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Sailors on board SS AUTOLYCUS depart Sydney for Portsmouth, 13 May 1939 | by Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons
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Sailors on board SS AUTOLYCUS depart Sydney for Portsmouth, 13 May 1939

This image depicts SS AUTOLYCUS having cleared the wharf no. 2, eastern side Circular Quay, Sydney. The smoke on the starboard quarter indicates vessel is being assisted by steam tug (which is now turning the vessel in an east west direction for departure). Sydney Harbour Bridge and Kirribilli foreshore also appear in the background.


At 11am on 13 May 1939, 234 RAN ratings and officers commissioned for HMAS PERTH departed Sydney on board the Blue Funnel steamer, SS AUTOLYCUS. The vessel called at Hobart and Melbourne to pick up more men before arriving in Portsmouth, United Kingdom on 29 June. It had carried 500 men. One officer described the conditions on board the over-packed vessel, saying that despite the 'grim quarters' many of the sailors 'accepted the situation' and maintained a high morale in light of the fact that for some, it was their first voyage out to sea.


This photo is part of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Samuel J. Hood Studio collection. Sam Hood (1872-1953) was a Sydney photographer with a passion for ships. His 60-year career spanned the romantic age of sail and two world wars. The photos in the collection were taken mainly in Sydney and Newcastle during the first half of the 20th century.


The ANMM undertakes research and accepts public comments that enhance the information we hold about images in our collection. This record has been updated accordingly.


Photographer: Samuel J. Hood Studio Collection


Object no. 00021055

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Taken on May 13, 1939