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The Fleets

McIlwraith MacEacharn / "The Scottish Line"

The firm of McIlwraith MacEacharn was originally founded in London on February 1st 1875 by Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm MacEacharn when they began business as shipping and insurance agents. A year later they entered the ranks of ship owners following an agreement with the State of Queensland for the carriage of migrants from Britain to Queensland ports north of Maryborough. Their first vessel, the Scottish Bard was completed in April 1876 and in the same year the Scottish Hero and Scottish Knight, were delivered. In 1877 the Scottish Lassie joined the fleet and during the next year the Scottish Admiral and Scottish Prince were completed. Additional to these vessels the wooden barque Sir William Wallace was acquired in 1879.
These vessels were all employed carrying immigrants until 1880 when the Queensland Government arrange a contract with the British India Associated Steamers. Thereafter the sailing ships continued to trade to Australia, particularly in the carriage of wool, primary produce and passengers to Britain. They were however also to be seen in the U.S., Chile and wherever else suitable cargoes offered. Just prior to 1880 a further vessel had been purchased the wooden barque City of Aberdeen, while in 1881 the last of the Scottish ships was completed and named Scottish Wizard.

The line by this time had become known as the Scottish Line but that title fell into disuse with the final disposal of the sailing ships, although it is interesting to note that all the buildings presently occupied by the company in Australia are called "Scottish House." These sailing vessels have been described as handsome clipper-built ships with a reputation for a reasonable turn of speed and according to one report in 1886 the Scottish Wizard made the passage from Bristol to Melbourne in 92 days. The only major accident was in 1880 when the Scottish Bard struck a shoal near Sandy Cape, Queensland and had to be beached to prevent her from sinking. She was subsequently repaired.
In 1879 the company chartered the steamer Strathleven for a round voyage to Australia and before her departure from London she was fitted with the Bell-Coleman mechanical refrigeration plant. On the return passage from Australia an experimental shipment of 30 tons of frozen beef with 2 tons of butter were carried and when the Strathleven ultimately arrived back in London in February the shipments were found to be in excellent condition. A special luncheon was held on board to celebrate this first successful shipment from Australia.

The first two steamers were introduced to the fleet in 1884, the sisters Cloncurry and New Guinea both over 2,500 tons. They made their first appearance in Australian waters under charter to the British India Steam Navigation Company at the end of 1884 when they arrived in Brisbane with migrants. The same year the Sir William Wallace was sold and Scottish Prince lost when she stranded near Southport Queensland in 1887. Also in 1887 the steel barque Frances Fisher was bought. By virtue of their vessels trading to Queensland ports the company developed other interests in the state and the London office operated an extensive mercantile and export department. A branch of the company was established in Melbourne in1887 and subsequently branches were opened in Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Freemantle. All of these exist today.
During 1893 the company began to dispose of its sailing ships. The Scottish Hero and Frances Fisher were sold in 1893 and the Scottish Bard the following year. The Scottish Admiral was sunk in a collision in 1894 and the cargo steamer Eddystone, which had been in trouble the previous year was wrecked near Cossack, West Australia in September 1894. The Scottish Lassie was sold in 1895 and in February the following year the Scottish Knight sank after a collision off Cornwall while nearing the end of a passage from Tocopilla to Leith.

With the expansion of the company's interests in Australia Malcolm MacEacharn had settled in Melbourne about the time that a branch was opened and during his years in this country he took a leading part in public affairs, becoming a Commissioner of the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1893 and in the same year was returned as a member of the Melbourne City Council ultimately becoming the city's second Lord Mayor. In 1900 he was knighted and in 1901 elected to represent Melbourne in the first federal parliament.
Four years later Sir Malcolm returned to Scotland and died in 1910 at the age of 58. His partner Andrew McIlwraith outlived him by many years dying in 1932 in his 90th year.

All steamships registered in Melbourne. The company became a major operator in the Australian coastal passenger and cargo trade and also operated cargo services between Australia and India. In 1964 the company formed a partnership with Adelaide SS Co. and their ships were transferred to Associated Steamships Pty Ltd.

Many thanks to Fraser Morrison of Inverness and Ted Finch for their assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Fleet - Sailing Ships:
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
City of Aberdeen 1862 wooden barque, 1879 purchased by McIlwraith MacEachern, 1889 sold to Norway, 1891 renamed Louis, 29th Mar.1893 abandoned in Atlantic on voyage Halifax NS to Barry, Wales. 586
Frances Fisher 1885 barque, 1887 purchased from Frances Fisher Sailings Co. (Chadwick Wainright & Co.), Liverpool. 1893 sold to Liverpool owners. 17th Nov.1909 abandoned near Royal Sovereign Lightship after collision with s/s DALMATIA. Beached near St. Valery-en-Caux, France. Refloated and then beached near Dieppe. 1st Dec.1909 broke up. 1,477
Scottish Admiral 1878 barque, Feb.1894 sunk in collision. 986
Scottish Bard 1876 barque, 1894 sold to Denmark renamed Thor, Aug.1900 abandoned at sea in the South Atlantic. 850
Scottish Hero (1) 1876 barque, 1893 sold to A. H. Arnold, Brake, Germany renamed Saturnus, 1905 sold to Norway, 1914 sold to Sweden, 13th Oct.1915 abandoned in North Atlantic on voyage Miramichi to Cork with timber. 911
Scottish Knight 1876 barque, Feb.1896 sank in tow after collision with Longships in fog off Cornwall on voyage Tocopilla to Leith with nitrate. 916
Scottish Lassie 1877 barque, 1895 sold to France renamed Alexandria, 1925 scrapped. 849
Scottish Prince 1878 barque, Feb.1887 stranded and broke up near Southport, Queensland. 950
Scottish Wizard 1881 barque, 1900 sold to Italy renamed Pasquale Lauro, 1917 went missing at sea. 1,209
Sir William Wallace 1866 wooden barque, 1879 purchased by McIlwraith MacEachern, 1890 hulked at Sydney NSW. 968

Red with black top

Fleet - Steamships:

Funnel Flag
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Adelong 1936 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1967 sold renamed Pacific King, 1969 scrapped. 3,619
Ashridge 1905 1938 sold to Williamson & Co., 1942 taken over by MOWT, 1947 scrapped. 2,884
Barwon 1939 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1964 transferred to Associated Steamships Ltd, 1969 renamed Ability, 1972 wrecked near Kaohsiung. 4,303
Bothwell Castle 1881 1896 purchased from Thos. Skinner & Co., London, 1899 renamed Coolgardie, 1913 sold to W. Crosby, Melbourne, 1922 scrapped Italy. 2,542
Cloncurry 1884 1885 - 1888 chartered to British India S.N. Co., 3rd Jan.1890 sunk in collision with s/s MAPLEBRANCH in Suez Bay, later refloated and repaired, 1905 sold to Japan renamed Yoneyama Maru 2,579
Cooeyanna 1902 1913 sold to British India S.N. Co., 1923 sold to Italy renamed Tasmania, 1924 abandoned on fire in Gulf of Genoa. 3,922
Coolgardie   see Bothwell Castle.  
Darwin 1892 1893 sold to H.W.H. Stevens, Darwin, 1898 sold to Singapore renamed Ban Liong Soon, later sold to Philippines renamed Y. Sontua, fate unknown. 752
Eddystone 1886 1893 purchased from Farrar, Groves & Co., London, 1894 wrecked Depuch Island, W.A. 2,040
Elton Griffin 1963 tug, 1975 still in service. 292
Federal 1890 1901 sank in Bass Strait. 2,403
Flinders 1878 1894 purchased from Union SS Co. of New Zealand, 1907 sold to Adelaide SS Co., 1911 burnt and hulked. 948
Hetton Bank 1924 ex- Coralstone, 1934 purchased from Crete Shipping Co., London renamed Hetton Bank, 1961 sold renamed La Union 1962 scrapped Hong Kong. 1,375
Hexham Bank 1953 1978 on fire and converted to barge at Manila. 1,616
James Paterson 1902 tug, 1961 purchased from J. Paterson & Co., Melbourne, 1963 scrapped. 247
Kalgoorlie 1880 ex- Glenfruin, 1897 purchased from McGregor, Gow & Co., London renamed Kalgoorlie, 1912 sold to McAlister & Co., Singapore, 1916 sold to Ho Hong SS Co., Singapore, 1919 renamed Hong Hwa, 1934 scrapped. 2,981
Kanimbla 1936 1940-1945 requisitioned for war duties, not reconditioned until 1950 when returned to owners, 1961 sold Liberia renamed Oriental Queen, 1974 scrapped. 10,985
Karoola 1909 1915-1919 requisitioned for war service, 1937 scrapped Japan. 7,391
Katoomba 1913 1918-1919 troopship, 1946 sold to Goulandris, Greece renamed Columbia, 1959 scrapped Japan. 9,424
Komura 1905 1931 sold to Shanghai renamed Hwa Sing, 1938 sunk as blockship in Yangtze. 2,112
Kooliga (1) 1928 1953 scrapped Japan. 2,459
Kooliga (2) 1958 1973 sold to Panama renamed Japri Venture, 1980 scrapped. 2,881
Koolonga (1) 1914 1917 sold to Scott Fell & Co. renamed Iron Monarch, 1937 sold to Philippines renamed Paz, 1942 scuttled but salvaged by Japanese renamed Hatzu Maru, 13th Nov.1944 sunk by U.S. air attack. 4,260
Koolonga (2) 1921 launched as War Aspen, completed as Sutherland, 1920 renamed Southmead, 1921 purchased from Western Counties Shipping Co., London renamed Koolonga, 1929 sold to Sutherland & Co., Newcastle renamed Caithness, 1935 sold renamed David Dawson, 1936 sold renamed Avon River, 1936 stranded in Hudson Bay. 5,277
Koomilya (1) 1929 1955 sold renamed Rosapolagi, 1961 scrapped. 2,780
Koomilya (2) 1948 ex- Coramba, 1961 purchased from Australian United S.N. Co. renamed Koomilya, 1966 sold renamed San Fernando, 1976 scrapped. 3,551
Koonda 1910 ex- Hargrove, 1912 purchased from Harrison, Thiswell & Co., London renamed Koonda, 1946 sold to Shanghai renamed Chung Lien, 1947 scrapped. 1,631
Kooralya 1944 ex- Fawkner Park, 1947 purchased from Australian Government renamed Kooralya, 1960 sold renamed Mandarin Star, 1968 scrapped. 3,169
Koorawatha 1947 ex- Barrigun, 1948 purchased from Australian Government renamed Koorawatha, 1964 sold renamed Visaya Regidor, 1974 scrapped. 4,054
Kooringa (1) 1902 1931 sold to Shanghai renamed Hsing Tai Ping, 1938 wrecked Japan. 3,174
Kooringa (2) 1938 1958 sold renamed Straits Breeze, 1968 scrapped. 3,292
Kooyong 1907 1946 sold to Shanghai renamed Pah Dar, 1948 scrapped China. 2,296
Mortlake Bank 1924 ex- Elfstone, 1937 purchased from Crete Shipping Co., London renamed Mortlake Bank, 1969 scrapped. 1,371
Muriel 1881 1883 purchased from Sanders & Son, Colchester, 1889 sold to C. Douglas & Partners, 1931 deleted from Registers. 105
New Guinea 1884 1885 - 1889 chartered to British India S.N. Co., 13th Feb.1911 wrecked in Disaster Bay on voyage Melbourne to Sydney. 2,674
Norkoowa 1885 1912 scrapped Bombay. 1,643
Pelican 1898 1904 purchased from West Australian Gov't, 1909 sold to Geelong Harbour Trust renamed G. F. Holden, later hulked. 222
Pelton Bank 1924 ex- Dewstone, 1934 purchased from Crete Shipping Co., London renamed Pelton Bank, 1968 sold and used as crane pontoon at Brisbane. 1,375
Polly 1879 1882 sold to Queensland Steam Shipping Co., 1889 wrecked. 179
Scottish Hero (2) 1895 1899 sold to Canadian Ocean & Inland Nav. Co., Newcastle, 1917 shelled and sunk by U.Boat in Atlantic. 2,202
Tagliaferro 1882 1885 purchased from Trading SS Co., London, 1906 sold to Japan renamed Kyushu Maru, 1911 wrecked. 1,598
Taldora 1881 1882 sold to Queensland Steam Shipping Co., 1914 converted to lighter. 232
Torrens 1877 tug, 1897 purchased from Melbourne Harbour Trust, 1914 sold to West Australian Government. 135
Waimana 1899 1905 purchased from East Gippsland Shipping Co., Melbourne, 1907 converted to sailing ship, 1917 sold to Ed Taylor, Hobart. 152
Walumba 1960 tug, 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1975 still in service. 269
Wanganella 1932 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1962 sold to Hong Kong, 1970 scrapped. 9,876
Warringa 1955 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1968 sold to Hong Kong renamed Ngam Chau. 2,716
Watamurra 1947 ex- Fred Olsson, 1956 purchased by Huddart, Parker Ltd renamed Watamurra, 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1966 sold to Panama renamed Isobel Brenda.1977 scrapped after fire. 1,894
Westralian 1905 1913 purchased from Westralian Pleasure SS Co., 1921 sold to E. L. Spence, Sydney. 123
Woomera 1952 1961 purchased from Huddart, Parker Ltd, 1973 sold renamed Blue Jade, 1974 scrapped. 4,033
Zephyr 1906 1946 sold, 1966 scrapped. 178

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