Sistership Pommern 1924 as USS Rappahannock]]
after 1914: Boorara
after 1926: Nereus
|Route:||Bremerhaven - Capetown - Australia|
|Launched:||8 November 1913|
|Completed:||19 December 1913|
|Class and type:||Rheinland - Class|
|Tonnage:||6557 GT (gross tonnage)|
|Installed power:||expansion steam machine|
The Pfalz was a 6,557-ton steamer operated by German shipping company Norddeutscher Lloyd. The ship became the target of the first shot fired by Australian forces in World War I, soon after departing the Port of Melbourne in Australia.
The ship departed Victoria Dock in Melbourne on 5 August 1914, with Williamstown-based pilot Captain Robinson aboard. As the ship passed Portsea it was momentarily stopped by the SS Alvina but allowed to proceed.
Just before the ship approached Port Phillip heads, the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery stationed at Fort Nepean was informed of the declaration of war with Germany, and had received an order to "stop her or sink her". Signals were hoisted, commanding the ship to halt. As the warning had no effect, a shot was fired across the bow of the ship from one of the fort's six-inch Mark VII guns. These were the first Allied shots of the war. The same gunnery sergeant who fired on the Pfalz also fired the opening shot for the Allies in the Second World War.
The pilot convinced the ship's master that a second round would likely be directed at the ship itself, and the ship was turned around. The ship was taken back to Portsea where the crew was placed under arrest. 
The ship was subsequently requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy and refitted as a troop transport at Williamstown. It was rechristened HMT Boorara. Soon after it took part in the 2nd Australian convoy, with subsequent duties including the transportation of Turkish prisoners from the Dardanelles.
Later in the war, the ship was torpedoed twice in the English Channel. The first time, on 20 March 1918, the ship was stuck near Beachy Head and was towed to Newcastle for extensive repairs. The second time it was struck near Whitby on 23 July 1918 and was again repaired and, in 1919, was utilised for repatriation of Australian troops.
- "Norddeutsche Lloyd (NDL)". http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/NDL2.html. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Point Nepean Forts Conservation Management Plan". http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources07/07_1710.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Historic barrels fire up memories of battles past". The Age. 2004-08-04. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/08/03/1091476490096.html?from=storylh. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Coastal Defences of Colonial Victoria". http://users.netconnect.com.au/~ianmac/coastal.html. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- Cavangah, Tony. "Information on the German vessel SS Pfalz". http://www.defence.gov.au/sydneyii/CORR/CORR.012.0357_R.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- "Australian Commonwealth Government Line Of Steamers". Flotilla Australia. http://www.flotilla-australia.com/acl.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-08.