Built for Shaw Savill and Albion Line by Workman Clark, Belfast. She was a 6488 ton steam passenger-cargo vessel launched on 15 January 1904. Her principle usage was on the UK to Australia service.
Fortune did not favour her as she suffered damage to her stern before making her maiden voyage and after repair set out for her first trip, only to have her propeller shaft break and her rudder jam. It later transpired that her earlier stern damage, caused by a third party, was the cause of the maiden voyage mishap and damages were awarded to Shaw Savill.
In 1916, while berthed at Montreal, she suffered severe damage due to a fire and it was felt necessary to scuttle her in order to extinguish the flames. Her master was lost in the fire while attempting to save the ship papers and other documents. She was later raised and after repair sailed for the UK only to suffer more damage when she ran aground on Newfoundland.
Her misfortunes continued in 1924 when she was in collision in the River Thames with the United States Lines ship American Merchant.
In 1929 she was sold to Arnold Bernstein and renamed Ilsenstein and used solely as a cargo merchant. Four years later she was converted with a view to becoming a passenger liner with accommodation for almost 200 tourist class.
In 1938, without name change, she was transferred to Red Star Line but the following year, after Red Star Line was bought out by Holland-America Line, she was sold for scrap.
On the outbreak of war the country’s priorities had changed and she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and sunk as a blockship at Scapa Flow to help protect the British fleet using the anchorage.
In 1951 she was broken up where she lay.
This postcard was sent in 1905 so Matatua was a new ship at the time. Her funnel was certainly an impressive feature.
Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith