Ballarat (1) was built for P&O by Caird & Co., Greenock, and launched on 23 September 1911. Twin screws powered by two quadruple-expansion steam engines. Accommodation for 302 passengers in a permanent 'one class' and a further 750 in temporary quarters. Operated on the Branch Line immigrant service to Australia.
Employed for transport duties in the First World War, initially to India and later Australia. On 19 February 1917 HMAT A70 Ballarat sailed from Melbourne on her fourth transport voyage from Australia with troops, Unit 15 of the Australian Railway Operating Division and members of the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC). The cargo included copper, bullion and antimony ore. The ship was torpedoed by UB 32 in the English Channel on the final day (ANZAC day) of the 13,000 mile voyage. The Ballarat eventually sank but amazingly not a single life was lost and the entire ship’s company of 1,752 souls were landed safely.
|Dimensions||152.4 x 19.1 m (500.1 x 62.8 ft)|
|Fate||Torpedoed (UB 32)|
The wreck lies with a list to port and is relatively simple to navigate, with significant sections still easily recognisable. The bow is intact but broken away at the forecastle where the wreck flattens to the seabed, yielding visible evidence of salvage activities. A significant amount of teak decking remains, which leads to an area of collapsed upper decks and exposed engine cylinder heads. P&O crockery and other interesting artefacts are often found in the midst of scattered wreckage.