Historical information

The SS Diomed was the last ? of the Blue Funnel Line's coal burners and the 4th (of 5 vessels) bearing the name Diomed and built in 1922. She made her last voyage from Australia to England in 1952, where she was broken up. The ship had been in service in Australia for 30 years and as a parting gesture the ship's bell was presented to the Mission by Alfred Holt & Co., the ship's owner. The bell was originally presented to the Port Melbourne Mission to Seafarers. It seems to have been a mark of respect for one of the Mission workers who regularly visited the ship. On closure of the Port Melbourne Mission in the late 20thC , the bell was transferred to the Melbourne facility and has been in permanent residence since then.


The bell underscores the strong working relationship between the Mission to Seafarers, as an organisation, and the various companies and agencies that work on the oceans. It also represents the traditional relationship between Australia and England in that seafarers who visited the Mission were once primarily of British backgrounds or descent. While this situation has changed in more recent times, it is that traditional relationship that saw the establishment of the Mission in Australian ports in the first instance.(NB the previous 2 Diomed's had both been sunk in WW1 1915 and 1918 and the re-use of the name indicates it was a well respected name subsequently re-allocated to the 1922. and 1956 vessels

Physical description

A brass bell with the word "Diomed" embossed on its waist and the word has also been painted black. The bell is mounted overall on a heavy carved wood base with brass dolphins at either side forming a support frame for the brass crossbar mount from which the bell is suspended. The clapper has a pull rope attached to it but the casing of the mounting prevents the bell from being fully rung.

Inscriptions & markings

Embossed at the waist of the bell: "Diomed".
Brass plaque on wooden mounting: "PRESENTED BY/ALFRED HOLT & CO/BLUE FUNNEL LINE/LIVERPOOL ENGLAND/1922-52/APRIL 1953"