Digitised @SLQ - Autograph book from the S.S. Karmala

Corporal Eames' autograph book

Corporal Eames' autograph book

After the Armistice in 1918, many ships sailed back and forth from England to Australia, bringing the troops home. One such ship was the S.S. Karmala, which left Avonmouth near Bristol, England on the 2nd January 1919 and arrivied in Moreton Bay, Brisbane on 25th February 1919.

'The Digger' by K.F. Maclay

'The Digger' by K.F. Maclay

Recently digitised at State Library is an autograph book belonging to a Corporal Allen Eames, who journeyed back to Australia on the Karmala, and filled the book with signatures and mementos collected from comrades and strangers he met on the voyage. The book contains sketches rhymes and poems to sweethearts dated 1918 and 1919.

'You ask me for something original' - autograph

'You ask me for something original' - autograph

The book had been sent to Corporal Eames by one of his relatives, a  Miss A. W. McKenna from Morpeth, Northumberland, prior to his departure so he could collect autographs on the voyage home. The heartfelt rhymes and delightful sketches provide a window into the spirits of the passengers during their journey.

'A Digger's dream'

'A Digger's dream'

In a disappointing but temporary setback, the S.S. Karmala had to be quarantined once it arrived in Brisbane. Although the troops were within sight of their destination they were confined aboard ship until it was declared clear of pneumonic influenza. See the article here. The career of the Karmala can be found here. You can view the entire digitised autograph book in the State Library's One Search catalogue here.

Newly digitised content can be found throughout this blog by looking for digitisation tags and Digitised@SLQ headings. More content is available through State Library’s catalogue One Search.

Janette Garrad - Original Content Technician, State Library of Queensland

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