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Postcard of TSMV Manunda in Adelaide Steamship Co. livery (buff funnel with black band at top), c.1930
Postcard of TSMV Manunda in Adelaide Steamship Co. livery (buff funnel with black band at top), c.1930
Name: TSMV Manunda
Owner: Adelaide Steamship Company, Melbourne
Builder: William Beardmore and Company, Dalmuir
Yard number: 651
Launched: 27 November 1928
Completed: 16 April 1929
Acquired: 23 May 1929
In service: June 1929
Out of service: September 1939
In service: April 1948
Out of service: September 1956
Reclassified: Hospital ship, 25 May 1940
Identification: Official number: 153933
Fate: Sold, October 1956
Name: Hakone Maru
Owner: Okadagumi Shipping Ltd., Japan
Acquired: October 1956
Fate: Broken up at Osaka, June 1957
General characteristics [1]
Type: Passenger/cargo ship
Length: 430 ft (130 m)[2]
Beam: 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Depth: 35 ft 7 in (10.85 m)
Propulsion: Harland & Wolff oil-fired engines, 1,304 nhp
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Capacity: 312 passengers (176 first class / 136 second class)

TSMV Manunda was an Australian registered and crewed passenger ship which was converted to a hospital ship in 1940. During the war Manunda saw service in both the Middle East and Pacific Campaigns, specifically New Guinea. She resumed her passenger duties after the war, before being sold to a Japanese company and finally broken up in 1957.

Design and construction[edit]

In 1927 the Adelaide Steamship Company in Australia ordered a new 9,115 GRT liner to provide full-time Australian coastal passenger services, which had previously only been offered by the company on a limited scale.

The Twin Screw Motor Vessel Manunda was built by William Beardmore and Company at Dalmuir in Scotland.[3] The vessel was 136 metres (446 ft) in length, with a beam of 18 metres (59 ft).[3] Diesel motors provided power to the two propeller shafts, with a top speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[3] Passenger capacity was 176 first class and 136 second class.[3]

The ship was launched on 27 November 1928, and completed on 16 April 1929.[4] It was a company policy for all its motor vessels to have a name starting with "M" and the ship was named after an Aboriginal word meaning "place near water".[5] She was the largest ship operated by the Adelaide Steamship Company at the time,[6] and as a result of her success the company commissioned a larger, faster sister ship, Manoora, which was completed in 1935.[7]

Operational history[edit]

Early career[edit]

She arrived in Australia in June 1929 to begin her duties on the Australian coastal trade, running passengers and cargo between Sydney, Fremantle, Melbourne and Cairns.

In late 1929, Manunda rammed Birkenhead Wharf in Adelaide.[3]

World War II[edit]

The newly fitted hospital ship Manunda in Sydney Harbour on 17 August 1940

The declaration of war saw Manunda fitted out as DEMS ship (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship), under the control of the Australian Shipping Control Board. During the process of converting it into a hospital ship, the No. 1 Hold was deemed to be dangerous and never rectified. One death was recorded (that of Second Officer Rupert Mafeking Blunt) and several officers were injured due to the complications with the design.[8]

She was converted into a hospital ship at Sydney in compliance with the Geneva Convention Regulations and was taken over by the authorities on 25 May 1940, and entered service as AHS Manunda on 22 July 1940, under Captain James Garden, previously the captain of the Adelaide Steamship Company Manoora and Commodore of the Adelaide Steamship Fleet. The general hospital based on board was commanded by Lt. Col. John Beith, and members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) on board were led by Matron Clara Jane Shumack (1899–1974).

Manunda sailed on a shakedown cruise to Darwin, Port Moresby and returned to Sydney, before heading for Suez in the Middle East (she made four trips to the Middle East and Mediterranean between November 1940 and September 1941). She was then despatched to Darwin. On the morning of 19 February 1942, Manunda was damaged during the Japanese air raids on Darwin, despite her highly prominent red cross markings on a white background. 12 members of the ship's crew and hospital staff were killed, 19 others were seriously wounded and another 40 or so received minor wounds. Manunda was able to act as a casualty clearing station for injured personnel from other ships involved in the attack. She sailed to Fremantle the next day. Captain James Garden was later awarded the OBE, in 1945,[9] for his bravery and skill, both during the attacks, in leading a fire extinguishing team on the ship and in later navigating it by the stars to Fremantle with no navigation equipment and a jury-rigged steering system. In 1943 Thomas Minto, First Mate on Manunda, was awarded the M.B.E. for gallantry and devotion to duty on the Manunda during air raids at Darwin in February 1942.[10] In June 1945 Matron Clara Shumack was awarded the Royal Red Cross. Her Citation included "...On one occasion when the ship was in Darwin it was badly damaged...It was especially during this period that MATRON SHUMACK displayed very great calmness and exceptional devotion to duty, and her quiet and confident manner was an inspiration to all her fellow workers".[11]

After a refit in Adelaide, she went to Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea, where she acted as a floating hospital for the Allied forces who were stationed there. She spent several nights in Milne Bay, during attacks by Japanese warships, but her status as a hospital ship was, on this occasion honored by Japanese naval units, which raked her with searchlights on three nights running. She made a total of 27 voyages from Milne Bay to Brisbane and Sydney transporting wounded troops.

As the war continued, she was relocated as required and she followed the Allied forces the various islands around the Pacific.

Six days after the sinking of AHS Centaur, a request was made by the Australian Department of Defence that the identification markings and lights be removed from AHS Manunda, weapons be installed, and that she begin to sail blacked out and under escort.[12] The conversion was performed, although efforts by the Department of the Navy, the Admiralty, and authorities in New Zealand and the United States of America caused the completed conversion to be undone.[12] The cost of the roundabout work came to £12,500, and kept Manunda out of service for three months.[13] On 9 June 1943, communications between the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the subject of hospital ships contained a section referring to the Manunda incident as a response to the attack on Centaur, with the conclusion that the attack was the work of an irresponsible Japanese commander, and that it would be better to wait until further attacks had been made before considering the removal of hospital ship markings.[14]

Manunda's final wartime voyage was to New Zealand transporting civilian passengers. During the war she carried approximately 30,000 casualties to safety.

After the Japanese surrender, Manunda was despatched to Singapore to repatriate ex-POWs and civilian internees[6] who had been imprisoned in Changi Prison.[15]She also sailed to Labuan in Borneo to pick up ex-POWs and civilian internees from Batu Lintang camp.[citation needed]

Postwar career[edit]

Manunda was decommissioned in September 1946 and refitted. She returned to service on 2 April 1948, transporting passengers around the Australian coast. [16]In September[17] 1956 she was withdrawn from service and sold to the Japanese Okadagumi Line, who renamed the vessel Hakone Maru.[6]

The company's plans for the ship did not eventuate, and she was broken up the next year in Japan,[18] arriving in Osaka for scrapping on 18 June 1957.[19][20]


In 1973 the suburb of Manunda in Cairns was named after the ship.[20] In 1975 the neighbouring suburb of Manoora was named after its sister ship.[21]


  1. ^ "M/V Manunda". Clyde-built Ship Database. 2012. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "PARTICULARS OF T.S.M.V. "MANUNDA"". Bowen Independent. 25 (3070). Queensland, Australia. 15 June 1929. p. 2. Retrieved 3 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bremer, Home and Back, p. 45
  4. ^ "THE MOTOR SHIP MANUNDA". The Advertiser. South Australia. 29 November 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 2 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "MANUNDA AND MANOORA". The Courier-mail (491). Queensland, Australia. 26 March 1935. p. 6. Retrieved 28 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b c Bremer, Home and Back, p. 43
  7. ^ "TSMV Manoora & Manunda". 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Crashed to Death Down Hold Soon After Warning Workmen". 31 July 1940. p. 5 – via Trove.
  9. ^ "Australian Honours". 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  10. ^ Sydney Morning Hearld, July 1943,[page needed]
  11. ^ Honours and Awards, Royal Red Cross, NFX70204 Major Clara Jane Shumack, Citation
  12. ^ a b Milligan and Foley, Australian Hospital Ship Centaur, pp. 189–92
  13. ^ Milligan and Foley, Australian Hospital Ship Centaur, p. 192
  14. ^ Milligan and Foley, Australian Hospital Ship Centaur, p. 191
  15. ^ "AUSTRALIAN HOSPITAL SHIP MANUNDA". The Territory Remembers. 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  16. ^ Taylor, Ron (2003). "H.M.A.S Manunda history". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  17. ^ "MANUNDA". Passengers in history. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  18. ^ Bremer, Home and Back, p. 44
  19. ^ Plowman, Peter (2007), Coast to coast : the great Australian coastal liners (1st ed.), Rosenberg Publishing, p. 172, ISBN 978-1-877058-60-8
  20. ^ a b "Manunda – suburb in Cairns Region (entry 48742)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Manoora – suburb in Cairns Region (entry 48741)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 26 June 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • John L Forrest "Clara Shumack, AHS Manunda, and other times and places" limited edition 2013
  • Bremer, Stuart (1986). Home an Back: Australia's Golden Era of Passenger Ships (Reprinted ed.). Sydney, NSW: Dreamweaver Books. ISBN 0949825069.
  • Milligan, Christopher; Foley, John (2003). Australian Hospital Ship Centaur – the myth of immunity. Hendra, QLD: Nairana Publications. ISBN 0-646-13715-8. OCLC 31291428.
  • Goodman, Rupert. Hospital Ships - Manunda, Wanganella, Centaur, Oranje.

External links[edit]