Tasmanian Steamers

Tasmanian Steamers came into existence on 1 January 1922, providing an amalgamation of the Bass Strait ferry fleets of Huddart Parker Limited and the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. The Company was operating two vessels, Nairana and Taroona as the Second World War opened.

Nairana, having had an interesting start to life (commenced building 1913 at Dumbarton, building work suspended for a time, launched 1915, laid at anchor, requisitioned by Royal Navy 1917 and converted to seaplane carrier, then serving off the coast of Russia), came into her Owners' hands in 1921. Of 3042 gross tons, 330 feet length and 46 ft beam, she was built by Wm. Denny & Bros. She operated on the trans-Bass Strait service for the next twenty-seven years, mostly with a companion ship, but on her own for four years during the Second World War. Laid up in Melbourne in 1948, she was eventually broken up in 1953.

Taroona, a twin screw, 4297 gross tons, 335 ft long, 50 ft beam, up-to 500 passenger ship, was built by A. Stephen & Son, Glasgow in 1934. She commenced her trans-Bass Strait service early in 1935, and with a 1936 fire on board being her only marring incident, remained in this role until requisitioned in January 1942 for service under the New Zealand Naval Board. A brief resumption of Bass Strait service in February/March was followed by Australian Government requisitioning and conversion to a troopship, with capacity 678 personnel. Surviving the war, during which she fortunately avoided damage by the enemy while carrying tens of thousands of troops, she resumed her Bass Strait run in 1946, serving there until her sale in 1959.