The following people or groups, from the military and navy, were passengers on the SS Wimmera:


Prior to World War 1 notable figures and serving members of both Australian and New Zealand Forces were passengers on trans-Tasman steamers. Some have been identified as being aboard the Wimmera.

  • Major-General John Charles Hoad (Inspector General Commonwealth Military Forces) December 1906
  • Captain Samuel Augustus Pethebridge (Acting Secretary of Defence) July 1908
  • Colonel J.H.A. Lee (Commandant Commonwealth Military Forces in South Australia) July 1909
  • Lieutenant Henry Edward de Parny Rennick RN (hydrographer/surveyor on the Antarctic vessel Terra Nova) June 1912
  • Sailors of HMS Pyramus September 1916

World War I

During the course of the First World War the Wimmera’s sister ship the Ulimaroa was requisitioned for war transport and served as a troop ship.

H.M. Troopship “ULIMAROA”, European War 1914-1919, Sydney, April, 1919.
Postcard. Author’s Collection.

However, although the Wimmera continued to be engaged in normal cargo and passenger traffic on the home front she nonetheless also conveyed both troops and members of the armed forces between ports.

12th Infantry Battalion / 12th Reinforcements

In October 1915 161 troop reinforcements from Tasmania were conveyed to Melbourne prior to their embarkation for Europe.

Comprising one officer, three sergeants and 157 private soldiers, they were (all) members of the 12th Infantry Battalion, 12th Reinforcements. Their average age was 22 years.

The troops boarded the Wimmera in Hobart on Tuesday 19 October and disembarked in Melbourne on 21 October. In little over a month later, on 24 November, these members of the 12th Reinforcements embarked the troopship H.M.A.T. [RMS] Orontes for Egypt.

1162 members of 12th Battalion, who did not return, are recorded on the Australian War Memorial’s Honour Roll.

New Zealand troops

Returning New Zealand servicemen also reached home aboard the Wimmera.

Sailors of the Pyramus

© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021