Overseas Adventures

Painting HMAT Berrima, 1915

The SS Berrima was built for P&O (Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) and launched in 1913 as a passenger liner bringing immigrants from the United Kingdom to Australia. She had permanent accommodation for 350 third class passengers, plus room for another 250 passengers in temporary accommodation.

In 2014 it was requisitioned by the Australian Government for use as a troopship during the First World War. This painting depicts the HMAT Berrima on open seas and is inscribed: ‘Troopship S.S. Berrima 20th, 21st and 22nd Battalion Reinforcements 25/6/1915’. The Berrima was eventually sold for scrap in 1930.

This painting is associated with Cecil ‘Curly’ Carrington Wamsley [1891-1916], a member of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), Service No. 1017. Curly Wamsley embarked on the Berrima on 25 June 1915 en route to Gallipoli. He was later posted to France where he was killed in action at Pozieres on 25 July 1916.

The painting is symbolic of the many journeys made by transport ships as they transferred Australian soldiers to war during World War I. For many young men enlisting in the AIF was an opportunity for overseas travel and adventure. Sadly, for Curly Wamsley his adventures were cut short when he paid the ultimate price of war, his life.


What important battle did Curly Wamsley fight in and survive ?

Exhibition Theme
View Collection

Continue Your JourneyClick an object below to go back or forward in time!

Scroll to Top