloo wharf.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


Captain Thornton, master of the White Star liner Medic, now in the port of
Sydney, visited Newcastle yesterday afternoon, for the purpose of surveying
the harbour before definitely deciding to bring his vessel to this port. He
was met by Captain Newton (the harbour master), Mr. H. D. Walsh (resident
engineer of the Harbours and Rivers Department), the Hon. Alex Brown, M.L.C.
(managing director of Dalgety and Co., agents for the line), Mr. Thomas
Brooks (Lloyd's surveyor for the port of Newcastle), Mr. J. C Reid, Mr. W.
Hickey, and several other representative and nautical men. The Government
steam launch Minerva was placed at the disposal of the party, and a visit
was paid to the entrance and various portions of the harbour. Captain
Thornton gathered a good deal of information relative to the depth of water
on the bar, wharfage accommodation, and other particulars connected with the
port. As a result of his inquiries and observations the commander of the
Medic decided to bring his vessel to Newcastle, and she is expected to
arrive about the end of the present week. The president of the Newcastle
Hospital, Mr. C. H. Hannell, has made application to the agents to the
effect that the vessel should be thrown open to the public at a charge of
6d, and that the proceeds should be devoted to the Newcastle Hospital, and
it is understood that the request will be readily complied with.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 October 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


The White Star liner Medic arrived here from Sydney, to load wool for
London, yesterday morning. She was off Nobby's at an early hour, and entered
at high tide about 10 o'clock. She was in command of a pilot, and was
attended by several of Fenwick's powerful steam tugs and the Government
pilot steamer Ajax. Captain Thornton, master of the Medic, had previously
visited Newcastle for the purpose of surveying the port, and had made
complete arrangements for her accommodation. The harbour authorities have
carried out improvements including the removal of No. 2 buoy. The risk of
bringing such a huge vessel into Newcastle harbour therefore was reduced to
a minimum. The wharfs were lined by thousands of spectators as the
magnificent vessel rounded Nobby's and steamed up the harbour. The crowd
continued to increase in numbers as the morning wore on, and the vessel was
the object of great admiration. She was berthed at the wool wharf opposite
the Customs-house.

The Medic was thrown open for inspection yesterday afternoon and again this
afternoon, and it is estimated that over 10,000 persons boarded her. A
charge of 6d was made for admission of adults and 3d for children, and the
proceeds, which total over £200, will be equally divided between Newcastle
Hospital and Stockton Seamen's Mission. The arrangements were most complete,
and were supervised by Mr. C. H. Hannell, president of the Newcastle
Hospital, and the Rev. W. F. James, chaplain of the Stockton Seamen's
Mission. The two huge gangways used in Sydney were brought on here, and a
detachment of a dozen police officers were told off to assist the visitors
aboard. The officers of the Medic were courteous and obliging. Special trams
were placed on different lines, and were largely patronised.

The gathering which assembled this evening was one of the largest ever
witnessed in this district, and is variously estimated at from 10,000 to
20,000. About 7000 tickets of admission were sold, but large numbers of
visitors contented themselves by viewing the vessel from the wharf. The
Railway Commissioners ran a special excursion tram from Maitland this
afternoon, which conveyed over 1000 passengers to Newcastle. In addition to
these large numbers of visitors arrived by the ordinary trams. The
capabilities of the Tramway Department were taxed to the utmost, and
notwithstanding the complete arrangements made by Superintendent Murray he
was unable to cope with the immense traffic. The whole of the available
rolling-stock of the district was utilised. Between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. the
time-tables on all the tramway lines was [sic] suspended for the afternoon,
and trips were made as rapidly as possible without delay at the terminus.
Every car was laden to its utmost capacity, and thousands were compelled to
walk from the suburbs. Numerous steamers ran from Raymond Terrace and other
centres of population on the Hunter and Paterson rivers, and in each
instance large numbers of intending passengers were unable to be
accommodated. Never before in the history of Newcastle have the wharfs
presented such an animated appearance as they did this afternoon. The band
of the 4th Infantry Regiment, under Bandmaster Bentley, gratuitously offered
its services and discoursed an excellent programme of musical selections on
board the vessel. The largest steamer which had previously visited the port
of Newcastle was the Langton Grange, of 9,500 tons. The Afric is expected
here next month, and will also be thrown open for inspection for the benefit
of the Wallsend Hospital Sunday Movement and Deaf and Dumb Institutions.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

THE SAILING OF THE MEDIC-It was Saturday morning before the Medic got away
for London, via Melbourne and the Cape ports. Owing to the rain the working
of the ship was somewhat retarded. Her departure was made the occasion of a
send off by a large crowd of people, who specially went down to
Woolloomooloo Bay to see the huge White Star ship leave upon her first
homeward voyage. It was also a source of interest that this the largest
merchant vessel which ever visited an Australian port should be here to take
Australian troops to South Africa. When she leaves Melbourne with the
Victorian and Tasmanian contingents she will steam her best direct for
Capetown. Her speed on her run out from Liverpool to Australia averaged 13
knots, so that it may be expected that she will do as well on the run from
Australia to Capetown, with a view to landing the troops as soon as
possible. Her successor, the Afric, yesterday left Adelaide for Melbourne
and Sydney, so that she should be here very shortly.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Argus (Melbourne), 24 October 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The arrival of the mammoth steamer Medic proved the chief item of interest
in shipping circles yesterday. As the immense vessel which is to carry our
troops to South Africa steamed slowly in to her berth, alongside the Port
Melbourne Railway Pier, there was quite a small crowd of visitors on the
quay watching her movements with evident interest. A space on the east side
of the pier was set apart for her accommodation, and shortly before 2
o'clock in the afternoon the Medic was securely "tied up." It had been
found necessary to make very little alteration in the accommodation for the
troops, the great majority of whom will be housed in the ordinary passenger
accommodation, which is of immense size. The erection of the stalls for the
horses is being pushed on. They are situated on the upper deck, forward of
the bridge, and the animals will be well sheltered from wind and sea. The
Medic had a fine passage round from Sydney, whence she had the following
cargo in transit: ---3,630 bls wool, 42 bls skins, 83 bls hide pieces, 1,118
bls hides, 2,979 hides, 100 bls basils, 5,331 ingots copper, 2,508 bags
chrome ore, 187 bags antimony ore, 57 bls leather, 2 bls hair, 85 bls
gluepieces, 966 bxs butter, 4,677 cs meats, 2,647 bags oats, 588 cks tallow,
120 bags ore, 443 carcases lamb, 976 ingots dross, 251 bags zinc ashes, 57
crates hares, 30 cs honey, 632 tons [sic] 3,964 bags slimes, 37 cs
pearlshell, 10 cs kidneys, 5,000 bags oil cake, 548 brls oil, 60 tons
alunite, 250 ca onions, 800 cks oil.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Argus, Melbourne, 30 October 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,


The enthusiasm which prevailed in the city was reverberated on the shore and
piers of Hobson's Bay, and was re-echoed leagues down the bay as the
accompanying steamers ran close to the s.s. Medic and their occupants gave
the men a parting cheer. When the troops had completed their parade through
Melbourne there was a wild rush for Port Melbourne to see the last of the
contingent. Trains and trams to that port were crowded to excess, and all
sorts of vehicles were pressed into service. In their anxiety to reach the
piers or the foreshore people did not mind the struggling and crushing, and
seemed to regard the risk of accident with a light heart. Their one thought
was to reach the seaside in time to wave their adieu to those who had been
entrusted to uphold the honour of their country. As 4 o'clock, the hour
for the departure of the Medic, drew near, the foreshore between the piers
was thronged with people and vehicles, and the town pier was crowded by
those who had not received tickets of admission to the railway pier, where
the Medic was berthed. The bay excursion steamer Hygeia and the Williamstown
boat Gem were also moored at that pier, while the Government steamer Lady
Loch was at the town pier waiting for His Excellency, the Governor and
staff, and the Lieutenant-Governor, the Premier, the Minister of Mines, and
Sir Frederick Sargood, M.L.C., who were to accompany Lord Brassey. Shortly
before the appointed hour the s.s. Monowai, one of the crack vessels of the
Union Company's fleet, which had been kindly placed at the disposal of the
Government, was berthed at the town pier, and took on board the Minister of
Agriculture, and Minister of Railways, and members of both Houses of
Parliament, and their wives and daughters, numbering in all about 300. The
Commissioner of Customs flitted about the bay in one of the Customs launches
and Captain Tickell and the naval officers skipped over the bumpy waters in
the launch of the Defence department, and the chairman (Mr. John Blyth) and
commissioners of the Harbour Trust entertained a large and representative
party on the Osprey.

Punctually at 4 o'clock the Medic cast off from the Railway pier, an
outburst of cheering from that point and the playing of the "Soldiers of the
Queen" by the military bands being the signal that the vessel had started
on her trip to South Africa. The cheering was taken up by the crowds on the
shore and town pier. Simultaneously with the casting off of the Medic, the
other steamers at both piers drew in their gangways, and prepared to
accompany the troopship down the bay. As the screws of the Medic commenced
revolving, the sailors and marines on board H.M.S. Royal Arthur, the
flagship of the Australian fleet, which was an anchored between the two
piers, and H.M.S.S. Porpoise and Karakatta, lying on the other side, manned
the rigging, and heartily joined in the cheers for the departing
contingents. The Royal Arthur and her consorts were decked from stem to
stern with flags, and so also was the Monowai, as well as three or four
other vessels which were lying at anchor in the bay. The troops were too
busily occupied waving their farewell to their friends on the railway pier
to notice the cheering in other quarters, though some of them responded to
the demonstration made on the flagship. As the Medic slowly cleared the pier
the yacht Waratah passed under her stern, and a little later on two other
yachts of the Royal Yacht Club---the May Queen and the Gitana---also ran by
the departing steamer. Other yachts were flying about the bay, but the fresh
southerly breeze compelled them to tack, and not being able to hold the same
course as the Medic they soon dropped astern. The paddle steamer Gem, which
was crowded with sightseers, accompanied the Medic a few hundred yards from
the pier, and then headed for Williamstown.

It was never anticipated that the Medic would leave the pier precisely on
the stroke of 4 o'clock, or that when she got into the deep water of the
Williamstown lightship she would quicken her pace as she did, but apparently
the pilot in charge was anxious to take the largest steamer that has visited
these waters through the narrow and shallow South Channel while the tide was
at its highest, and therefore could not wait for anyone. The order of
procession to be observed by steamers accompanying the Medic down the bay
had been arranged the previous day by the Commissioner of Customs and the
ship-owners, but it had to be abandoned, as the river steamers had not
reached the bay when the Medic started on her trip. The Lady Loch, Hygeia,
Monowai, Albatross, and the tugboat Advance followed the troopship after the
yachts and steam launches had signalled them "good bye" and fallen astern.
As this flotilla passed the Williamstown lightship and headed for the South
Channel, the s.s. Coogee, Edins, and Derwent were emerging from the mouth of
the Yarra, bent on overtaking the other vessels. After a few miles had been
traversed, the Advance, and then the Albatross, turned round, leaving the
Lady Loch, Monowai, and Hygeia accompanying the troopship, the Monowai being
on the port side of the Medic, and the other two on the starboard.

About eight miles down the bay the Lady Loch ran close up to the Medic,
and Lord Brassey, Sir John Madden, Sir George Turner, and Mr. Foster
mounted the bridge, and waved their hats, bidding the departing troops
"God-speed." The men gathered at the side of the vessel, and loudly cheered
His Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor, and the Ministers. The captain
of the Lady Loch had flags signifying the message "Good-bye" run up to
the masthead, and blowing the whistle three times eased the engines down
preparatory to the steamer turning round. Again the men cheered, and the
master of the Medic hoisted the message "Thanks," in reply to the parting
signals of the Lady Loch. The Monowai and Hygeia kept on for two or three
miles further, and then the latter blew her whistle as the signal of
departure, and her passengers gave lusty cheers for the contingent, which
met with an enthusiastic response from the men. The Monowai continued on her
course for a little distance, drawing nearer to the Medic, while Sir John
M'Intyre was energetically gathering everyone in the forepart of the
Monowai, so that they might unite in giving the parting cheer to those who
were to represent Victoria and Tasmania in the battle-fields in South

When they had assembled in force, the captain of the Monowai blew the
whistle and sent up a rocket, which discharged in the air with a loud
report, showing that his steamer was about to turn round. Sir John M'Intyre
and Mr. J. M'Kean, who stood towering over those around him, led off the
cheering, in which the members heartily joined, including those who had
opposed the sending of the contingent to the Transvaal. The men on the Medic
sprang into the rigging, and returned the cheers with their whole heart.
They must have felt as each vessel dropped astern and turned round on the
way down the bay, that they were fast losing touch of Melbourne, which had
almost receded from view, and have realised that perhaps they had parted for
the last time with their parents and friends. That they should therefore
make a whole-souled response to the hearty cheers that went up from the
decks of the Monowai was not to be wondered at. They cheered again and again
and so did those on the Monowai. It was on the part of the latter a
recognition of the bravery and spirit of self-sacrifice of those who had
offered themselves for service in a distant land to uphold the rights of
their country, and demonstrate the loyalty of these colonies and the
solidarity of the British Empire. While on the part of the men, they sent
across the water with their responsive cheers a parting message to all those
they were leaving behind, indicating that they were not downcast by the task
before them, that they would bear themselves in the face of the foe in a
manner becoming scions of a proud and fearless race, and would look forward
to the day when they would be enthusiastically welcomed back to Australia as
men who had done their duty to their country. As the Monowai turned round
Mr. Salmon, M.L.A., who is a volunteer officer, stood on the bridge, and
emotionally signalled his last message to his brother, who was second in
command of the Mounted Rifles on board the Medic. The stewards on the
Monowai gathered in the forepart of the vessel, and sang "Soldiers of the
Queen," while the passengers excitedly waved their hats, parasols, and
handkerchiefs, and several rockets were discharged, bursting high in the air
with a loud report. Those were the final parting signals, and their full
significance were [sic] realised by those on board both vessels. As the
Monowai headed for Melbourne, the s.s. Coogee, which had overtaken the
Medic, gave her parting cheer and also turned for home. The passengers, some
of whom had moist eyes, watched the Medic till her large hull gradually
disappeared from view under the shadow of Arthur's Seat, as she made for the
Heads on the flowing tide.

On the return trip the members of Parliament gathered in the fore-saloon of
the Monowai, and the Minister of Agriculture in appropriate terms thanked
the Union Company for having placed such a large and fast vessel at the
disposal of the Government and members of the two Houses. Its kindness, he
said, was much appreciated, and the patriotic feeling of the directors in
offering the steamer for this "historic occasion" was fully recognised. Mr.
David Mills, the Melbourne manager, thanked Mr. Taverner for his remarks,
and said that the spirit of patriotism was not yet dead in New Zealand.
Judge Molesworth, in an excellent speech, proposed the toast of "The
Visitors," and referred to the manner in which the subjects of the Queen
were standing shoulder to shoulder over the war, showing to the world
at large the unity that prevailed throughout the expansive British
dominions. Mr. Copeland, ex-Minister of Lands, New South Wales, replied and
alluded to the many millions the old country spent in war a century ago to
uphold its prestige on the seas, and thus preserve the vast continent of
Australia for those who were now enjoying the fruits of its fertile soil.
Mr. J. M'Kean gave the toast of "Success to Our Boys," and Mr. Salmon,
M.L.A., feelingly replied in a speech befitting the occasion, and was loudly
cheered at its conclusion. The Monowai reached the wharf at 8 o'clock.



Mark Baber

Staff member
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 31 October 1899
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The Medic arrived at Largs Bay on Monday morning shortly after 10 o'clock.
Soon after the troop ship was sighted the steam-launch Petrel, having on
board Pilot Marshal Smith, left the Semaphore jetty and intercepted her down
the gulf about five miles to the south-west of the pier end. The pilot put
the vessel into a good berth, half a mile beyond where the Britannia was at
anchor, and she anchored in 33 ft. of water. The Medic was drawing 27 ft. 6
in., which is said to be the greatest draught of any vessel at Largs Bay in
recent years. Awaiting the steamer's arrival on Largs Bay jetty were
Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell, Major Hawker, Major Dean,
Lieutenant-Quartermaster Rowell, and Mr. J. Willis, Adelaide manager of
Messrs. Dalgety & Co., the agents for the White Star line, and the Naval


Half an hour before the Medic cast anchor these gentlemen started to meet
her in the launch Asteroid, which had been placed at their disposal by the
tide surveyor (Mr. J. Conlon), and they were alongside at about twenty-five
minutes to 11, when the anchor was dropped. Drill on board the Medic started
seriously on Monday morning at 10 o'clock, and as the Asteroid made fast
there were not the usual crowds of expectant people hanging over the
bulwarks. Squads of men could be seen at drill amidships and at the stem of
the boat. The Kaigoorhe passed as the Asteroid drew up, and after the
customary dipping of flags the visitors climbed the long gangway and were on
board the Medic, which has been truly described as a floating island. Owing
to the reception at 3 o'clock in the city, none of the visitors could remain
on the vessel for more than a couple of hours, and it would take much longer
than that to explore her thoroughly. It became apparent at once that all the
Victorians and Tasmanians are thoroughly satisfied with their temporary
home. There was no complaint of any kind, and the transport officer, the
officers of the ship, and officers of the companies came in for a large
share of praise for the manner in which they had provided for the men's
comfort. One could not help admiring the complete manner in which the vessel
has been turned from a cargo vessel into a transport. The horses are
splendidly secured on the second deck in stalls that appear to be a little
narrow. It is difficult to state how the men from the various colonies will
be disposed. The Tasmanians have been the first to settle down, and they
deserve the highest praise for the condition in which quarters were found.
One of the immense freezing chambers, just before the bridge, has, like
other parts of the vessel, been fitted up with temporary, but substantial
and good, bunks. The men have plenty of space, and are well satisfied.
Everything in the sleeping-quarters on Monday was in spick and span order.
The Victorians are scattered over the vessel, some of them being in the
permanent berths and others forward in temporary quarters. It is probable
that the South Australian men will join those in the front part of the
vessel. The messroom is in keeping with the sleeping quarters. Sixteen men
sit at each table, and the chief steward, Mr. Barry, reported that the
arrangements for attending to them are working well. Lieutenant-Colonel
Rowell at once consulted the officers on the question of getting the men to
the reception in the Town Hall. Major Eddy (Infantry) and Captain McLeish
(Mounted Infantry), of Victoria, and Captain Cameron, of Tasmania, at once
fell in with the arrangements that had been made. After dinner the troops
numbering about 30, fell in promptly at the bugle call, and as they filed
down the gangway one wondered how many of them the vast steamer would hold.
The disembarkation from the Euro was splendidly carried out, and some of the
spectators welcomed the men with cheers as they marched on to the jetty. A
long train left Largs at twenty-five minutes to 2, and enthusiastic cheering
from large crowds greeted the passage of the train through the streets of
Port Adelaide, and from every window and door some expression of good-will
was waved. At Port Adelaide a squad of men from the Permanent Naval Reserve,
under Petty-Officer Winchester, were awaiting the arrival of any goods which
might be ready for transportation. The reserve men will look after all the
stores and gear which has to be shipped from the time of their arrival at
Port Adelaide until they are placed on board the Medic. Here they will be
taken in charge by Chief-Gunner Argent, of the Protector, who will sail to
South Africa as transport officer to the South Australian contingent.


Major Eddy, who is the commanding officer of both Victorian units, was
discovered in the officers' mess-room, and as a couple of representatives of
"The Advertiser" dropped in to have a chat with him he received them most
courteously. He is a fine stamp of a soldier, standing well over 6 ft. high,
and his manner and bearing at once explained his popularity with his men. "I
know what you want," he said, "but have something to drink first. Now, then,
fine weather, smooth sea, following wind, few men seasick, no crime, no
misbehaviour, tucker admirable, sleeping accommodation excellent, all things
lovely; that's all really."

Any incidents?

"Let's see. Have we had any incidents? Oh, yes. The German mail steamer
Prince Regent Luitpold passed us yesterday, with the band playing 'God save
the Queen,' the ensign dipping, and the crew and passengers waving adieus.
These were responded to by our men with ringing cheers. Then we passed
Kangaroo Island, if that is of any interest. That's all."

What have you done on board the ship?

"Oh, well, we began drilling in earnest to-day. Yesterday was devoted to
Divine service, squadding off the men, distributing literature, of which, I
believe, we have ten tons, and generally shaking down. As to our send-off in
Melbourne. Well, the crowd was enormously larger than the Jubilee crowds.
There are some of the flowers which were presented to us. Those came from
the Field Artillery, and from Mrs. Cholmley, and the ladies of Longwood.
Remarkable enthusiasm was shown. The cheering was continuous, and the people
filled up the streets so that the police had to drive them back all along
the route, which was over three miles long. The shouting was deafening. I
never saw people so moved before. The Jubilee was not a patch on it. The
arrangements are absolutely satisfactory. I never saw anything like it."

Who takes command of the combined contingents on board ship?

"I can't say. I believe the Governments are discussing the matter now, and
we shall know directly, perhaps before we leave Adelaide."

Major Eddy has an able assistant in Lieutenant McInerney, a Melbourne
barrister, who has lately been before the public as counsel for Mrs. Fraser,
who is charged with shooting her husband, Dr. Fraser. During a general chat
over an excellent lunch on subjects ranging from the Transvaal war to Mr.
King O'Malley, he confirmed all that had been said by his commanding officer
concerning the general satisfaction which exists on board.

Captain McLeish, of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, a. quiet, unassuming man,
well loved by his men, spoke nothing but praise of the arrangements made for
the men. Not one of the horses, he said, had been sick.

Captain C. St. Clair Cameron has had 20 years' experience in the Imperial
army. He comes of an old Tasmanian family, which has seen four generations
in the island colony, and he is 42 years of age, though he does not appear
to be more than 30. "The send-off from Launceston," he said, "was
magnificent. The deep and tender feeling displayed towards us made a lasting
impression on us all. It was quite a deep, warm affection that everybody
seemed to have for the contingent. In Melbourne the Tasmanian men marched
splendidly, and the greeting of the vast crowd of people was 'Well dune,
Tasmania.' The demonstration of the Victorian people in favor of the men was
something extraordinary. I could not have believed it."

Has the question of who commands the combined contingents on board ship been

"There is no commanding officer here, except the officer of the ship. Each
colony takes its own responsibility. There is no central authority to take
charge. The contingents remain under their own commanders, and are
responsible to the master of the ship for cleanliness, order, and
regularity. I would like to say that the arrangements made by
Lieutenant-Commander Colquhoun for the comfort of the Tasmanian contingent
leaves nothing to be desired, and I owe him a deep debt of gratitude for the
assistance he has rendered in making the men comfortable. The men have
fallen in to their duties admirably. One could hardly believe it was their
first voyage on a troopship."

[This was followed by many more words concerning the troops' reception in
Adelaide and none (that I saw) about ships. The rest has therefore not been


Mark Baber

Staff member
Postscript: Medic left Adelaide for Albany on 1 November and was at the Western Australia port from 5 to 8 November. The news reports of her departure from Adelaide and her call at Albany gave only perfunctory details of Medic's activities and focused almost exclusively on the patriotic fervor displayed in those cities as the troops from South Australia and Western Australia joined those from Tasmania and Victoria for Boer War service. For that reason, no articles related to the departure from Adelaide and the call at Albany will appear here and the reporting of Medic's maiden voyage is probably at an end.
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