Half-ship model, TSS 'Kameruka', wood, made by Russell & Co, Greenock, Scotland, 1880
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 TSS 'Kameruka' is therefore representative of the type of vessel that contributed to passenger services by water on the South Coast, providing an effective service for people to such destinations as Sydney, Batemans Bay, Eden, Merimbula and Ulladulla. The 'Kameruka' was used on the express passenger service and was well reputed as a large, fast and comfortable passenger liner.
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 and the fining of her entry and stern. This model also acts as a legacy of the full-scale version which no longer survives. The 'Kameruka' sank near Moruya Head on October 16, 1897.
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.50 & 64
This builder's half-ship model of the TSS 'Kameruka' was made by Russell & Co in Greenock, Scotland in 1880.
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 TSS 'Kameruka' was built for ownership and use by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company. It joined the Illawarra fleet in 1880 with the 'Allowrie' and was used on the express passenger service to the far south coast.
The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd was created from an amalgamation of smaller companies (including the Kiama Steam Company and the Kiama Steam Navigation Company) by an act of Parliament in October 1858. The Company operated for 97 years. In 1955, it was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) because of liquidation.
The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd fleet originally comprised 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 'Merimbula' and 'Eden' were in service, but re-emerged after both vessels were removed from use.
The TSS 'Kameruka' was wrecked off Pedro Reef near Moruya Head on October 16, 1897. All crew on board were saved.
This particular model was donated to the Museum by the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales in 1977.