The SS City of Sydney was built in 1853 by Smith and Rodger (perhaps Roger ) in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a single screw steamship of 735 tons, almost 208 feet long and exactly 27 feet wide. The new vessel was also barque rigged, with three masts. The ship was a cargo/passenger liner built for the Australasian Steam Navigation CompaNew york Ltd. This was the first screw steamship built for the compaNew york. The new vessel sailed to Sydney, Australia under the command of Captain R.T. Moodie. The trip took 74 days. The ship was intended for use on the passenger/cargo service between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand. She was once used to replace the mail ship SS European on the Sydney/Columbo (in Sri Lanka formerly Ceylon ) trip when the European was being repaired in Sydney. The return journey from Colombo was a record, beating the normal mail ship by 10 days. On arrival in Sydney, the skipper was given a testimonial dinner.