Launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 16th November 1898 as Yard Number 322, Afric was handed over to White Star on 2nd February 1899. She was the first of three sisters: Afric, Medic and Persic. These vessels were 550 feet long, 11,948grt, twin propeller vessels. As well as carrying 320 Cabin Class passengers, she could carry 15,000 tons of general cargo and had 240,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space for up to 100,000 carcasses of Australian meat.
Her shake-down voyage was to New York, but on her return was sent back to Belfast for major amendments. Finally, on 9th September 1899 Afric joined the Australian service. During the Boer War she was used several times to transport troops and horses to South Africa, on her journeys to Australia.
With the outbreak of the Great War, Afric was one of the first liners to be requisitioned, as HM Transport A19, and in October was in the first convoy to bring Australian and New Zealand troops to the war in Europe. In April 1915 Afric was converted at Sydney to carry over 500 troops and 500 horses. On 12th February 1917, en route from Liverpool to Plymouth then Sydney, she was torpedoed and sunk by UC66 off the Eddystone Lighthouse. Five were killed in the explosion and a further 17 drowned.