This compartment is the ship’s kitchen. All meals for the 160 crew were prepared here and distributed to the sailors’ messes, the officers’ Wardroom and the Captain. There was a team of four cooks, and the galley operated 24 hours a day. One of the sweetest times was 4 a.m. when the smell of freshly baked bread would waft around the bridge and the wheelhouse.
There’s a large oven on the left. This is where they baked bread and cooked maggot bags and tiddy oggies, otherwise known as pies and pasties.
The stove, against the back wall of the galley, wouldn’t stand much chance of passing current occupational health and safety guidelines. Fuelled by diesel, it was lit with a rolled up piece of paper soaked in diesoline and pushed through the lighting port. The rails around the stove were to stop pots from sliding off the stove in rough weather. To the right are a deep fryer and a steamer. Meals were eaten in the seamen’s mess, and it might have proved a little scary trying to navigate the ladders with a plate full of food.
Except for the main range, which was diesel fired, all cooking equipment was heated by steam from the boiler rooms below. When cooked, sailors or stewards would collect the food and take it to the eating areas in large tureens. The cafeteria style bain-marie dates from Diamantina’s second commission.
Note the absence of refrigeration and pantry in the galley. The freezer/cool room was located forward, below the lower seaman’s mess and the pantry was located aft in the tiller flat. This way, weight was kept as low as possible in the ship. Each morning the Leading Cook would write a list of food needed for the day and a work detail would bring it from the freezer or pantry.