SS Gothic in Hobart

65 years ago, in February 1954, the Royal Yacht SS Gothic berthed at Princes Wharf Hobart (Tasmania) during Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation world tour. On board were Kaymet tea trays and spun salvers purchased in 1952 when the Shaw Savill and Albion Line ship was being refitted at Cammell Laird shipyard as the Royal Yacht. British royal family members had previously purchased Kaymet wares during visits to the British Industries Fair at Olympia in 1948, 1949 and 1950. See a little more about that here.

Before the tour began Sir Winston Churchill was moved to make a statement in the House of Commons: "It will be the first time that a British sovereign has circumnavigated the globe. Her Majesty’s ship, Gothic, is more spacious and travels faster than the Golden Hind, but it may well be that the journey which the Queen is about to make will be no less auspicious and the treasures which she brings back no less bright than when Drake first sailed an English ship around the world.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh boarded the newly white painted vessel on 22nd November 1953, then the Gothic sailed via the Panama Canal to Suva and Tonga, then Auckland and Wellington. Over the following weeks she also visited Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne and other ports before arriving at Fremantle. The next leg of the journey was across the Indian Ocean to Cocos Island, Colombo and the Red Sea port of Aden, arriving there on 27th April 1954.

Her royal duties done, five heyday months over, the ship slipped quietly back into her cargo-passenger liner role. We fondly imagine that the trusty Kaymet wares were slipped across to the Royal Yacht Britannia, but we can't be sure.


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