The photographs are tiny, still in their original envelope, never mounted in an album. They show the moment of departure for a traveller on the seas, as recorded by friends and family. Crossing hemispheres and great oceans was not so common in the early twentieth century, and depicted here is a rite of passage, a severing as sure as that of the flimsy paper streamers linking the travellers to shore, which would break as the ship left the quay. The photos track the farewell, the camera following the ship as it steams through the harbour, only ceasing when it vanishes from view.
In this case the Ville de Strasbourg carried my father, Ronald Sussex, from Melbourne to the Northern Hemisphere. He was following a familiar sea-road for antipodeans seeking to further their careers in the Old World, though for him the destination was not London but somewhere more alien: Europe.
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