On This Day

16 March

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1960 Canberra - ‘shipbuilding meets art’


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The 45,270-ton passenger ship Canberra (Yard No. 1621) was launched today for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., London.

The christening ceremony of Britain’s third largest liner was performed by Dame Pattie Menzies, wife of the Australian Prime Minister. The turbo-electric powered liner was the largest vessel launched in the British Isles since Cunard's RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1938.

Pictured above, the powerful deep sea tug Piper takes control of Canberra just moments after her launch. Note the tender in the foreground and the Harland & Wolff logo on her bow.

(See: Advert Archive - 1960s)

WATCH: a Pathe newsreel of Canberra's launch (1960)

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1893 Union liner Goth


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The 4,738-ton passenger and cargo ship Goth (Yard No. 263) was launched today for the Union Steamship Company. The christening ceremony was performed by Miss Nona Giles, daughter of G. F. L. Giles, The Manor House, Belfast and granddaughter of Alfred Giles, vice-president of the Institute of Engineers and chairman of the Union Steamship Company.

This was the second of three steamers building for the Company by Harland & Wolff; the first was Gaul (Yard No. 261), launched on 16 February.

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1893 Moya


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The 184-ton tender ship Moya (WC&C Yard No. 101 was launched at high water, today by Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd., from their Spencer Basin shipyard for the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The christening ceremony was performed by Miss Galway, daughter of Captain Galway, Dublin, Inspector of Irish Lighthouses.

The dimensions of the steel twin-screw steamer were: Length, 126 feet; Breadth of beam, 23 feet; Depth (moulded), 11 feet, 7 inches.

Moya was specially designed and built under the superintendence of Mr. Wymer of the Board of Trade and Captain Galway, to suit the requirements of the Commissioners' in servicing some of the lighthouses on the south-west coast of Ireland.

Built to Lloyd's of London’s highest class, she was strengthened considerably over their requirements. The after part of the vessel was set apart as the cabin for the accommodation of the master and engineers, each having a separate stateroom. The saloon was handsomely panelled in polished walnut and upholstered in leather cloth. The seamen and firemen were berthed in the fore cabin, which also contained four rooms fitted up as cabins for the conveyance of the lighthouse-keepers (the vessel also had to have a Board of Trade passenger certificate in order to comply with the law).

A bridge deck extended over the machinery space, having a wheelhouse at the front. The boats were housed on this deck and fitted with patent quick release disengaging gear. Under the bridge, in side houses, were the galley, lamp room and w.c. Protection forward, from heavy seas, was provided by a turtleback forecastle extending about 20 feet from the stem. On this deck the anchors were placed, worked from a steam windlass by means of a crane on deck.

Her two sets of compound direct-acting engines and single large steel boiler were designed and constructed by Workman, Clark in their engine works on Queen’s Island. The propellers were three bladed and made of manganese bronze. After the launch the vessel was towed to the sheer leg crane on the Abercorn Basin quay to receive her machinery.