Ship Details


Steel Twin Screw Steamer, 1200 nhp.



Built In


11,181g 6,988n

Built By


500.1 x 62.2 x 29.8


Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., reg. Greenock. 1913 Mar.: Maiden Voyage to Australia. 1914 Nov.: Troopship for the First AIF. 1915 July: Caught fire off Durban but the blaze was extinguished in port. 1921 May: Back in P&O service. Collided with Patella and had to be beached at Pevensey. 1927: Transported first consignment of steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 1931 Jan.: Sold to Japan for demolition.



My Dad was part of the Government scheme called Dreadnought. He sailed to Australia when he was 16 on this ship. He mentions in his story a Mr & Mrs Weeks and 2 daughters Joan and Mary going to Adelaide. Mary was 16 deaf and dumb. She taught my Dad sign language.

My father was on this ship, along with his mother, brother and sister, when a fire broke out in the hold 800 miles east of Durban in July 1915. The ship was heading from Cape Town to Perth but had to detour back to Durban where the fire was extinguished. My grandmother injured her hip when she fell on a gangway and spent six weeks in hospital while the ship was made seaworthy. The passengers were looked after by the town council and Dad and his brother, aged 9 and 10, seem to have had a great time.

My father, Royston Sydney Symonds, was on the voyage that departed from London on 11 August 1927. He was 16 years old. I would like to find out the circumstances surrounding his immigration. I thought that he might be in the care of Barnado's. Can anyone give me directions for finding out?

Hi, I've just come across your posting on the Benalla website re your father's voyage to Australia and just wanted to get in touch to share my father's story, what little I know. My father was on the same voyage – 27 August 1927 and I have his original passenger ticket with the fare details, cost £45.00. He could well have been part of the Dreadnought Scheme which ceased in 1930. My father was also orphaned but had a number of older brothers and sisters to look after him. As an orphan, he was eligible to attend the Royal Wolverhampton School. At the age of 18, along with his older sister and her husband, he bought the ticket for the 6 week crossing and would have happily settled in Australia but his brother in law didn't like the Australian lifestyle so he returned with his sister and brother in law one year later, travelling on the Steamer Esperance Bay from Sidney on 8 September 1928, ticket price £43.00.

My Grandfather, Patrick Leo Hughes, post armistice day WW1 England, sailed home on this ship. He was still attached to his regiment, 3rd Squadron Australian Flying Corp (AFC), as of embarkation on 8th October 1919. He was newly married but his wife, Christina, traveled aboard separately from her husband with the other war brides. The ship berthed at Port Lincoln, per photo held dated 29th October 1919 on a beach nearby, then continued onto Sydney arriving on 29th November 1919.

Hi all, I'm looking for more info about the Benalla fire in 1915. I read some old newspapers but I'm not sure what causes the fire and for how long the vessel was not moving? Are there any pictures from this incident? Greeting from the Netherlands!

James Gregory and his wife Margaret Anne Hart with their daughter Irene, who are some of my distant relatives traveled to Australia in 1922 on the Benalla

My grandmother, her sister and her mother (Boyd family) were emigrating to Australia on the SS Benalla, which departed London on 12 May 1921 for Australia. It was the next day that the Patella hit it, causing the Benalla to list severely. My grandmother used to tell us that the Captain managed to beach it (at Pevensey) and they all had to climb down rope "scrambles" down the side of the hull to awaiting life-boats, below. The sailors in the boats warned my great grandmother not to look down.

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