Jacobus Sulsters has built and donated a 1:100 scale model of the hospital ship Oranje to the Bundaberg RSL sub-branch.
Jacobus Sulsters has built and donated a 1:100 scale model of the hospital ship Oranje to the Bundaberg RSL sub-branch. Max Fleet

Hospital ship model made by man who worked on original

A SCALE model of the Second World War hospital ship Oranje that represented many house of work by local man Jacobus Sulsters has been donated to the Bundaberg RSL.

The 1:100 scale model was completed in 2010 and donated to the RSL along with a sturdy moveable case and a statistical drawing.

Bundaberg RSL sub-branch president Paul Tramacchi said it had been their lucky day when he and fellow veteran Tom McLucas were invited to view the magnificent scale model of the Oranje.

He said the ship's rich Anzac history had been enhanced by the model by Mr Sulsters, who worked as a shipwright during the Oranje's construction just before the Second World War.

Mr Tramacchi said the model would now occupy pride of place in the foyer of the RSL's Quay St. premises.

"An added bonus is Jack's gift of, not only the historical Oranje, but also a 2.1m model of a Spitfire which is being painted in the Grey Nurse Squadron colours made famous by Ted Sly during the Battle for the Pacific during the Second World War," he said.

The modern 20,166-tonne liner Oranje was completed in early 1939 for the Nederland Line, and began its maiden voyage to Batavia in September of the same year.

The outbreak of war between the Netherlands and Nazi Germany found the Oranje at Surabaya, where it remained for over a year.

In early 1941, the ship was offered to the Australian and New Zealand governments as a hospital ship.

The Oranje was the largest hospital ship operated from Australia.

It served for five years in several theatres of the Second World War, including in the Middle East, Indian and Pacific campaigns.

The Oranje completed 41 war voyages, covering more than 382,000 nautical miles and carrying 32,461 patients.

The Oranje could reach 26 knots, and was at the time the fastest hospital ship in the world.

After the war ended it was used to repatriate many Dutch internees to the Netherlands, then returned to her life as a passenger ship.

In 1964 the ship was sold to the Italian company Flotta Lauro and renamed the Angelina Lauro.

On March 30, 1979 it was hit by a fire and berthed at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

The ship sank, was raised by a salvage company and sold as scrap to Taiwanese ship breakers.

But on September 21, in the mid Pacific, the Angelina Lauro's fire-affected warped hull plates began to take on water, and it sank on September 24.



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