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Mission to Seafarers Victoria Docklands, Victoria

For their safe and efficient operations, ships depend on seafarers working far from their home and family for months, sometimes years and often in harsh, isolated and dangerous conditions. The Mission to Seafarers Victoria supports seafarers in the most practical way, by provision of support. Mission to Seafarers is an international organisation that began in 1836, with 26 facilities operating in Australia.

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Contact Information

location
717 Flinders Street Docklands Victoria 3008 (map)
phone
+61 03 96297083

Contact

Opening Hours

9am-10pm

Entry Fee

Free

Location

717 Flinders Street Docklands Victoria

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The collection focus is on the Mission to Seafarers Victoria organisational history and the communities surrounding it - seafarers, the Anglican chaplaincy and philanthropic groups, such as the Ladies Habour Lights Guild. The collection spans from the late 1800s to the present day. It comprises documents, books, photographs and objects.

Significance

The Mission to Seafarers' heritage collection and building is of at least state significance (architectural). The buildings and several collection items are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (H1496) and the National Trust Register (B4588) due to their representativeness of the Arts and Crafts and Spanish Mission styles. The collection holds historical significance because of its importance to Australia's cultural history through its representation of national maritime welfare and migration themes. The collection holds social/spiritual significance as a place of strong or special association with national and international seafaring community, and with the national and international Anglican Church movement and prominent philanthropic groups and individuals.

Margaret 12 October 2016 5:42 PM

I am researching a Mariner who arrived allegedly on the "Essex" - date unknown but it would have been before 1872 when he married at the Fitzroy Registry Office. His name was Alexander Bothwell from Aberdeen Scotland. Would there be any records going back that far? Do you research for queries ? If so, how much ? Thanks.

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1313 items

1313 items

Photograph - Allan Quinn Collection - M/S "Mongabarra" in dry-dock at Eriksbergs

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Black and white photograph of the M/S "Mongabarra" Goteborg in Eriksbergs dockyard, Gothenburg, Sweden. The ship is directly in the middle of the photograph taking from the very front of the ship in the dry-dock. There are several ladders lined up along the left-hand side of the ship beginning from the ships front. There are several wooden planks lying on the ground in front of the ship and walls either side of the ship.

Historical information

This series of photographs captures life at sea and the conditions on the ship M/S "Mongabarra" in 1950. This photograph was exhibited by the Mission to Seafarers as part of the exhibition "Letters from Abroad" in 2012.

Significance

This photograph is part of the Allan Quinn collection, which is a pictorial autobiography, and it represents one of many moments of his time abroad as a seafarer.

Photograph Album - "Snapshots"

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

small red faux leather covered commercially manufactured photograph album of photographs, clippings and other ephemera such as tickets.

Historical information

This album was found with notes and letter from the donor Sadie Wilson a former member of the Ladies Harbour Light Guild and later Flying angels club. Sadie was active in the immediate post WW2 period through to the 60s and possibly later. An LHLG member in the immediate post WW2 period through to the 60s and possibly later, Sadie was re contacted in the early 2000s and participated in a re-union of former LHLG members at the MTS. Along with her friend Berenice, Sadie also provided oral history reminiscences of the LHLG in a film production " a light in the harbour" made by Csilla Tsongaray circa 2006 drawing on reminiscences from a number of people associated with the Mission.

Significance

Sadie Wilson's album has assisted with the cross referencing,verification, dating and identification of other images and material in the MTS found Archive. Her reminiscences provide an important rare verbatim insight into the experience of being a member of LHLG in the mid 20th C.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Snapshots" embossed in black italics across the lower right front cover corner.

Photograph - Joan Bagot distributes fruit at picnic

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Small monochrome outdoor photograph, depicting a lady holding a basket and walking along a row of 10+ men

Historical information

Joan Bagot distributing fruit to seafarers at one of the many mission picnics

Inscriptions & Markings

Fruit being distributed at picnic. Miss Bagot. Joan Bagot

Quinn Letter - Letter

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

A two-page letter written on a single sheet of unlined, buff-coloured paper (0855.a) headed London and dated 9/01/51. There is no envelope

Historical information

Allan writes that he had '...a marvellous time in Norway over Xmas and the New Year.' He is now settling in in London and busy organising accommodation, banking and ration cards.

Significance

Quinn Collection

Inscriptions & Markings

The letter is from Allan to his mother.

Photograph - St Peter the Mariner Chapel altar

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Digital Image - Peter Silvester at port

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Black and white photograph of the SS Peter Silvester in port. Port unknown. Many mooring ropes are visible. There is washing hanging on a makeshift line toward the front of the ship. Two men are standing on the dock. There is a man standing atop.

Historical information

The SS Peter Silvester was named after a New York Congressman. She has the dubious honour of being the last ship to be sunk by enemy action in the Indian Ocean. The German U-Boat U-862 had made her way along the west coast of Australia, under Tasmania and over the New Zealand. She was in the process of retracing her steps when she came across the Peter Silvester enroute from Melbourne to Colombo with US army supplies and mules. Some 5 or 6 torpedoes were landed before the order to abandon ship was given. The final torpedo ripped the ship in half. Whilst 32 crew members were lost either at the time or later from wounds. One of the last lot rescued were found some 38 days after the sinking.

Significance

This photograph shows the Peter Silvester in tact.

Book - Minute Book

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

A hard cover book containing the minutes of ninety-three meetings. about half of these minutes have been handwritten into the book, while the other half have been typed and pasted onto the pages. The covers of the book are a dark green with a watermarked pattern. The spine and corner are dark red.

Historical information

Documents the minutes of the Victorian Seamen's Mission from Thursday 8th of October 1925 to the 4th of July 1934. The minutes are a record of all members of the Victorian Seafarers' Mission during this time, as well as a record of the decisions and accounts of the committee.

Significance

This is a formal record of proceedings within the Victorian Seafarers' Mission between 1925 to 1934. Entries in the book make reference to events which took place at the Mission, individual members and other parties, such as the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild.

Concert Programme - Continental for the Mission to Seamen, Pt. Pirie...Souvenir Programme: Saturday 3rd Nov., 1923

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

A beige-coloured two-sided printed programme

Historical information

This concert programme is advertising a concert to be held for the Mission to Seamen, Pt. Pirie on Saturday, 23rd November 1923. Although it was held for the Port Pirie Mission the actual concert was to take place on board the T.S.S. Port Campbell. The names of the Captain of the ship, the Chairman of the concert, the Accompaniste and Pianist are mentioned. Listed in the programme are the names of the performers and the items they are to perform.

Significance

A representative example of entertainment offered to seamen in the ports of Australia as organised by Ladies Harbor Lights Guild active in the various Missions to Seamen around Australia. This is a rare example of a concert programme from Port Pirie.

Inscriptions & Markings

Front page heading reads 'CONTINENTAL'. The title is located half-way down the front page. On pages 2 and 3 Concert Programme .......(full details of performers are listed in centre panel with humorous faux advertisements on outer panels on either side). The programme is hand inscribed on the back page with three signatures: upper left F or T Newman, / J. O'Donoghue; upper right A S C Cooper

Dining Chairs - Manse Dining Suite

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Wooden oakwood dining chairs with two heart-shaped carvings on the backrest. One of the chair has armrests. Eucalyptus green leather cushion seats. Canvas webbing underneath. Set of 6 original chairs used in the Manse. Four chairs in urgent need of repair and restoration.

Historical information

Set of six original dining chairs used in the Manse.

Significance

The chairs were originally used in the dining room of the chaplain's quarter as photographed by Reverend Weller in the 1920s (see item 1568).

Digital Image - Frank Oliver with other Mission to Seafarers chaplains

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Black and white photograph of a group of chaplains outside the Mission to Seafarers building in Flinders Street, Melbourne. Frank Oliver is second from right holding a cigarette in his right hand.

Historical information

This photograph was taken at the Triennial Congress, Melbourne. Frank Leslie Oliver served as chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers Melbourne for 30 years from 1930 - 1960. He is in this photograph, second from right, with a cigarette in his hand. Also in this photograph, at the far right, is the Most Reverend F. Head, Archbishop of Melbourne.

Significance

Frank Leslie Oliver served as chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers Melbourne for 30 years from 1930 - 1960, including time served as chaplain with the Royal Australia Navy aboard HMAS Australia. He was a live-in chaplain and was supported by his entire family, including wife Moira, for whom a memorial window exists in the chapel.

Cutlery - Lot of six forks

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

3 dinner forks and 3 dessert forks

Historical information

Possible remnants of the dinner equipment used at mealtimes for seafarers at the Mission to Seafarers during the first half of the 20th C. and hosted and prepared by Ladies Harbour Light Guild members. Found early 21st C in a box of miscellaneous objects marked Ladies Harbour Lights.

Significance

See images in this collection depicting mealtimes hosted by the LHLG.

Inscriptions & Markings

On underside of handles of 3 large dinner forks stamped: "ALLBRITE N.S."

Quinn Letter - Letter

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Letter (0303.A1) written on light blue paper which also converts into an envelope.

Historical information

A letter written from Charles Quinn to his mother in 1945 depicting his time spent in Seattle and Vancouver.

Significance

This letter is of historical, social and interpretive significance as it provides information about the life of a seaman during the mid 20th century.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription on top right hand corner on the first page: "M.I. Goonawarra, Vancouver/B.C. Canada 5-11-45" Inscription on top left corner: "Give my love to all" followed by letter content. Inscription on back page: "S Quinn, 63 Ocean Beach, Manly N.S.W. Australia/Allan Quinn Goonawarra"

Photograph - Reverend comforting a seaman (seated)

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

medium sized rectangular b/w photograph in landscape format

Inscriptions & Markings

hand-written marking: "IL"

Vase

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

White painted ceramic vase on shallow circular foot with relief design of a stylised sailing ship on one side. Original colour appears to have been green.The foremost sail of the ship bears a cross

Historical information

TBC

Significance

One of the many decorative furnishings which date from the intense service periods of the Mission from the 1930s through to the 1960s.

Photograph - On the south wharf, Skaregrøm in the background

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Photograph - Mission Launch towing boat - Cup Day picnic 1928

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Photograph - Group of young men at the Mission

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Card - Thanks

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Card of thanks

Historical information

received in thanks for an address about the Mission to Seafarers, Vic.to the Probus Club Sandown in 2018

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten inscription inside card in black ink.

Object - Cross

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Photograph - SS Koolonga

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

small black and white photograph of steamship.

Historical information

HMAS Koolonga was a cargo ship built by Sunderland Shipbuilding Company, England, in 1914 and bought by McIlwraith, McEacharn Line Pty Ltd, Melbourne and named SS Koolonga. She was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy on 6 August 1914, as a collier and supply ship and commissioned as HMAS Koolonga. She participated during the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force occupation of German New Guinea until May 1915 when she was later returned to her owners. After being returned, she was employed on cargo trades from Whyalla, South Australia to Newcastle, New South Wales. She was sold in October 1917 through Scott Fell & Company, Newcastle to BHP Shipping and renamed Iron Monarch, before being sold again in 1920 to Interstate Steamships Ltd.

Significance

This ship linked to record VC 0747. The ship played a role in WW1

Photograph - Waterside Riots Port Melbourne Nov 1928

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Painting - Start Point Light, Devonshire.

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

This oil painting has a dark polished wood and gold leaf slip. The painting depicts two masted boats. The choppy sea takes up the lower-third of the painting, and the other two-thirds of the image of made up of stormy grey clouds. A rocky cliff face can be seen on the right-hand side of the painting. A small church can be seen on the hillside. The ship on the left third of the painting sits on the horizon line of the sea. The centre ship with two masts appears to be leaning to the right and its deck is exposed to the viewer showing four men attempting to handle the masts and rigging. The left-hand ship with three masts is surrounded by two grey distant silhouetted mast ships. There are three seagulls at the upper left-centre of the image. There are another three gulls down on the lower-left of the image.

Historical information

This painting was inspired by an original painting by W. Welby and depicts a famous Devonshire coastal region famous now for its lighthouse and the pick up point for the pilot when entering waters approaching Dartmouth. The sailing vessels pre-date the construction of the famous lighthouse. Over the centuries the view would have been familiar to many sailors as they left or approached the English mainland and south coast ports in the English Channel.

Significance

The donor of this highly regarded painting at the Mission , Miss Madeline R. Lewellin (1854-1944), the artist of this version was actively painting in Victoria between 1877 and 1910, was a silver medallist for studies of fungi. She liaised with Von Mueller and studied under Eugene Von Guerard at the National Gallery, School of Painting in 1879. Her works are represented in the State Library Victoria and a silver medal awarded in 1884 is held by Museum Victoria. Miss Lewellin, who had a love of the sea and ships as subject matter is the listed in 1918 as a working member of the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild which involved regular volunteer shifts at the Mission to Seamen on canteen and other duties. This painting represents a tangible link with one of the ladies who interfaced with the seafarers.

Inscriptions & Markings

Front: ENGRAVED PLAQUE: Start Point Light. Devonshire. SIGNATURE: After W. Melby / M.M.R Lewellin. 1875. Reverse: IN BLACK MARKER PEN: * Hang from two points * WHITE STICKER WITH CONSERVATOR DETAILS: Art Conservation Frames / 118 Bridport Street, Albert Park, VIC, 3206 / 9696 9066 / artconservationframers.com.au

Programme - Mapping Melbourne 2018

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Photograph

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

A black and white photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco Bay, dated 9-11-49.

Historical information

This photograph is part of series depicting Allan Quinn's travels through San Francisco in 1949. This photograph shows the Golden Gate Bride and the San Francisco Bay.

Significance

This is a photograph from the Allan Charles Quinn collection which is a collection of letters and photograph depicting aspects of life at sea for a young man in the era immediately following World War II.

Inscriptions & Markings

Reverse: 9-11-49 (handwritten in blue ink) / B /K8 (upside down, handwritten in pencil).

Photograph - St Peter the Mariner Chapel

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Black and white photograph with a white border, of the interior of Saint Peter the Mariner's Chapel. Central is the aisle with pews on either side. Midground and on the left side is the pulpit and an altar in the background.

Historical information

The Saint Peter the Mariner's Chapel opened in 1917. Funding came primarily from the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild.

Significance

St Peter the Mariner's Chapel is ..... by the relationship with the Anglican Church. Although

Brochure - Cook's "Endeavour" Bark

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Ornate paper and ink 3-page advertising brochure, in landscape orientation, from The Royal Geographical Society. The brochure is advertising the release of a commemorative framed silhouette print of the Bark 'Endeavour' in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Captain James Cook. Page 1 of the brochure consists of the Royal Geographical Society ensign at the top of the page and an introductory description of the commemoration, which is adorned above and below, with ink flourishes of curlicues and scrolls. Page 2 depicts an image of the framed silhouette print on offer. Page 3 contains 3 columns of text which briefly describe Captain Cook's travels, the work of the artist involved in producing the print and terms and conditions for ordering and purchase of the print.

Historical information

A brochure produced in 1978 by the Royal Geographical Society, offering "by private invitation only" the opportunity for interested parties to purchase a print of the Bark 'Endeavour', in 24 karat gold and silver, of a very limited production run. The print was offered at $270 in 1978 - at not insignificant sum.

Inscriptions & Markings

Page 1: 'To commemorate Captain James Cook's epochal voyages of discovery, on the 250th anniversary of his birth, the Royal Geographical Society presents'

Memorial Plaque - Florence Rule Memorial Plaque

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Small rectangular brass plaque mounted on wooden board.

Inscriptions & Markings

In appreciation of the interest and generosity of Miss Florence Rule February 1885.

Photograph - Dora Walker bride to be and Father , 1928

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Sepia toned photograph of bride and attendants in the courtyard of the Mission to Seafarers. The bride's dress is calf length and she has just stepped out of a large car assisted by her Father Mr Walker. The Bride is holding a large bouquet. There are two attendants or Bridesmaids to the right of the photograph, wearing layered calf length dresses, cloche hats and holding a small bouquet. Both are standing outside the Mission to Seamen on Flinders St waiting to assist the bride.

Historical information

This photograph shows one of the many weddings held at the Mission to Seafarers over the years and provides an overview of wedding fashion of the late 1920s. The bridesmaids were Ella Kendall and Molly Walker. In this image a horse and cart can be seen in the background on Flinders St and a Telegraph pole. Dora would continue association with the Mission and as president of the Flying angels in the 1960s-70s she would be awarded the MBE for services to Community presented by the State Governor of Victoria.

Significance

This photograph shows one of the many weddings performed at the Mission to Seafarers over the years. Cross referencing with the marriage registers, also held in the collection, reveals that this photograph is Amy Dora Walker (known as Dora) of East Malvern marrying Harold Priestley Simpson of Surrey Hills / Mornington on 14 February 1928. Dora's son David Simpson, a former architect still volunteers for the Mission in 2018. Dora is listed on the Women of achievement listing.

Inscriptions & Markings

small circular Blue ink stamp on rear of photograph: PRINTED BY HARRINGTONS. numerals stamped on the back 3 and 8

Photograph - Seamen crew at wharf

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Small monochrome photograph depicting small crew of seamen on vessel docked, with wharf in background

Object - Dinner PLate

Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands

Simple white glazed ironstone dinner plate

Significance

Representative of ubiquitous dinner plates used at MTSV