Shaw Savill Line - QSMV Dominion Monarch
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that my sites have never been associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author commenced working in the Passenger Shipping Industry back in 1960 but is now very much retired and I hope that the well over 625 articles on classic liners and cruise ships that I have written will continue to inform and also bring much joy to ship enthusiasts for many more years to come!
Shaw Savill Line
QSMV Dominion Monarch
The Luxurious QSMV Dominion Monarch is seen in Sydney Australia
Page One – The Ships History
Please Note: All Photographs and images on this QSMV Dominion Monarch feature are from the author’s private collection, unless noted otherwise!
At the time of her building, the QSMV (Quadruple Screw Motor Vessel) Dominion Monarch was the most powerful motor liner of her kind in the world and certainly the largest ship operating full time on the Australasian trade. Shaw Savill already had a great deal of experience in operating an all first class only passenger service and they were able to assure their passengers a voyage that would be the ultimate in luxury and in surroundings of style and elegance. The 27,155-ton Dominion Monarch accommodated just 525 passengers, and this combined with her crew of 385, her passenger ratio offered a service that is unequalled to this day.
A 1938 Swan, Hunter & Wigan Richardson advertisement re the building of the Dominion Monarch
Some time back I
received an interesting email from Jo Garrett, who’s Father Eddie had
worked for over thirty years at the famed Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson
shipyards and he was involved in the building of this great liner as well as
many other ships. The images presented below originate from a commemorative
book that was released and distributed amongst the staff and workers at the
yard and it contains some the best possible information and many an image
library of the ship, which is the best I have ever seen. These include the
lounges and all areas, but they were all taken prior to her entering service.
This book and a number of other items that were kindly sent, including some
original drawings by Mr. Eddy Garret, being a cabinet designer and designed the
captains and other cabins, etc. These are now part of the
The keel was laid in one of Swan Hunter’s glassed roofed West Yards on July 14, 1937
By October 15 the
By October 15 thehull was more than half framed
At the top we see a funnel being constructed
and bottom right the forward funnel lifted into place.
At the top we see a funnel being constructed and bottom right the forward funnel lifted into place.
Bottom right we see the forward well deck being completed
was named and launched at 3.30 p.m., on July 27, 1938, by Lady Essendon, the
wife of the Chairman of Furness Withy and Company Ltd. QSMV Dominion
Monarch was the largest ship built on the Tyne since the
Here we see the launching party: From left to right. Mr & Mrs J Macmillan MD of Shaw Savill, Lord Essendon Chairman Shaw Savill,
Mr. J. Denham Christie, Lady Essendon and Mr. C. S. Swan Chairman of Swan Hunter
The “Dom” finally slips into the water!
After launching, Dominion is moved to her
“Fit Out berth”
After launching, Dominion is moved to her “Fit Out berth”
She was an unusual ship as her design was that of a large passenger-cargo liner, with a relatively small passenger complement considering her large size. To this day, Dominion Monarch remains the largest (all first class) cargo passenger liner ever built. Many larger, faster passenger liners would later operate on the Australasian service, however, with the eventual demise of the Dominion Monarch, the era of deluxe traditional sea travel ended. She departed from the Australasian and New Zealand waters in 1962 being a victim of larger passenger liners carrying greater passenger numbers in multiple or as became more popular in a One-Class configuration, and the newer ships were more economical to operate as well as having a far greater passenger complement.
The Dominion Monarch had six holds, three forward and three aft all being operated by the standard kingposts and derricks. Her cargo capacity was as follows; Insulated cargo was a good 511.000 cubic ft, including 72,240 cubic ft for chilled cargo. General cargo had space of 162,000 cubic ft, thus a grand total of 673,000 cubic ft.
Hunter and Wigham Richardson,
Launched: July 27, 1938 by Lady Essendon.
Completed: January 30, 1939.
Port of registry:
Maiden Voyage: February 17, 1939.
Tonnage: 27,155 tons.
Length: 207.8m - 682ft.
Beam: 26.2m - 84ft.6 inches.
Upper Decks width: 26.40m - 86.6ft.
Draught: 10.36m - 34 feet.
Propulsion: 4 Doxford 5 cylinder opposed-piston Diesel engines.
Service speed: 1-5 knots service speed, 21.5 top speed.
Capacity: 1939–40. 525 1st class passengers.
. 1940–47. 3,556 troops.
. 1948–62: 508 1st class passengers.
Passenger decks: 6.
Livery: Black hull, white superstructure, buff and black funnels and Red boot topping.
Holds 6 with a total of 673 cubic ft of space inclusive.
The Dominion Monarch was completed late in January 1939, she completed her sea trials off St Abbs Head, after which she was delivered to Shaw Savill Line and she was manned, stored up and made ready for her duties. She would soon be ready to receive her first passengers who would experience the ultimate voyage on what was indeed one of the finest and grandest ships on the service!
February 17, 1939 she departed
The Dominion Monarch is seen departing on her maiden Voyage
very first port of call would be
where her Australian and
Dominion Monarch seen off Tenerife on February 21
during her maiden voyage
April 25, she departed from
postcard of the Dominion Monarch arriving at
The grand lady is seen here at sea
Dominion Monarch’s Accommodation was certainly on a grand lavish scale for her 525 First Class passengers. She offered an amazing 160 single bedded cabins, and 182 multiple berth cabins, including two deluxe suites, having a double bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, with a lobby and many cabins had private facilities. Passengers had the use of six decks - Games Deck – Lounge Deck – Promenade Deck & A - B & C Decks.
The public rooms
consisted of the delightful
However, we must not forget the important role of C Deck for it was there were passengers would come aboard and enter into a magnificent lobby that just had to be seen, for it had so much more than just a stairwell and a lift, no certainly not, for it was more of small lounge in appearance. In addition on the starboard side there was a shop and the ships hairdresser, but on the portside there was a delightful cocktail bar and that was something not found on passenger liners in those days! Beautiful doors heading aft led into the grand 300 seat Restaurant that had a high dome amidships rising up into B Deck.
The spacious Main Lounge and most other public Rooms were on Lounge Deck
The classic Smoke Room
Dine in style in the fully air-conditioned Restaurant on C Deck
Ships Pool and looking up to the wonderful Verandah up on Lounge the Deck above
The pool was 24ft x 16ft and directly aft of the pool was the Gym
The Doxford Diesels is what made the ship tick like clockwork!
Please Note: Page Two with a comprehensive range of photographs of all the ships Public venues is now online
These photographs were taken prior her Sea Trails - The Link is be located on the INDEX at the bottom of the page
A sad looking and a well-armed ship, as the gun placements are clearly visible topside, during those sad days
During her second
Dominion Monarch bellboy, John Carver is seen on the right
Provided by John Carver
She was despatched
Dominion Monarch the trooper seen in Wellington New
Alexander Turnbull Library,
did not have the pleasure of voyaging on this superb liner, the Dominion
Monarch in it's heyday, but I did sail on her whilst she was a troopship. We
embarked at Liverpool and sailed to
or most of us travelled to
In January 23,
1946 the Dominion Monarch arrived in Wellington New
Dominion Monarch arrives in
Alexander Turnbull Library,
between Europe, and the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand on a regular
basis, then troopship Dominion Monarch’s final voyages took place between
April and June 1947 as she departed
But I do know that
by July she was in
Joseph and his nephew boarded the Dominion Monarch in
Above: My Father Joseph Buttigieg is standing on the right, with his
nephew Frank Saliba, who travelled with, is seen him in the middle. The
gentleman on the left is unknown. Behind
them is the Dominion Monarch seen in
On the back of the photo above is this message in Italian to Mrs. Buttigieg from Joseph (can anyone translate it please?)
Provided by Gerald
Dominion Monarch looking her grand self, departing
A superb study of a great liner
Photographer unknown - See special photo notes at bottom of page
Dominion Monarch was returned to Shaw Savill in 1948, after a refit she recommenced her regular duties. On many occasions, whilst Dominion Monarch was in Wellington New Zealand during the early sixties, the youthful author, employed in the shipping industry as an office boy, spent a great deal of time on this fine liner, enjoying the beauty of her classic appointments. I recall the joyful departures with the brass band playing and colourful streamers thrown by passengers leaning over the rails saying goodbye to their loved ones on the quay.
A rare encounter, Dominion Monarch and the Southern Cross
berthed side by side in Wellington New
The John Kelk Story.
actually had Bellboys and John Kelk was one of these. One of his main duties on
the liner whilst she was at sea was to open the door to let passengers into the
dining room at meal times, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then after each meal he
and the other Bellboys would have to sweep up all the spills in the dinning room.
John was located, he told me on the portside door together with a lad by the
name of Peter. Whilst, one of the other boy’s named Cato was on the
starboard door. John recalls that the best job he had whilst on board was when
they were in
John boarded her on 26 February 26 and completed his duties on June 21 1958. The master of the ship was Captain K .D. G. Fisher. As John states “It’s a time I will never forget.”
This photograph of John was taken on May 20, 1958
Photograph provided by John Kelk
Sadly, during the mid sixties the Australasian luxury passenger market was rapidly declining. And all too often, she would depart with a small complement of passengers, therefore the time came when Shaw Savill decided that their grand and much loved liner had sadly become too uneconomic and it was with great sadness the decision was made to place her on the market.
Arriving at Circular Quay
A popular illustration
Then on June 27, 1961 Vickers-Armstrong launched the ship that would replace the Dominion Monarch?, being the 24,731 GRT SS Northern Star. However, the still magnificent QSMV Dominion Monarch departed London December 30, 1961 for her very last ever voyage to Australia and New Zealand sailing via Durban South Africa. There was no doubt, that each of her farewell departures from New Zealand and the Australasian and South African ports were all sad occasions for past passengers as well as ship lovers. But during her return voyage it was in February 1962 that she was sold to Mitsui for £400,000.
Dominion Monarch is seen here in Lyttelton (
Dominion Monarch is seen here in Lyttelton (
Photographer unknown – See Photo Notes at the bottom of the page!
I was dockside as
this great liner, a ship that I had been on board several times, finally
departed Wellington for her last voyage homeward, and she looked as majestic
and grand as ever. Lasting memories for me were her three long blasts on
her horn and her sailing majestically out of
we see the Dominion Monarch depart Wellington New
It was a sad moment not only for me, but also for the thousands that lined the docks to see her go!
She returned to
Her new owners
leased the Dominion Monarch out as a floating Hotel and Entertainment Centre
for Seattle's Century 21 Exposition from June to November 1962 Mitsui. She
With her name changed to Dominion Monarch Maru
see is seen here in
demand for accommodation at the Exhibition seemed to be far less than had been
predicted, and thus her American charterer lost a US$200,000 on her and they
concluded her charter several weeks earlier. The Exhibition closed on October
21, and sadly on November 25, 1962 the still beautiful ex QSMV Dominion
Monarch, now named MV “Dominion Monarch Maru,” arrived at
The MV Dominion Monarch Maru is seen heading for the breakers
Dominion Monarch had a dignified 23-year career, even though this is a short life compared to most some other liners, she remains one of the most impressive and luxurious of all First Class Passenger-Cargo Liner ever to be built! In addition, she was a one of a kind, as she was so grand and a graceful liner the kind that will never grace the Seven Seas ever again!
The magnificent Dominion Monarch preparing for
:……..QSMV Dominion Monarch’s History Page.
:……..Interior Photo Page from the Builder.
Page Three:…..Memorabilia Page.
Page Four:……..Ship layouts dated February 1939.
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