Half-ship model, SS 'Eden', timber, designed by James Scott, made by Russell & Co, Port Glasgow, Scotland, 1900
Sea and river transport provided the most effective means of travel for people and cargo along the South Coast of New South Wales up until the early 20th Century. At this time, roads were either non-existent or extremely poor in quality and vehicles were scarce. This meant that the only affordable and available means of commuting was either by horse or foot.
This ship model of the SS 'Eden' is therefore representative of the type of vessel that instigated passenger services by water on the South Coast, providing an effective service for people to such destinations as Sydney, Eden, Bermagui, Tathra and Merimbula. In fact, the 'Eden' (like the TSS 'Merimbula') helped to relieve the infamous reputation of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company of 'waiting an hour for a pig, but not a minute for a passenger' (hence their nickname the 'Pig and Whistle Fleet'). Both vessels also represented the pinnacle of South Coast passenger ship design with the 'Eden' being the first vessel in the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company fleet to have two and four berth cabins. New regulations covering crew conditions, however, meant that in 1922 her second class accommodation had to be removed.
Models such as this one would have been made for shipbuilder's to assist in their full-scale construction, helping to provide the builder with an idea of the vessel's fittings, riggings and sail plans, as well as helping to show the ratio of length to beam, the fining of her entry, stern and so on. This model also acts as a legacy of the full-scale version which no longer survives. The 'Eden' was withdrawn from service in 1929 and hulked three years later.
Glasgow University Archive Services, "Records of Lithgows Ltd", http://www.archives.gla.ac.uk/collects/catalog/gd/gd320.html (Downloaded 7/5/2007)
Lorck, W., "The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company's Illustrated Handbook: A Guide for the Tourist and Holiday Maker" (Sydney, 1905)
Parsons, R., "Steamships to the Illawarra" (Goolwa, 1991) pp.4, 59 & 63
This half-ship model of the SS 'Eden' was designed by James Scott and made by Russell & Co in Port Glasgow, Scotland in 1900.
James Scott was a naval architect born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1859. In 1873, at the age of 14, James spent 12 years working in the mould loft of John Elder of Fairfield, Govan before coming out to Australia in 1885. Descendents of the Scott family claim that James was approached by Allen Arthur Taylor (timber merchant, ship-owner, politician and chairman of the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd and the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd) offering to subsidise his fare. This would explain James' subsequent involvement with the North Coast Company.
James married Jane Bell and had five children, two of whom died young. On arriving in Australia they resided at Rowntree Street, Balmain but later made Hunters Hill their long-term abode. Records show that for 12 years James worked at Cockatoo Island with William McDonald and for some time also, Sam Hayes, at the Fitzroy Dock.
James Scott became foreman shipwright of the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd where he is reputed to have designed 32 ships for them (he is attested to have designed 60 throughout his entire career). Some of these vessels included the 'Nerong', 'Wollongbar II', 'Kulgoa', 'Wauchope' and the 'Nambucca'. Some of James Scott's best known creations, however, are the two 'Lady' ferries (the 'Lady Manning' and 'Lady Hampden'), which were designed by Walter Reeks and epitomised the double-ended ferry style which was to become standardised in all ferry designs from 1892 on.
Identifiable characteristics of James Scott models include the use of Australian red cedar in the backing boards (or straight grain Oregon for North Coast models), black painted sections denoting the water line and flaring at the propeller shafts.
James Scott continued to design naval vessels, even at the age of 78 where he prepared plans for the 'Moruya'. He died in 1942.
Russell & Co was established in 1874 and was a partnership between Anderson Rodger, Joseph Russell and William Ted Lithgow. In 1879, the Company expanded when it acquired the Cartsdyke yard of J E Scott, purchasing a Greenfield site at Kingston, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde in 1881 where they laid out a new six berth yard. In 1891 the partnership was dissolved. Anderson Rodger retained the original Bay yard at Port Glasgow's east end; Joseph Russell retired from the production side of shipbuilding while William Lithgow continued to operate as Russell & Co from the Kingston and Cartsdyke yards. In 1907, Lithgow brought his sons James and Henry (Harry) into the business and in 1918; the Company was incorporated as a private limited liability company, Lithgows Ltd.
The SS 'Eden' was built for ownership and use by the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company, with a group of six other steamers which did the whole of the passenger and goods service for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, until the coming of the railway in the late 1920s.
When the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company was bought out by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd, the 'Eden' was transferred to them along with four other vessels including the 'Bega', 'Illawarra', 'Broughton' and 'Vison', as well as wharves at Nowra, Batemans Bay, Clyde River, Moruya, Merimbula and Eden.
The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd fleet originally comprised these five seagoing vessels, providing regular services from Sydney to Wollongong, Kiama, the Shoalhaven River, Ulladulla, the Clyde River, Broulee, Merimbula and Twofold Bay. For a large portion of their operation, the Company was brandished the 'Pig and Whistle Fleet' by residents for their almost complete disregard for passengers. They had a reputation for waiting an hour for a pig, but not a minute for a passenger. This reputation dissipated for some time while the 'Eden' and 'Merimbula' were in service, but re-emerged after both vessels were removed from use.
After the 'Merimbula' went ashore on Beecroft Head in 1928, the 'Eden', which was laid up, was suddenly dragged out of Mort Dock and taken straight down to the Market Street Wharf where it was put back into service to replace her. The 'Eden' carried on ferrying passengers until a new ship, the 'Cambaga' was commissioned. This ship did not carry passengers and signified the return of the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd to completely discount the local people. Also happening simultaneous to this was the construction of better roads and a railway line down to Nowra, which also meant that people relied less on sea travel.
In 1929 the 'Eden' was completely withdrawn from service and in 1932 she was hulked.
This ship model was donated to the Museum by the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales in 1977.