Sinking of the Southland

Accession Number ART09829
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 96.5 x 127.2 cm; Unframed: 71.4 cm x 102.2 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas (linen)
Maker Leist, Fred
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 1927
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts the sinking of the HMT Southland in the Aegean Sea, with the soldiers from 2nd Australian Division taking to and waiting for lifeboats or jumping overboard. Part of deck of the SS Southland is visible with a ship's boat hanging from davit and crew attempting to launch the boat.
HMT Southland was a transport ship conveying men of 2nd Division AIF from Egypt to Gallipoli when it was torpedoed by the German submarine UB14 30 miles from Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. The ship did not sink and all but 40 of 1400 men took to lifeboats and were picked up by other transports. The remaining men and ship's crew managed to get to the ships later the same day, 2 September 1915.
Frederick Leist was a painter, illustrator and teacher. He studied at the Sydney Art School and the Art School of New South Wales from c.1894-95. During the 1890s he worked as an illustrator for the 'Bulletin' and 'Sydney Mail' and trained as a furniture designer with the David Jones department store. In 1908 he went to England and became an artist with the London 'Graphic' while exhibiting his art work at the Royal Academy in 1911. He worked for the British War Office between 1915 and 1916 and worked for His Majesty's Stationary Office designing posters for First World War recruitment. Leist was appointed an official war artist in September 1917, attached to the 5th Division AIF and worked twice in France between September to December 1917 and from June to August 1918. His commission was terminated in 1920.