SS Suva detained with Smallpox 1943 - Woodman Point Quarantine Station

Go to content

Main menu:

SS Suva detained with Smallpox 1943

HISTORY > Wartime Smallpox
SUVA Anchor Memorial
W R Carpenter Line House Flag
The SS Suva was built in 1938 and was a familiar visitor to Australia post war with south bound timber cargoes from British Columbia and American west coast ports then loading for the Pacific islands north bound. SS Suva was of a standard design of British tramp of that era with main and shelter deck, two hatches forward of the bridge, one hatch between the split superstructure, and two hatches aft. Completed in November 1938, and most likely her registered owners were W. R. Carpenter Overseas Shipping Pty. Lt. Rabaul. Like her sisters, she was placed under the ownership of Pacific Shipowners. Suva. Fiji. in 1948. SS Suva was requisitioned by the Commonwealth in April 1943. She had the signal letters VQWQ and was painted in standard Carpenter colours of grey hull, and was involved in the carriage of war supplies from Australia to New Guinea and other Pacific islands.
Information courtesy of The Nautical Association of Australia and Mr. I. Steversen.
The Pacific trading vessel, SS Suva, arrived off the Western Australian coast on the 26th March 1943, while most of the 28 crew were developing varying degrees of smallpox. One crewman, Sakusa Veiwili, had died on the 19th March on the voyage to Fremantle, and was buried at sea, and the remainder of the crew were landed at Woodman Point on 26th March 1943. The most serious cases had been tended to by the 38 year old Chief Officer AD Waters (whose only vaccination against smallpox had been in his infancy) whilst on passage to Fremantle. He in turn contracted smallpox before arrival at Fremantle and he died of the disease at the Woodman Point Quarantine Station on 1st April 1943 (for information, due to wartime security, all records stated that all the crew members died from typhoid, but later confirmed smallpox). CO. A.D.Waters and the other deceased crewmen, namely, E.Builoto, R.Cigilau, S. Waledau, O.Tuqova, were all cremated and their ashes buried at the Quarantine Station Military Cemetery, located in the Woodman Point Regional Park.
The ashes of Chief Officer Arthur D. Waters were reinterred to the Karrakarra Cemetery in 1958.

Compiled by Earle Seubert
Back to content | Back to main menu