News from 1904: Maiden White Star voyage of Tropic II

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Mark Baber

Staff member
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 5 September 1904
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,

The Tropic, the second of two steamers purchased by the White Star Company
for their Australian trade, arrived at the anchorage from Liverpool at dusk
on Saturday. Although not a new vessel she is a fine type of steamer, and is
well adapted for the Australian trade. She was formerly owned by Messrs. F.
Leyland & Co., and was known as the European, but when purchased by the
White Star Company was renamed the Tropic. She was built in 1896 by Messrs.
Harland and Wolff, of Belfast, and measures 8,194 tons gross, and 5,385 tons
net. She is 475 ft. 9 in. long, 55 ft. 2 in. broad, and 35 ft. 9 in. deep.
She is twin-screw, and has two set of triple-expansion engines, capable of
making a speed of 12 knots per hour. She left Liverpool on her first voyage
to Australia on July 16, and had fair weather to Teneriffe, which was passed
on July 23.

From there to Cape Verde strong north-east trades were encountered, and
thence until crossing the equator in 10 deg. W. longitude strong south-west
winds. Fresh south-east trades and strong south winds ruled to a position 50
miles south-west of the Cape of Good Hope, which was rounded on August 11.
On August 13 a terrific west gale, with squalls of hurricane force and
mountainous seas was encountered, lasting 48 hours. These conditions were
followed by fresh to strong north- west and south-west gales to the
ninetieth meridian, east longitude, which was crossed in 44 deg. S.
latitude. From that portion strong winds and west gales ruled to Albany,
which was reached on August 30. The vessel left again the same day, and
until the 128th meridian was crossed strong seas and north-east gales were
encountered, but thence to arrival fresh to strong south and south-west
winds and squally weather were experienced. Captain R. W. James is in
command, and has with him as officers:-Messrs. A. Parker, J. H. Callow,
first; G. Morgan, second; J. M. Morrow, third; R. Greaves, fourth; and Mr.
W. Rowe, chief engineer.

The steamer Tropic was on July 27 in latitude 10 deg. 54 min. N., 17 deg. 56
min. W., in company with the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand's new
steamer Navua, bound from Greenock to Auckland. She reported "All well."

On August 10, when near the Cape of Good Hope, the Tropic spoke a French
barque; signal letters, K.C.N.P., bound north.

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