Aspects of the steamship Ventura

The Ventura was a vessel in the fleet of Oceanic Steamship Company of San Francisco. Founded in 1881 by John D. Spreckels & Brothers, the Oceanic Steamship Company ran services from the USA to Hawaii, and later to Australia and New Zealand.  The Ventura was built by William Cramp, Philadelphia in 1900. She was a 6,253 gross ton ship, with two funnels, twin screws, which could attain a maximum speed of 17 knots. She had accommodations for 240 1st-class passengers but also accommodated 2nd and 3rd-classes.

The Ventura commenced sailings between San Francisco, Honolulu, Auckland and Sydney in 1901 and continued this service until 1907 when she was laid up in San Francisco, due to the company’s financial problems. In 1912 she was reconditioned, converted from coal to oil fuel, and rebuilt with only one funnel. The Ventura resumed the San Francisco – Honolulu – Pago Pago – Sydney service until 1917 when she was taken over for military duties in the Atlantic. On June 5, 1919 she returned to the San Francisco – Honolulu – Sydney route.

Pago Pago Postcard US Naval Station.jpg

Sam’s collection of photographs contains several cards which he might have bought at the ports of call made by Oceanic Steamship Company’s Steamship Ventura. PagoPago, American Samoa, and Auckland, New Zealand were two of those ports. The card above is labeled: U.S. Naval Station Tutuila / Pago Pago.

New Discoveries_0122

Auckland Hospital Postcard.jpg

Map detailing Sam’s route to America in 1923: from Sydney NSW the Ventura sailed to Auckland, New Zealand and then on  to Pago-Pago, American Samoa (A); from thence she went to Hawaii, and ended her voyage in San Francisco.

In America, Sam changed his name once more: born Shlomo Ruven Bonar in Bessarabia, Sam had gone by both Samuel Barnhardt and Samuel Banarsky during his 13 years in Australia. Now he would revert to his grandfather’s surname, Bonar, that is, ‘Bean Farmer’. By coincidence, the name Bonar flourished in Australia albeit in its Medieval French context meaning ‘Good Composure’. The latter version was used both as a given name and as a surname. There is even a Bonar Road in Maitland, not far from Cultivation Road where Sam had his land in New South Wales.

Moving to Los Angeles, Sam worked in a variety of businesses. Egg dealer, clerk, and peddler of fruit & produce are three that are documented in official LA County records.



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