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NAME

SS. ADMIRAL VON TIRPITZ (EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA)

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

DECEMBER 20th 1913

BUILT

VULCAN SHIPYARDS / STETTIN / GERMANY

WEIGHT

21,498 TONS

LENGTH

590 FEET

WIDTH

75 FEET

SPEED

16.5 KNOTS - GEARED STEAM TURBINES - TWO PROPELLERS


The Hamburg Amerika Line ordered Admiral Von Tirpitz at the same time as their Big Three, Imperator, Vaterland and Bismarck. With this ship intended to carry immigrants from Germany to the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal, she was built to a size that would reflect the amount of trade expected on that route. Work on Admiral Von Tirpitz fitting out had to be suspended after the outbreak of World War One in 1914. At one stage, the Germans were so confident they would win the war; they planned to convert this ship to a royal yacht. However, the German surrender in 1918 led to Admiral Von Tirpitz being awarded to the Allies as compensation for ships they lost during the war. Work on her completion was carried out at Hamburg before she joined the Canadian Pacific Railway Company July 25th 1921 under the name Empress of China.

Empress of Australia

Before entering service, the Canadian Pacific Line had their new ship put into John Browns/ Clydebank to have her interiors finished to higher standard. She remerged from the shipyard under the name Empress of Australia and departed Scotland in June 1922 bound for her homeport of Vancouver. Empress of Australia’s maiden voyage on her intended route from Vancouver - Yokohama and Hong Kong began July 28th 1922. Her underpowered turbines were replaced with Parsons turbines at Fairfield Shipbuilding/Glasgow in 1926. After being returned to the Canadian Pacific line with an improved service speed of 19 knots, they began operating her between the Southampton - Quebec run in summer and as a cruise ship in winter. The British Admiralty requisitioned Empress of Australia to serve as a troopship during the Second World War. As that war came to an end, the British Navy chartered her to serve as a full time troopship. Empress of Australia continued in that role until her decommissioning in 1952. She set out on her final voyage from Liverpool to the scrap yard at Rosyth/Scotland May 8th 1952.

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