Historical information

One photo from an album belonging to JB McLean, of his voyage home from World War 1 in 1920 on the Ceramic.
The photo shows the bank of the Suez Canal.
The Ceramic departed Tillbury, UK 12th March and docked in Freemantle on 27th April 1920 and then went onto Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The Ceramic was a transport vessel built in Belfast in 1913 for the White Star Line to transport frozen produce and apples from Australia to UK. It was taken over by the Australian Government for troop transport in October 1914 and could carry over 3,000 troops.
This trip in 1920 there were 1467 on board, there were women and children as well as 439 soldiers returning home, one of whom was John 'Basil' McLean.
Was with other World War 1 memorabilia that has come from Private John Basil McLean, 2nd Reinforcements, 37th Battalion, A.I.F. There was a large collection of postcards so he may have been collecting them as souvenirs.
J.B. McLean (Service No. 13824) was from near Maffra, Victoria and enlisted on 22 January 1916. He embarked on 16 December 1916 for Europe. His full war record is available from AWM. He spent time with the Australian Field Artillery (Pack Section). At the end of the war he worked for a year at the A.I.F. Headquarters in London before returning to Australia on the 'Ceramic', arriving Portsea in 1920.


A collection of items from John Basil McLean is in the archive. Kept as an indication of what founding legatees experienced in World War One and what they saw on the way home.

Physical description

Sepia photo of the bank of the Suez Canal glued to black cardboard in an album of photos from 1920.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten caption 'On Bank of Suez Canal' in white ink.