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ss Patonga

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Courtesy of James O'Sullivan

Patonga was built at the Alex Stephen & Sons, Linthouse, Glasgow shipyard in 1952-53 and was launched August 5 1953.


Gross tons 10,071 

Length 147 m 

Breadth 20 m 

Draft 8.4 m

Single Screw powered by 3 double reduction geared turbines developing 8,000 BHP 

Steam pressure 570 PSI

Maximum Speed 15.5 knots


James writes;

The Patonga was renamed Strathlauder on May 28 1975 and sadly scrapped at Karachi September 9 1977. The Engineers' accommodation was very comfortable with access to a covered deck which was handy as one could camp out during hot nights in the tropics. While I was still on Arcadia II I became engaged during the Arcadia's stay over in Sydney to my future wife Joan Corderoy from Meandarra, West of Brisbane, February 13 1958. The grand plan was to move to a cargo ship on the Australia run as they spent more time in port and we could plan our marriage around certain dates with some certainty. I joined Patonga while she was in dry-dock at Bremerhaven. I and others left Liverpool Street Station on June 12 1958 and travelled via Harwich and Hook of Holland to Hamburg, there we were met by the company agent who conveyed us to Bremerhaven. Needless to say the original sailing schedule for Australia was changed and we found ourselves headed for North China with a shipment of frozen goat carcasses from the then Eastern Germany. This entailed a voyage around Cape Town as the Suez Canal was blocked. After our uneventful return voyage, and a short break, we eventually sailed for Australia only to be delayed in Sydney due to wharf strike finally arriving in Brisbane on May 10 1959 with one day to spare before my marriage to Joan. Joan and I married in St Patrick's Fortitude Valley, Brisbane on May 11 1959 and in May this year will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Afterwards we sailed up the Queensland coast and Joan sailed with me as far as Cairns and flew back to Brisbane. Patonga's return voyage to UK was by way of Wyndham the oldest and northernmost town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 3,224 kilometres (2,003 miles) northeast of Perth. After arriving back in the UK I resigned from P&O returning to Brisbane as Supernumerary Engineer on board the ss Bendigo arriving back in Brisbane in November 1959.


There's more photos of Patonga and her crew in Rob Talboys' Memories here


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