Member Bill Breaker of Mississauga has asked us about the steam canaller STRATHCONA. We are pleased to reply with a thumbnail sketch of the career of this ship, particularly since it involves the Mackays of Hamilton who have figured prominently in these pages of late and who are presently the subject of much historical research.
STRATHCONA (C.110354). Steel bulk carrier built 1900 at Dundee, Scotland. 249.0 x 41.9 x 21.0, 1881 Gross, 1465 Net. Registered at Hamilton while on Canadian registry. Built for the Hamilton and Fort William Navigation Co. Ltd. (W. Southam, president), an affiliate of the Hamilton Iron and Steel Co. Management taken over by R.O. and A.B. Mackay, Hamilton, 1903. In June 1907, an affiliated company known as Strathcona Ltd. was incorporated (capital $40,000) to operate this ship. In May 1908, the Mackays formed the Inland Navigation Co. Ltd., Hamilton, and DONNACONA (I) and STRATHCONA of the Hamilton and Fort William Nav. Co. Ltd. were amongst the vessels taken over by the new firm. At this time, R.O. Mackay retired from active participation and A.B. Mackay did likewise in 1910 when control of Inland was taken over by James Playfair, Midland. Company reorganized 1910 as Inland Lines Ltd.
STRATHCONA converted to package freighter at Collingwood 1911. Ownership passed 1913 to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. Requisitioned 1915 for wartime service and taken to salt water. Captured by German U-boat and sunk by bombing off Ronaldshay, April 13, 1917. with loss of nine lives.
We probably do not know when to leave well enough alone as far as the Mackays are concerned, so since Michel Vezina of Beauport, Quebec, has asked us about their canaller DUNELM, we'll jump in again with all four feet.
DUNELM (C.132069). Steel package freighter built 1907 at Sunderland, England. 250.0 x 43.2 x 23.5, 2319 Gross. Built for Dunelm Ltd., a company incorporated in November 1907 by R.O. and A.B. Mackay, Hamilton, who managed operation of DUNELM. Consolidated May 1908 into Inland Navigation Co. Ltd., Hamilton, (A.B. Mackay, manager) and to Inland Lines Ltd. 1910 after control gained by James Playfair. Absorbed into Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, 1913. Requisitioned 1915 for wartime service and taken to salt water. Lost at sea in October 1915.
Bill Breaker also asked about the Chicago fireboat JOSEPH MEDILL and, in particular, whether this is the same boat as the electrically propelled steamer which served the city of Chicago for so many years. The answer is no. The original JOSEPH MEDILL was 104 feet long, built at Manitowoc in 1908 and scrapped at the same location in 1947. The present JOSEPH MEDILL is a more modern diesel tug, one of three sister vessels, and is only 92 feet in length. She was built in 1950 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.