McIlwraith McEacharn Limited

 “McIlwraiths” (also known as the Scottish company) was formed in 1875, initially for Australia/Pacific – United Kingdom trade, especially in frozen meat. Early in the 20th Century it commenced Australian coastal trading.

During the Great War, its ship Karoola ( 7391 gt) was requisitioned in 1915 for hospital ship duties, although for her first year she served as a troopship, designated A63. Katoomba served under requisition as a troopship and returnee prisoner-of-war carrier from May 1918 to September 1919.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the company’s fleet comprised ten ships, all operating on the Australian coast:



Gross Tons

In Service

Kooyong 1907 2296 1907-1946
Koonda 1910 1831 1910-1946
Katoomba 1913 8424 1913-1946
Kooliga 1928 2495 1928-1953
Koomilya 1929 2780 1929-1955
Hetton Bank 1924 1375 1934-1961
Pelton Bank 1924 1371 1934-1968
Kanimbla 1936 10985 1936-1961
Mortlake Bank 1924 1375 1937-1968
Kooringa 1938 3292 1938-1958

Requisitioned in August 1939, Kanimbla was first converted to the role of Armed Merchant Cruise, re-converted in April 1943 as a Landing Ship, Infantry and later operated as a troopship carrying personnel, ultimately back to Australia, including released prisoners-of war. Katoomba, despite crossing paths with and being fired upon by a submarine in August 1942, was able to see out its service until 1946.