Proud Liner of the Aberdeen White Star Line, AUSTRALASIAN carried emigrants and first-class passengers to Australia and South Asia in the late 1880s & 1890s. This colorful period woolwork picture depicts the steaming vessel near “South Sydney Heads” with its prominent lighthouse, with a man working the signal tower flag. Several sailors and passengers are shown onboard the ship as well. Sydney Heads was the site of the first ‘forced landing’ of British passengers, some 750 convicts, in 1788.
Possessing attributes which make the artwork highly desirable and different from most surviving examples of these fine works, the puffed sails are extremely nice to have. Signed works of this nature are very rare, and the embroidered title and known headlands are a plus. The scenes detailed look at the cliffs, and the nautical activity at sea and shore also add value.
The ship flies the British Red Ensign, and was built in 1884 by Robert Napier of Glasgow for the Aberdeen Line. Her steam/sail rig provided versatility while she demanded a substantial amount of coal fuel, which was supported by then newly built stations along the route which were stocked for the Southern Hemisphere voyages.
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