Much like international trade today the sea lanes of the world in the Edwardian period conveyed goods of all manner of description. Between the ports of Australia and New Zealand the Wimmera supported this trade.

As one would expect on an international freighter, an infinite variety of cargo items were imported and exported, shipped and transshipped, consigned and conveyed aboard the Wimmera. As was the practice during her early period of operation, a brief listing of her cargo manifest was published in the newspapers at her ports of entry and departure. Some examples of the range of items reported, including some of the more curious items, are listed below:

In the form of beverages were ale, beer, benedictine, bitters, brandy, champagne, cider, liqueurs, rum, schnapps, spirits, stout, tonic, whiskey and wine, including Murrayfield champagne cider. On the non-alcoholic side were cocoa, coffee, coffee beans, coffee essences, cordials, ginger beer, Kops’ ale, lemon squash, lime juice, mineral waters and tea.

Among the fresh fruit and vegetable produce were apples, apricots, asparagus, bananas, beans, cherries, cucumbers, dates, figs, gooseberries, grapes, lemons, melons, onions, oranges, pears, peas, pineapples, plums, potatoes, quinces, squash, watermelons, as well as canned tomatoes, dried fruits, evaporated fruit, currants, raisins, sultanas, preserved cherries and other fruits.

Shipping fruit for export at Port Melbourne.
Postcard. Author’s Collection.

Dairy produce included milk, preserved milk, butter, cheeses and cream.

Meats and seafood included bacon, beef, blue cod, brawn, canned fish, codfish, fish, frozen fish, frozen pork, hams, herrings, lamb, lobsters, mutton, mutton birds, oysters, pork, poultry, preserved meats, salmon, sardines, sheep tongues and whitebait.

Additional foodstuffs were biscuits, cakes, chocolate, confectionery, crackers, dates, desserts, egg pulp, flour, Force Food, grape nuts, icing sugar, jam, jujubes, macaroni, margarine, peel, pickles, rices, sauce, spices, sugar, syrup and treacle.

Other fresh or processed agricultural products included almonds, barley, basil, chicory, chillies, cinnamon chips, cloves, cocoanuts, cocoanut fat, cocoanut oil, condiments, copra,  dandelion roots, desiccated cocoanut, ginger, haricot beans, herbs, hops, liquorice, maize, myrabolans, oatmeal, oats, peanuts, pepper, rice, rolled oats, sago, sarsaparilla, tapioca, vanilla, vanilla beans, walnuts and wheat.

Loading New Zealand butter for export.
Postcard. Author’s Collection.

Among the live animals carried were bullocks, camels, cattle, dogs, ducks, ewes, fish, fowls, galahs, angora goats, hares, kiwis, lambs, pigeons, ponies, racehorses, rams and sheep, including stud sheep as well as snakes and even crocodiles.

Further agricultural products included bark, canary seed, chaff, clover seed, cocksfoot, eucalyptus oil, flax, grass seed, hay, hemp, lucerne hay, linseed, malt, molascuit, paspalum seed, plants, pollard, rye grass, seed, sawdust, Sucrocine, tobacco, tow, trees  and valonea.

Additional animal products were blood manure, bone dust, bones, calf skins, felt, gelatine, guano, hair, hides, horns, lard, leather, manure, pelts, rabbit skins, sheep skins, sinews, skins, tallow, tongues and wool.

‘Packing rabbits for export to Europe.’
Postcard. Author’s Collection.

Other raw and processed resources, hardware or building materials shipped were aluminium, asbestos, asbestos sheets, bamboo blinds, barbed wire, bluestone, boards, box timber, brass, cable, candles, cedar, cement, cement sheets, charcoal, circular saws, coal, coil yarn, coke, copper sheets, cream separators, dampcourse, disc harrows, dyes, enamel, galvanized iron, galvanized pipe, galvanized wire, gravel, gypsum, hardwood, hematite, hessian, hewn timber, iron bars, lashings, kauri gum, lead, marble, nails, ore, oxide, paint, palings, paste, pigs lead, pipes, plaster, pumice sand, redwood, rope, safety matches, sand, scrap tin, shingles, sleepers, soda ash, steel, tiles, timber, timber samples, tinplate, tubes, twine, tyres, wax, wire netting, wire rope, zinc ingots

Additional chemical, liquid or other hazardous material included ammonia, ammonia gas, benzene, bicarbonate soda, bitumen, blacking, borax, camphor, carbide, cleanser, cylinders of gas, disinfectant, grease, fireworks, kerosene, lacquer, lino polish, lithage, lubricating oil, muriate of potash, naphtha, nitrate soda, oil, phosphates, saltpetre, sheep dip, soda ash, starch, stearine, sulphide ammonia, sulphide sodium, sulphite of potash, tar, turps, varnish, voltite, white spirit, zyclyne [paint cleaner].

Besides sundry cargo that went unspecified in the newspaper shipping columns, some additional odds and sods of cargo that were reported or otherwise mentioned in the press included motor cars, [a] monoplane, a yacht, canoes, sculling boats, circus gear, theatre scenery, banknotes, beehives, gold bullion and coin, bee hives, bedsteads, bicycles, bicycle parts, billiard tables, books, bookbinder’s material, boots, bottles, bronchitis cure, carpets, chairs, churns, cigars and cigarettes, clocks, cod liver oil, corpses, corsets, cotton, cottons and silks, crockery,  curios, doors, drapery, drugs, earthenware, foot wear, furniture, gas meters, glassware, glue pieces, gramophones, guns, empty hogsheads, horse clippers, horse nails, incubators, a jinker, linotype parts, machine parts, machinery, magazines, mangles, mats, medicine, merchandise, organs, ovens, paper [newspaper], periodicals, personal effects, photo goods, pianos, plows, porcelain, printers material, rifles, safety cartridges, safety fuses, seed sowers, sewing machines, shot, shovels, soap, soap powder, spindles, stationery, stoves, printing paper, printing type, telegraph arms, toilet paper, tooth paste, toys, typewriters, umbrellas, water waggons, wireless apparatus and whizz.

Beverages, chocolates and phonographs…

And, the goods arrived in all forms of packages from bags, bales, boxes and bundles to sacks, cases, casks and kegs.

© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021