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S.S. Karatta
Title : S.S. Karatta S.S. Karatta
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Date of creation : ca. 1950
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

The S.S. Karatta photographed before refitting

The Gulf Steamship Company took delivery of its new ship Karatta in December 1907: it was designated for the Kangaroo Island service. Gulf Steamships merged with West Coast Shipping in November 1913 to form Coast Steamship in the hope of being large enough to counter the inroads of the Adelaide Steamship Company. They maintained their independence for two more years before being bought by Adelaide Steamship Company. Coast Steamships operated as a subsidiary company and retained control of Karatta.

Karatta was a steel steamship of 527 gross tons built by George Brown & Co., Greenock. Designed to carry passengers and cargo she would remain in service until 1961; she had a single screw triple expansion engine. In 1950 she was converted from coal to oil burner. The ship had a large saloon for day passsengers and could load 2600 bags of wheat or carry 900 shorn sheep. Later she would also carry cars on her deck.

Karatta normally sailed from Port Adelaide each Tuesday and Friday morning at 7.00am. Until the jetty at Glenelg was destroyed in the storm of 1948, the ship would call there two hours later and collect passengers who had conveniently caught the tram down from Adelaide. They could be dropped off there on the return trip the following days. The journey to Kangaroo Island usually took eight to 10 hours. Karatta was the lifeline for Kangaroo Island delivering everything the island needed from livestock, general stores to oil in drums. Her last voyage to Kangaroo Island was 3 November 1961, having provided a regular and fondly remembered service for 53 years. The ship was sold 8 November 1961 and broken up. The Kangaroo Island service was continued by Adelaide Steamship Company's roll-on roll-off vessel Troubridge.

A library patron remembers 'I was born in 1940 and one of my earliest memories was to visit Port Adelaide with my father and he would point out to me the Karrata in the dock and always mentioned that the captain was a man called Captain Pearson, who happened to be the father of one of our church leaders, Mr Jack Pearson.   I think we went on board sometimes and chatted with the captain.   I recall him being a shortish man with a round face and of course his captain's hat.   We never went on a voyage with him, probably because we didn't have any interests in KI and we were pretty poor.'

Coverage year : 1950
Place : South Australia
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