Maritime Monday for April 9, 2012: It Took a Ship to Discover Australia, part 2: Ten Pound Poms

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 738
April 8, 2012


original: Orient Pacific Line Poster; Orient Steam Navigation(see below)

Maritime Monday for April 2, 2012:
It took a ship to discover Australia

– part 1 –


The Adamant and the Cospatrick, 1874

On Sunday 31st October 1874, from the Blackwell Dock in London, two sailing ships left within an hour or so of each other. The first to leave was the wooden hulled Cospatrick with 429 immigrants bound for Auckland, NZ, followed by the smaller steel hulled Adamant with 340 government assisted immigrants bound for Nelson.

The Cospatrick didn’t make it, becoming one of the sea’s most hideous tragedies.


Newspaper adverstisement: Adelaide almanac and directory for South Australia, 1882


Adelaide Steamship Company’s popular Gulf Trip
features the MV Moonta which operated from 1931 to 1955

The Gulf Trip was one of the most popular South Australian holiday tours for fifty years. Now, she is a landlocked casino ship and tourist attraction Casino Le Lydia in Le Barcarès, France.

The Adelaide Steamship Company was formed by a group of South Australian businessmen in 1875. Their aim was to control the transport of goods between Adelaide and Melbourne and profit from the need for an efficient and comfortable passenger service. For the first 100 years of its life, the main activities of the company were conventional shipping operations on the Australian coast, primary products, consumer cargoes and extensive passenger services. In 1964, the fleet merged with McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co, and the partnership developed the world’s first purpose built container ships.

Australian Commonwealth Line

imageOfficially named the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers, the company was formed in 1916 with fifteen second hand British tramp steamers which were used mainly to export Australian wheat and wool from Australia to Europe and the USA.

The company also operated 23 ex-German and Austrian ships which had been seized at the outbreak of war in 1914 including five sailing vessels. A quantity of wooden hulled cargo steamers were also purchased from the U.S.A. The majority of these ships were sold when they became uneconomical to run.

In 1923 the line was restructured as the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers but by late 1926, due to the slump in the shipping trade, the company was left with only the seven ships. By 1928 these also had been sold and the company was wound up.


MS Princess of Tasmania on the slipway of the NSW State Dockyard, Newcastle, just prior to launch

Australian National Line

M/S Princess of Tasmania was an Australian-built roll-on/roll-off RO/RO passenger ship for the Australian National Line. The vessel was laid down on 15 November 1957, and launched 15 December of 1958. Up to 334 passengers and 142 vehicles could be carried.  Maximum speed 17.75 knots. The ship was the first RO/RO passenger ship in the southern hemisphere, and at the time of launch, the largest vessel built in Australia.


A-O Line Ports of Call: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Thursday Island, Manila, and Hong Kong

A-O Line (Australian-Oriental Line)
on Timetable Images

Australian Oriental Line Ltd. 1912-1961, Sydney and Hong Kong: fleet history on The Ships List


The good ship Singkiang, (sister ship to the Soochow) sailing Hong Kong harbour;
operated by the Australian-Oriental Line out of Swire House in Sydney.

 Walking the streets of Camperdown the other day I came across a battered nine cents aerogramme (by air mail; par avion) of a featherweight kind I hadn’t seen for years.

It was postmarked 4.45 pm 6th January 1967, Brisbane, and it turned out to be letter from an Asian man to a woman with a distinctly British name living in 22 Brumby street, Surrey Hills. It turns out the man was a seaman on the merchant ship Soochow, and lived at Swire house, long gone from Spring street in Sydney.

The letter reveals he’d been on an eighteen day trip to Brisbane to drop off cargo and pick some up for the reverse trip, and would soon return to Sydney. It’s written in halting stumbling English – jumping from a denial of having any girlfriends in Brisbane to a declaration of love to a desire to give up smoking just like the woman – and it’s signed “from your lover”, with a Chinese signature, dated the 5th January 1967.

– keep reading on Loon Pond –

SS Australian; 1896-1906; Passenger cargo steamship built by Robert Napier Govan, Glasgow. 9 November 1906 wrecked Vashon Head, Coburg Peninsula Northern Territory Australia. No loss of life.

Australian Shipping Lines
on Flotilla Australia

aka: Eastern & Australian Mail Steam Co Ltd (18th April 1873-9th August 1880) Also traded as Eastern & Australian Steamship Co Ltd (10th August 1880) but most familiarly known as E & A Line


AUSN – Australasian United Steam Navigation Co. on The Ships List

Australian United Steam Navigation Company on Flotilla Australia

Queensland Steam Shipping Company

Formed 1881 – Registered in London under British India Steam Navigation Company. What started as an incentive from the then Queensland Premier for a satisfactory tender for the State’s Mail contract led to the creation of this entity. A fierce rate war ensued with the Australasian Steam Navigation Co., who otherwise enjoyed a monopoly on the East coast shipping trade. ASN Co then made an offer in 1886 to sell their fleet but not their land based holdings to QSS Co. QSS Co did not agree and the rate war continued. 1887 the QSS found agreement with the ASN and the two fleets combined under the new name of the Australasian United Steam Navigation Co (AUSN) The Company existed into the 1960s

photos and more on Flotilla Australia


Eastern and Australian Steamship Company

The Eastern and Australian Steamship Company was a link in the transport chain from Britain to Australia in the early 1900s.

Passengers booking with the Canadian Pacific Company would board one of their famous Empress steamers in a British port, sail in luxury across the Atlantic and up the St Lawrence to Quebec, then they would travel on the Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver, where they would board another Empress Liner taking them to Japan, the final link to Australia being provided by an Eastern and Australian Company Steamship.

The journey would take several weeks and be punctuated by stays in luxury hotels along the route.


Cruise Brochure for 1935 in French; postcard of Arandora Star in her cruising livery c1939


MV Sydney Star; Blue Star Line ships (more images)

Blue Star Line

imageUnited Kingdom

The Blue Star Line was owned by Vestey Brothers, Union Cold Storage Company and commenced operating their own ships in 1909, principally for the carriage of frozen produce initially from South America and China. Services to Australia and New Zealand were inaugurated in 1933. In 1952 Austasia Line was formed to operate services between Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

In 1957 Crusader Shipping Company formed in partnership with the New Zealand Shipping Company. Many Blue Star cargo ships had limited passenger accommodation.


postcard: Blue Star liner in Sydney Harbor


left: Australia. Lloyd Triestino, c1930s; Gino Boccasile (Italian, 1901-1952)
right: Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia, c1930s; J. Miller Marshall
Josef Lebovic Gallery


Centaur poster, c1943. ‘Work, save, fight and so avenge the nurses!’
poster by unknown artist. Collection of the Australian War Memorial


AHS Centaur following her conversion to hospital ship

The sinking of the Centaur

On May 14th, 1943, AHS Centaur, an Australia hospital ship sailed off the coast of Queensland towards Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. The ship had 332 medical personnel and crew on board. She was marked with large red crosses and sailed without military escort as per the Geneva Convention requirements. The vessel would not survive to see dawn. The Japanese submarine I-177, commanded by Hajime Nakagawa, torpedoed AHS Centaur in an early morning attack, taking 268 lives. Now, the discovery of her wreck on December 20th has resurfaced the sensitive issue between Australia and Japan.

The sinking of AHS Centaur violated international war law and is considered one of Australia’s worst wartime tragedies. Her demise turned the vessel into a martyr for Australians, confirming the brutality of the Japanese in the public’s mind.


Huddart Parker Limited

Est. 1876: Huddart Park (aka Huddart Parker) was not only a famous Australian interstate shipping company, but also the only one to maintain a passenger line to New Zealand.

right: House flag, Huddart Parker Ltd – National Maritime Museum

imageHuddart Parker Limited was an Australian shipping company trading in various forms between 1876 and 1961. It was one of the seven major coastal shippers in Australia at a time when shipping was the principal means of interstate and trans-tasman transport. The company started in Geelong, but in 1890 shifted its offices to Melbourne. By 1910 Huddart Parker had grown to rank 24th of the top 100 companies in Australia by asset value.

The company was founded on the 1st August 1876 in Geelong as Huddart, Parker & Co. Pty. Ltd, by James Huddart, T.J. Parker, John. Traill, and Captain T. Webb. Earlier, in the 1850s, James Huddart’s uncle, Captain Peter Huddart had made his fortune importing coal for use in the Victorian goldfields. He was the first major operator handling coal from the port of Geelong. Mr. T.J.Parker, was a merchant who arrived in Geelong from London in 1853. The trading activities each built up through the gold-rush era and beyond led to a linking of the businesses of their descendants and successors, to become Huddart Parker & Company.

After 1876 Huddart Parker expanded rapidly. By 1886 it had inaugurated the Melbourne-Adelaide shipping service and in 1882 entered the Sydney Melbourne trade. During the early 1890s its steamers were running to the principal ports of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, and in 1893 it was also trading with ports in New Zealand.


The HP Wanganella looking superb as she is seen here fully dressed with flags


left: Fare Schedules between New Zealand and the UK;
for the Rangitata, Rangitiki, Rangitane,
Official New Zealand Shipping Co postcard of Remeura

New Zealand Shipping Company (1873-1973)

Operator of cargo (especially refrigerated cargo) and passenger services between New Zealand and the UK

imageThe New Zealand Shipping Company was formed in London in 1873. Fitted ships with refrigerated capacity for NZ meat were introduced in 1881. In 1910 NZSCo together with Shaw, Savill & Albion Line and White Star Line took control of the Canadian-Australasian Line (James Huddart) and recommenced services between New Zealand – Australia and Canada. In 1912 NZSCo took over Federal Steam Navigation Company but they continued to trade under their own name and colours.

In 1916 P&O Line took over NZSCo but the company continued to operate as before. In 1936 the Montreal – Australian New Zealand Line (MANZ Line) was formed in conjunction with Ellerman & Bucknall and the Port Line. This service closed in 1971. In 1973 ownership of all ships was transferred to P&O Line and the existence of NZSCo as a separate company ceased.


SS Hororata of the New Zealand Shipping Company

She was delivered to her owners in 1942 by John Brown & Co of Clydebank for use on the UK to Australia and New Zealand service. She served faithfully until 1967 when she was sold for scrapping in Taiwan.


Ogden’s Cigarettes; Flags & Funnels of Leading steamship Lines
No.6 New Zealand Shipping Co. 1906

see also:


above: Chimborazo (+1878) – below: Orient Line Steamer Chimborazo
in a Storm Gale
, from The Illustrated London News, dated 1880

imageThe Orient Steam Navigation Company

Also known as the Orient Line, was a British shipping company with roots going back to the late eighteenth century. From the early twentieth century onwards an association began with P&O that eventually culminated in the Orient Line being totally absorbed into that company in the 1960s.

Orient Line fleet information, history etc.
on The Ships List

At the end of 1918, The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company acquired a controlling interest in Orient’s share capital.

The relationship between Orient and P&O were close (they co-operated on ship design in the 1930s and joint trans-Pacific services under the ‘Orient & Pacific’ name in the 1950s) but they maintained separate trading identities and independent shore organizations until 1960.

The archive records relating to Orient Steam Navigation Company are on permanent loan by P&O to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  The great bulk of the collection comprises material which dates only from 1942 – most earlier records were destroyed in World War II when the company’s City offices were bombed.

 more on P & O Heritage


Orient Line (Orient Steam Navigation Co.) United Kingdom
more on Timetable Images


Steam Ship Ormuz; Australia to England; 1887. Eleven thousand miles within 27 Days
(1886-1912 – 6,031gt) Sold to Cie de Nav. Sud-Atlantique in 1912, renamed Divona, scrapped in 1922


SS Oronsay
larger version

The Oronsay (27,632, 708 ft. long) was put in service on the UK-Australia route of the Orient Line in 1951. From 1960 she sailed along the P&O liners as part of the combined fleet of P&O-Orient Lines. She was sold to be broken up in 1975.

SS Oronsay on ssMaritime


RMS Oronsay

RMS (later s.s.) Oronsay was a passenger liner of 27,632 grt built by Vickers Armstrong’s Barrow Yard and delivered to her owners, Orient Steam Navigation in 1951. Her delivery had been delayed by some 8 weeks due to a fire on board whilst she was fitting out. She was employed on the Company’s service from the UK to Australia. Following the merger of Orient Line and the P&O, she was absorbed into the P&O fleet in 1960 and changed her livery to the all-white hull in 1964, the first of the ex-Orient Liners to do so.


Created as part of the “Populate or Perish” policy, the scheme was designed to substantially increase the population of Australia and to supply workers for the country’s booming industries. In return for subsidising the cost of traveling to Australia — adult migrants were charged only ten pound sterling for the fare (hence the name), and children were allowed to travel for free — the Government promised employment prospects, housing and a generally more optimistic lifestyle. However, on arrival, migrants were placed in basic hostels and the expected job opportunities were not always readily available. –source


Ten Pound Sterling immigrants from the UK to Australia during the 1950s.
A family only had to pay 10 Pounds to travel to a new country

imageTen Pound Poms is a colloquial term used in Australia to describe British subjects who migrated to Australia after the Second World War under an assisted passage scheme established and operated by the Government of Australia.

Ten Pound Poms tells the journeys of nine Britons who took the gamble of migrating to Australia in the post war years. They were part of one of the largest planned migrations of the Twentieth Century.

One million Britons were sold the dream of a modern British way of life in the sun and seduced by a fare of just ten pounds. The catch was that they had to stay for a minimum of two years. Most loved the sunburnt country but one quarter fled home disillusioned, fleeing ‘pommy bashing’ or the belief they had been sold a lie.


SS Orion 1934. One of the first Ten Pound Pom ships – shipwatcher blog


National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

The P&O house flag is the Company’s oldest symbol, incorporating the Royal colours of Portugal and Spain, the countries of the Iberian Peninsula to which its earliest services ran in the 1830s.


see also


MACEDONIA ca. 1910-1915


Cadbury’s Chocolate “Famous Steamships” c. 1923 –
Australia via The Cape Service; Peninsular & Oriental Line

The Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (Est. 1837)

image19The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) has a celebrated history dating back to the 1830s. In 1837 it was awarded its first mail contract and this is seen as the birth of the line. It was incorporated by a Royal Charter in 1840, and its name therefore includes neither “PLC” nor “Limited”.

The initials “P&O” are among the most familiar anywhere, and its house flag, older even than the Company itself, is one of the best known. The history of its first century is encapsulated in the heraldry of its Coat of Arms, granted in 1937, while throughout well over 160 years it has been a premier British shipping company, and in its time the largest and most varied in the world.

imageThe P&O house flag is the Company’s oldest symbol, incorporating the Royal colours of Portugal and Spain, the countries of the Iberian Peninsula to which its earliest services ran in the 1830s. The flag is now familiar all over the world, flown on ships, offices and depots on six continents.

The P&O house flag has also become a corporate device, painted on ships and vehicles, incorporated into signs and badges, and used in every type of printing, stationery and display. The P&O logo has similarly become a bold and distinctive design element.


P&O official postcard of Ballarat (2)
One of five sisterships built for P&O’s secondary one-class service to Australia

This was not a successful class, all ships having been withdrawn within 15 years. They had accommodation for 500 passengers, whilst an additional 700 temporary berths could be rigged for the outbound emigrant voyages. They sailed to Australia via Cape Town, and offered departures every two weeks.

By 1926, the third class emigrant trade was collapsing, and in 1929 the route via Capetown was abandoned. The ships were refitted in turn, including conversion to oil firing, and returned to service with accommodation for 586 one-class passengers. They were used on the mail route to Australia via Suez, charging third class fares for much improved accommodation compared to their earlier history. However, their withdrawals started only seven years later.


– P&O official postcard SS Comorin, 1925
Built by Barclay Curle & Company Glasgow.
UK/Australia, later UK/Bombay and Far East services.

12/03/1930: Caught fire while anchored in Colombo harbour
10/1937: Union Jack painted on her hull in Singapore for extra identification during the Sino~Japanese War.
05/09/1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as an armed merchant cruiser. Her after funnel was removed and eight 6~inch and two 3~ inch guns were fitted.
06/04/1941: Caught fire in the North Atlantic. All but 20 of the 470 on board were taken off by the motor vessel GLENARTNEY, the ex~US destroyer HMS LINCOLN and the destroyer HMS BROKE. The latter repeatedly pulled alongside for survivors to jump from one ship to the other.
07/04/1941: The fire could not be controlled and she was shelled and sunk by the LINCOLN.

After WWII P&O decided to upgrade their fleet for the Australian service considering P&O had lost six of their passenger ships during Operation Torch.


SS Himalaya (1948-1975) Built in 1948 by Vickers Armstrong Ltd. Naval Construction Yard, Barrow-in-Furness for the British-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

She would be P&O’s first new passenger liner of the postwar period. Himalaya was constructed with a number of improvements, the first of which, although controversial at the time, was a funnel cowl to keep the liner’s decks clear of debris without causing interference to her boilers.

Following sea trials in August 1949 and acceptance by her owners, she departed on her maiden voyage on 6 October 1948 on what would be her primary route: London (Tilbury Docks) to Southampton, Gibraltar, Marseille, Naples, Port Said, transit of  the Suez Canal, Aden (Yemen), Bombay, Colombo (Ceylon), Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. At that time, she was the fastest and largest ship P&O had ever owned with a top speed of 25 knots which allowed her to become a record breaker as well as cut the UK to Bombay passage by 5 days. She reduced the overall voyage to Australia from 38 days to ‘just’ 28 days.

She served the Company well until 1974 when she was sold for scrapping in Taiwan.


Iberia almost completed – seen in June 1954 at Victoria Wharf fitting out basin


SS Iberia; Built by Harland and Wolff; Launched: 21 January 1954


SS Iberia in Sydney Harbour

Sadly, Iberia eventually became known as a much “troubled ship” due to accidents and constant breakdowns. On March 14, 1956 Iberia departed Tilbury bound for Australia via the Suez Canal. However, on March 27 at approximately 0130 Iberia was rammed broadside (amidships – portside) by the Esso tanker “Stanvec Pretoria” whilst sailing in heavy seas about 275 km (170 miles) off Colombo. Iberia received extensive damage to her portside Promenade, Boat and Sports Decks. Temporary repairs were made at Colombo.

Vertical irons bars had to be welded to the side of the ships upper decks to support boat deck. Iberia continued on to Sydney and entered into Cockatoo Shipyards on April 16 for repairs. After seventeen days of extensive work, she was returned to her regular duties.


RMS Mooltan

imageBuilt at Harland and Wolff Ltd 1918-1923. Put through her sea trials and was finally delivered on 21 September 1923. At that time she was the first P&O ship over 20,000 tons, but she had sacrificed speed for reliability and comfort. The Mooltan had broad decks and would have a reputation for magnificent steadiness, although, because of her small rudder, handling would prove to be difficult.

SS Mooltan set off on her maiden voyage on 5 October 1923. She left the Port of Tilbury, and via Suez canal arrived in Sydney, Australia on 21 December 1923, calling at Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Melbourne on her way. She would make the voyage to Australia many times carrying many thousands of immigrants to a new life in Australia.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Great Britain and her allies realised that they would need ships for troop and equipment movements. On 6 September 1939 SS Mooltan was requisitioned for service as an armed merchant cruiser and was converted for such a task.

Mooltan served in the South Atlantic based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and she had the satisfaction of not losing a single merchant ship placed in her care. On 31 July the Mooltan was on the western approaches en route from Plymouth to Freetown when she was attacked by a German reconnaissance aircraft; which she survived intact.

In 1941 she carried troops out to the Middle East Campaign, and in May 1942 she took part in the North African landings at Oran, Algeria as part of Operation Torch. She was returned to P&O after the war on 16 July 1947.

RMS Mooltan on wikipedia


P & O SS Morea; built by Barclay Curle & Company, Glasgow, 1908
more photos and ship’s record on Clydebuilt

Used for tests in the Determination of Gravity at Sea her refrigerating chamber accommodation had been found perfect for the experiments. She was used extensively as a troop carrier from Australia in the first world war, carrying, amongst may others, soldiers from the Camel Corps, 9th Light Horse, 26th Reinforcements, She was eventually sold for scrap to Japan on 17th June 1930, after 22 years hard service.  —source

detailed history of RMS Morea on shipsnostalgia


Bookmark issued by P & O Lines in 1968 for use on the ship SS Orsova

SS Orsova, a 1,503-passenger ocean liner, was built by Vickers Armstrong Shipbuilders Ltd. of Barrow-in-Furness, England, in 1954 for the Orient Steam Navigation Company for UK to Australia services via the Suez Canal, the voyage taking four weeks.

photo on Flickr

The SS Orsova was the first liner to be built without masts and to have a welded hull, she was launched on 14th May 1953. She accommodated 681 first class passengers, 813 tourist class and 620 crew. Cruises were undertaken between Britain and Australia, around the Pacific, and world cruises. In 1965, Orsova’s ownership transferred to P & O, and continued in service until 1974.

photo and history of the SS Orsova


postcard: SS Persia in stormy weather

The liner SS Persia, Cdr. W. H. S. Hall, R.N.R., which left London on December 18th, 1915, and Marseilles on the 26th, was 71 miles S.E. by S. of Cape Martello, Crete, on the 30th, when she was torpedoed without warning by the U-38 (Lt. Cdr. Max Valentiner)

The attack occurred at 1.10 p.m. the vessel being struck on the port bow, and five minutes later the port boiler blew up. She sank in a very short time and 334 of the 501 persons on board were drowned, including Cdr. Hall.

Two of her boats were drawn down when she foundered taking all their occupants with them, but four got away in safety. One hundred and sixty seven survivors were picked up, most of them by a trawler 30 hours later, and were landed at Alexandria.


The RANCHI of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co Ltd on Tyne Built Ships

SS Ranchi was built for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. at Newcastle Upon Tyne. The Ranchi was used as an emigrant ship between June 1948 and 1952, when she completed 15 voyages from England to Australia. Broken up in 1953.


Strathaird seen here departing on her first Australian cruise on December 23, 1932

Built by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd,. Tonnage: 22,544 GRT (Gross Registered Tons). Length: 202.4m (664ft). Breadth: 24.4m (80.1ft). Engines: Turbo electric steam turbine motors. Screws: Twin. Service speed 20 knots. Passengers: 498 First Class, 668 Tourist. Crew: 490.

launched on July 18 1931, and completed on January 10, 1932. During her trials, Strathaird attained a respectable 23 knots. RMS Strathaird departed Tilbury on her maiden voyage on February 12 1932, bound for Sydney Australia via the Suez Canal, a service she would remain on until the war.


Strathaird: Image Galleries on Australia for Everyone

RMS Strathaird on ssMaritime


P & O Passenger ship Stratheden being turned in the Brisbane River by the tugboat Carlock

Built in 1937 by Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness, she was launched on 10th June for the P&O Line, and her maiden voyage to Australia started on 24th Dec.

She was 23,732 gross tons, length 664.5ft x beam 82.1ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw, speed 20 knots. Accommodation for 530-1st and 450-tourist class passengers. 

Between 1939-1945 she served as a troopship, was reconditioned 1946-47 and resumed her P&O Line service in June 1947. Sold to John S. Latsis, Piraeus in 1964, she was renamed Henrietta Latsis, and in 1966 was renamed Marianna Latsis. Scrapped at Spezia in 1969. (source)


Farewell to passengers leaving on the Stratheden, Hamilton, Brisbane


In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the Prime Minister of Australia established the Federal Department of Immigration and thereby launched a large scale immigration program. After commissioning a report on the subject which found that Australia was in urgent need of a larger population for the purposes of defence and development, it was recommended a 1% annual increase in population be accomplished through increased immigration.

Post-war immigration to Australia on wikipedia

Assisted migrants were generally obliged to remain in Australia for two years after arrival, or alternatively refund the cost of their assisted passage. If they chose to travel back to Britain, the cost of the journey was at least £120, a large sum in those days and one that most could not afford.

podcast on Ten Pound Pom

Between 1945 and 1972 more than a million Brits left for these parts, and helped their new homes well on the way to boom times in a number of industries. Things didn’t always turn out as rosily as advertised.
After a year of residence, these new arrivals could become citizens.

Interestingly enough, the new Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was a Ten Pound Pom. Her family made the journey from Wales in 1966 in an attempt to alleviate her lung condition.

more on Life in the Land of the Long White Cloud

Since the end of the Second World War, Australia has welcomed around a million immigrants per decade, including more than a million Ten Pound Poms. Each new migrant has a unique story to tell about how they moved to another world and helped to shape a nation.

More on


image source

Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company / P&O
on The Ships List

Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company postcards on simplonpc.UK

P&O Steam Navigation Company on P & O Heritage –


left: Travel by CA and Union Lines to Canada, United States, Europe, c1930s; from Travel by Ocean Liner; Josef Lebovic Gallery right: The Stories of the Razmak 1925 and the Monowai 1930 on NZ Maritime Record

imageThe Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand Est. 1875

The Union Steam Ship Company was a highly successful shipping institution dealing with both passenger and freight transportation in New Zealand and between New Zealand and other Pacific countries. At its height, in 1914, it operated the largest fleet of its type in the southern hemisphere.

more on Port Out Starboard Home

The Awatea was the ultimate statement in luxurious service and was the only way to cross the Tasman Sea in the late 1930s. Unfortunately, this beautiful jewel of a liner’s life was very brief but will always be remembered as an elegant experience while it lasted.

right: Cruising the Past

The Awatea (meaning Eye of the Dawn) was one of the most famous and beautiful ships under the Union flag and the only way to cross the Tasman Sea. She also made several voyages from Sydney to Vancouver via Honolulu.

more: Union Steam’s luxurious T.S.S. Awatea was the “only way to cross” the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand in the late 1930s!


TSS Monowai Union Line (Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand): New Zealand


SS Oriana was the last of the Orient Steam Navigation Company ocean liners

Built at Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and launched on 3 November 1959. She sailed as an Orient Line ship until 1966 when that company was fully absorbed into the parent P&O group.  image source


left: Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The City With A Holiday Charm, c1930s – produced for centenary celebrations in 1938 – artist: James Northfield (Australian, 1888-1973) — right: c1930s; Orient Steam Navigation Company Limited, Inc. in England. H & G Pty Ltd.; by Walter Jardine (Australian, 1884-1970) — posters: Josef Lebovic Gallery

Port of Geelong on wikipedia –


P&O British Lines: Strathaird, Viceroy of India, and Strathnaver more on cruising the past


One of a relatively small number of merchant ships to see military action in both World Wars, Ceramic was built for White Star by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, and launched in 1912. She was White Star’s first “all cabin class” ship and also had two permanent 4.7 inch guns mounted aft.

Ceramic made her maiden voyage in White Star’s Liverpool-Australia service on 24 July 1913, after representing White Star at the Mersey Pageant earlier that month. Ceramic was, at the time, the largest ship to serve Australia, as well as the largest to call regularly at Capetown.

more on GreatShips


White Star Liner MV Georgic & Passengers, Station Pier, Port Melbourne, 1949

The first all-British migrant ship. The MV Georgic left Liverpool in Britain on 11th January 1949 and arrived at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, Australia on 12th February 1949.

She was constructed by Harland and Wolff Ltd in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the early 1930s. Her inaugural voyage was in June 1932 on the Liverpool to New York route. In 1934 Cunard merged with White Star, and the ‘Georgic’ was then based in London. In 1940, during World War Two, the ‘Georgic’ was refitted as a military personnel transport ship. The following year the ship was bombed and suffered great damage. After being rebuilt, the ‘Georgic’ continued to provide war service and repatriation work until 1948. She was then refitted once more as a one-class emigrant carrier for the Australian government. In 1955 the ship was de-commissioned.


Medic was the second of the “Jubilee Class” of ships designed to permit White Star to run a monthly service to Australia, but the first of them to actually sail to Australia. Built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Medic was launched in December 1898, and made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Sydney via Cape Town, on 3 August 1899.

Medic remained in commercial service during World War I because of her large frozen meat capacity, although she was operated under the Liner Requisition Scheme for two years. She returned to White Star service in 1919, and remained on the Australia route until 1927.

In January 1928, Medic was sold and converted into a whale factory ship named Hektoria. Hektoria was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic by U-608 on 11 September 1942, while serving as a Ministry of War Transport oil tanker.

Great Ships: Postcard and Ephemera Collection of Jeff Newman

see also: AfricVedic Persic 


Ypiranga was built for the Hamburg-America Line by Krupp’s Germaniawerft, at Kiel, and was launched in May 1908. After spending the war years idle at Hamburg, Ypiranga was ceded to Great Britain as a war reparation. She was then placed under White Star Line management in April 1919, and was used as a troop repatriation vessel and as an auxiliary ship on White Star’s service to Australia.




Launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, in June 1911. Her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Wellington began on 30 October of that year. In addition to her regular service, Zealandic was chartered for a time in 1913 as an immigrant carrier for the government of Western Australia.



British subjects and Australian citizenship – Booklet: Australia Ahead
circa 1951, Source: Museum Victoria

The Royal Mail Ship  ARCADIA  (1953 – 1979)


The much admired Arcadia held the distinction of being the largest P&O liner to be built on the banks of the Clyde. She was named after the 6,000 ton steamer of the same name which entered P&O service in 1888.

Arcadia was constructed specifically for the London to Australia and New Zealand route, upon which she commenced service in February 1954.  Her early voyages saw her use the same trans-Suez and India route in both directions.  In later years this was extended to include the Pacific and the American West Coast.

more on NZ National Maritime Museum; NZ Maritime Record

above right: Passenger ship Arcadia, which brought Ten Pound Poms, at its berth in Sydney


SS Orsova


Liebig’s Beef Extract “Sea Ports” Belgian issue
Melbourne, Australia, c. 1908

Further Reading:

New Zealand Maritime Museum
Maritime Histories and Ship Index

Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney


left: A mine being readied for transportation by railway trolley to the wharf by members of the Corp of Submarine Miners. The mines were laid on the riverbed and were detonated electrically, by cable from inside the Fort. The soldiers were Queensland Volunteer Engineers and the unit had various names throughout the period. The Brisbane River was mined by these engineers between 1878 and 1908 when responsibility for underwater defence passed to the Navy.

right: An early view showing the Australian steamship, Leichardt, in the South Brisbane dry dock in May 1883

– Brisbane Living Heritage –

Flickr stream for State Library of Queensland, Australia

 Immigration Museum; Victoria, Australia

 – Martime Ship Covers from New Zealand (Paquebot Mail) –

Steamers in the Australia & New Zealand Passenger and Immigrant Trade

The Site of Australian Shipping Lines Postcards, Prints, Photographs, Ephemera, Essential Data of Australian Ships, Big and Small, Past and Present.  From Adelaide Steamship to Yorke’s Peninsular Steam Navigation Co.  From Admella to Zincmaster.  From 1852 up to the modern day.

The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
multi-media on P&O Ferries UK


from Cruising Mates Forums


T.E.V. Wahine, Yard Number 830, under construction on the Number Two Building Berth in the shipyard of the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd at Govan, Glasgow, in early 1965.

The Wahine was a drive-on passenger ship owned by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m. the Wahine departed Wellington for the overnight voyage between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, arriving at Lyttelton next morning at 7 a.m.

She would then sail back to Wellington the following night. Her partner on the Steamer Express service, the smaller and older Maori (7,498 gross tons, built 1953) ran in the opposite direction, leaving Lyttelton on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, passing the Wahine during the night before reaching Wellington next morning. There were no sailings on Sunday evenings.

more on
photo: Wellington City Archives (Union Steam Ship Company collection)


Clam Shell with painting of TSS TOFUA, Union Steam Ship Company painted by Frank Barnes, a marine painter of the late 19th and early 20th century in Wellington, NZ

Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang.

Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected]. She can also out-belch any man.

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