ARAWA was built for Shaw, Saville & Albion by Wm. Denny of Dumbarton in 1884. She was a 5,026 gross ton vessel, with clipper stem, two funnels and four masts, length 439.6 ft x beam 46.3 ft, single screw and a speed of 13 knots. To reduce fuel consumption on the UK - Australia run, she was rigged for sails, being square rigged on the fore and mainmasts and fore and aft rigged on the other two.
As originally built, she carried 95 First Class, 52 Second Class and 200 emigrants. She could also accommodate a further 470 emigrants in a cargo tween deck with portable bulkheads. She commenced service London - Australia - New Zealand in 1884 and stayed in this service until 1893 when she was chartered to James Huddart and was put onto the Australia - Vancouver run.
In July 1895, she was taken over by the Union SS Co. of New Zealand and ran for one voyage between Australia and San Francisco.
Late in 1895, she was chartered to the Spanish government who renamed her COLON and used her as a transport in the Spanish American war.
Returned to her owners she was renamed ARAWA again and was put up for sale and purchased by Elder Dempster & Co. but immediately taken over by the British government and used as a transport in the Boer War.
Returned to her owners in 1900, she was put onto the Beaver Line service from Liverpool to Halifax and St John NB (commencing 10/3/1900) and renamed LAKE MEGANTIC. She underwent considerable change under Beaver Line ownership and was rebuilt with new boilers, mainmast and all yards and sailing rigging removed, new funnels and accommodation provided for 120 First, 180 Second and 700 Third Class passengers.
On 4/2/1903 she left Liverpool on her last voyage to St John NB. In 1904 there was a plan to use her as an exhibition ship, but this fell through and in 1905 she was transferred to Elder Dempster's Imperial Direct West India Mail Line and renamed PORT HENDERSON.
In 1912 she was sold to Italy and renamed ANAPO and in 1913 resold to other Italian buyers and renamed PORTO SAID. In December 1915 she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off Cyrenaica.
[J.H.Isherwood - Sea Breezes, May 1950]