[HMAT A69 Warilda]

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Newcastle
Accession Number ART96861
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 35.4 x 48.8 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on board
Maker Urane, Louisa
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle
Date made c.1919
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

This painting was one of two of the First World War troopships HMAT A69 Warilda and HMAT A67 Orsova painted by the artist for her brother-in-law Private David Urane following his return to Australia in 1919. According to the Urane family, they were a wedding gift to David and his wife Florance. Both paintings were hung by David in his home in Newcastle for the term of his life.

David Urane (b.1891 Junee, NSW) was single and working in Sydney as a labourer prior to enlisting on 23 July 1915 aged 24. He joined the 1st battalion, 10th reinforcements and embarked with his unit from Sydney on board HMAT A69 Warilda on 8 October 1915. He served with the 53rd Battalion. Urane was wounded at Fromelles in July 1916 (GSW to left leg) and then again during the August 1918 offensive (GSW to face and right thigh). He returned on the HMAT Orsova arriving back in Australia on 3 March 1919. Urane was discharged as medically unfit on 25 April 1919 from the Concord Repatriation Hospital.

Travel by troopship had been of necessity a significant aspect of the Australian experience of war. During the FWW Australian troops spent on average up to 3 months at sea each way and it was a time when many men adjusted to military life and created friendships with those they were to serve alongside. Troopships generated their own popular literature in the form of troopship journals and were subjects for postcards. The popularity of troopship journals and postcards attest to the significance these journeys to the soldiers. Products of popular culture, these journals and postcards were ‘treasured mementos’ sent home to families and relatives and today they offer insights into the lived experience of the essentially anonymous men of the AIF