Visitors' Book for Nautical School Ship "Vernon" (1886-1892) and "Sobraon" (1892-1910) is a visitors book for the Nautical School Ship 'Vernon' and its replacement the 'Sobraon'. The book records the date of visit, name of visitor, and any remarks made by the visitor.
The "Vernon" and "Sobraon" were visited regularly, especially by the Minister of Public Instruction who usually accompanied a "party" of guests. Included in the dignitaries who visited the ships were the Premiers and later Prime Ministers George Reid and Edmund Barton, Governors and Governor-Generals, visiting British and Russian generals, 'the Indian troops' present for the Federation celebrations, and the Chinese Commissioner (this entry is in both English and non-English). The ships were visited by numerous football teams including the New Zealand football teams of 1897 and 1909 (the latter entry is signed "All Blacks"), the British football team of 1908, the Queensland football team of 1909, and the South Melbourne football team.
Most comments are favourable and praise the discipline and cleanliness of the boys and the excellent management and leadership of staff. If there were a group of visitors, then one or two comments would usually cover the entire group.
It is likely the visitors' book was not used beyond its last entry of 15 November 1910 because the scheme was coming to an end.
There is an inscription on the first page by Reginald Roy Liston who presented the volume to the Royal Australian Historical Society in 1975. Loose inside the back cover are pages 25-28 of the Daily Mirror newspaper dated 15 April 1964 containing an article describing the history of the "Sobraon". There is also correspondence sent after visitations attached to the relevant page of the visitors book.
This estray was returned to the custody of State Records in 2003. Originally the Shipping Master, Captain W.H. Mason, gave the visitors book to Reginald Roy Liston in 1911. Mason succeeded Captain F.W. Neitensen as head of the Nautical School Ship in 1895 and was a personal friend of Reginald Liston. On 2 July 1975, Reginald Liston donated the book to the Royal Australian Historical Society and it was subsequently returned to the custody of State Records on 3 July 2003.
Prepared by: Nicola Laurent
Created: 26 November 2015, Last modified: 9 July 2020