B2256-3 Half-ship model, PS 'Illawarra', wood, made by J. Wigham Richardson & Co, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, 1878
Sea and river transport provided the most effective means of travel for people and cargo along the South Coast of New South Wales up until the early 20th Century. At this time, roads were either non-existent or extremely poor in quality and vehicles were scarce. This meant that the only affordable and available means of commuting was either by horse or foot.
This shipbuilder's model of the PS 'Illawarra' is therefore representative of the type of vessel that provided a means for travel along the south coast of New South Wales from 1878-1908. The 'Illawarra' plied the waters of the Shoalhaven, as well as regularly visiting Nowra after the Bomaderry Rocks were removed in 1903, transporting both passengers and goods. The 'Illawarra' characterised a unique design in the context of other south coast vessels in that she had two decks, two masts, was rigged as a schooner and was powered by two compound oscillating engines. These engines were made by R. W. Hawthorn & Co in Newcastle and were fitted after the vessel arrived in Australia.
Models such as this one would have been made for shipbuilders to assist in their full-scale construction, helping to provide the builder with an idea of the vessel's fittings, riggings and sail plans, as well has helping to show the ratio of length to beam, the fining of her entry, stern and so on. This particular model also acts as a legacy of the full-scale version which no longer survives. The PS 'Illawarra' was broken up in 1911.
Parsons, R., "Steamships to the Illawarra" (Goolwa, 1991)