[HMAT A67 Orsova]

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Newcastle
Accession Number ART96862
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 35.2 x 49 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.

Private Urane was wounded twice – first at the battle of Fromelles in 1916 and then again in 1918. Despite being one of the lucky ones to return, according to his family, he was badly affected by his service. It can be argued that the fact that he kept these paintings on public display in his home throughout his life points to their significance to him as mementos of his service. This indicates that for many ordinary Australian servicemen the voyage to and from Europe was an important aspect of their service and one that they wanted to remember and talk about to family and friends.

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.