Passenger ships

This page, along with the accompanying page of train photographs dates from a website built at a time when computer monitors were smaller. I am still working on them and missing images and header will appear shortly.

Around six months of my life has been spent on passenger ships, not the floating hotels that are the modern cruise liner, but working passenger liners plying regular trades on fixed routes before the airlines put them out of business.

The P & O Ship Mooltan, on which my family arrived from England in 1950. We are pictured at left on the wharf at Fremantle with the Mooltan in the background. I am the little chap at the left. Photograph above is an official P & O postcard, while the family shot was taken by an unknown local commercial photographer.

Maloja, sistership to the Mooltan, 20,837 grt, 600 ft, Harland & Wolff, Belfast, 1924, Australia service, carrying 656 passengers. Served as an armed merchant cruiser and troopship during WWII, returning to passenger service in 1948, rebuilt to carry 1,030 passengers. Scrapped 1954.


Caledonien, Messageries Maritime, France.

Sydney-Marseilles, April 1970

The good ship Caledonien anchored in the Marquesas Islands, south Pacific. Paradise! This ship and her sister, the Tahitien, alternated on a regular monthly service taking a leisurely two months to travel between Sydney and Marseilles. I took one of the last voyages on the Caledonien in April 1970, as an alternative to conscription and Vietnam.

For lots more on the Caledonien and her sistership Tahtien, go to

Caledonien - bows cutting through the Pacific, in the Mediterranean, approaching Marseilles.

Caledonien - afterdeck views ... no cruise ship, this one. On the bridge at Papeete.

The cheapest cabins were the dog kennels!

Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1969


Two old Queens

Queen Mary at Southampton, 1966 and Queen Elizabeth 2 at Oslo, 1972.

Queen Elizabeth 2 at Hobart, 1980s.

Short hops

Fairwelling friends on one of the Townsend-Thoresen Free Enterprise ships at Calais, France, 1972, an island trader at Papeete, French Polynesia, 1970, and a coastal cargo passenger ship, Ege loading at the Black Sea port of Trabzon, Turkey, 1971.

Paddle-wheeler Maid of the Loch, photographed at Balloch while still in active service on Loch Lomond, Scotland, in 1971. She was built in Glasgow in 1953 and taken out of service in 1981, currently under restoration by volunteers. Click on the image for a larger view.

Maid of the Loch

Bass Strait Ferry Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman, formerly the 1975 German-built Scandinavian ferry Nils Holgersson, replaced the barbaric Empress of Australia in 1985 on the Melbourne-Devonport run. Seen here on a show-off visit to Hobart and loading at Station Pier, Melbourne.

Spirit of Tasmania

Abel Tasman was replaced on the Bass Straight run from Melbourne to Devonport firstly with Spirit of Tasmania, which itself was subsequently replaced in 2002 by two sisterships Spirit of Tasmania I and II, formerly Greek ferries Superfast I and II. This photograph shows Spirit of Tasmania II preparing for departure at Devonport in June 2008.

The picture below shows Spirit of Tasmania I at Station Pier, Port Melbourne.

Spirit of Tasmania

RMS Arcadia, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company

I made two journeys as a kid on this handsome ship in 1958, between Australia and England.

RMS Orsova, Orient Line

This ship from rival company the Orient Line took me from Melbourne to Southampton in 1966. Seen here in Colombo harbour, Ceylon.

Shipboard views in the Indian Ocean.

Old ships in new Chandris clothing ...

Chandris Lines' Australis, previously United States Lines' transatlantic liner America, leaving Fremantle in early 1967. Much more about this ship may be found at Ken Ironside's website.

Chandris Lines' Regina Magna was originally built in 1939 as Pasteur for French line Sudantlantique, was sold in 1957 to German line Norddeutsche Lloyd who named it Bremen, before selling it to Chandris in 1971. Seen here anchored in Stockholm harbour, Sweden, in 1972.

Chandris Lines' Queen Frederica was built in 1927 as Malolo for US line Matson, who renamed her Matsonia ten years later, before selling her to Home Lines in 1948 who called her Atlantic. She was renamed Queen Frederica in 1954 when operated by a Home Lines subsidiary, National Hellenic Lines, who ran her until 1965 when she was purchased by Chandris. She was finally scrapped in 1978. She is seen here in Fremantle, WA, in 1967.

Colombo harbour, 1966

Tugboat at work, a ship abandoned in the harbour and the Italian liner Victoria.

Sydney harbour, 1968-1970 ...

MV Tjiwangi, built in 1950 for Dutch Line, Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij, later Royal Interocean Lines, at Wooloomooloo, 1970.


P & O's Himalaya passing the Sydney skyline and partially completed Opera House in 1968.

Naples and Melbourne in the 1960s ...

Italia Line's superb Leonardo da Vinci (1960) at Naples, 1966, and Royal Rotterdam Lloyd's Willem Ruys at Port Melbourne, early 1960s. Willem Ruys was built in 1939 and later became the Achille Lauro for Lauro Lines and as such she starred in a famous hijacking in 1985. She finally caught fire and sank in 1994 while on a cruise to Africa for Swiss owners.

Promotional booklet for Willem Ruys depicting scenes from shipboard life and places visited.

Achille Lauro docked in Hobart in the 1980s.

Royal Viking Sea

Royal Viking Line's Royal Viking Sea docked in Hobart in the 1980s.

Australian and New Zealand ships

The second Monowai operated by New Zealand's Union Steam Ship Company was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast as Razma for P & O's Indian services, entering service in 1925. She was transferred to P & O's company's New Zealand subsidiary in 1930 for use on the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, services to the US West Coast and occasional Pacific cruising as well as troop carrying during WWII, including the D-Day landings. Scrapped in 1960. Excellent detailed website operated by the New Zealand National Maritime Museum.


The Westralia, built by Harland and Wolff, Glasgow, launched in 1929, 8,108 grt, 448 ft, 450 passengers. Originally worked as a refrigerated cargo ship and later as a passenger ship for Huddart Parker of Melbourne on the Australian coastal and trans-Tasman trade. Served as an armed merchant cruiser during WWII, then a troopship until returning to civilian life in 1950 or 1951. Scrapped 1960. Click on the image for a larger view.

An old-timer

The Doulos was built in 1914 in Newport, Virginia as the freighter Medina, and is recognised as the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship.
Photographed at Melbourne in June 1989. It operates as floating bookshop for missionary organisation Gute Bücher für Alle e.V, the ship is still sailing. Click on the image for a larger view.


Ships visiting Hobart, 1980s

Vasco da Gama was originally Infante Dom Henrique, built in Belgium in 1961 for Portuguese line Cia Colonial de Navegacao, for their Portugal-Mozambique service.
Photographed in Hobart in cruise ship mode in the 1980s. Later named Seawind Crown, she was scrapped in 2003.


Three Princesses

Sea Princess at Sydney

Sea Princess, formerly Swedish-America Line's Kungsholm, birthed at Sydney's Circular Quay in the early 1980s. The towers of Sydney Harbour Bridge are one the right. Click on the picture for a larger view. Kungsholm had two funnels and in the conversion for P & O the forward funnel was removed, somewhat destroying the liner's classical balance. In 1998 she was renamed Victoria and cruised for Union Castle Lines before being sold in 2002 to Italian operators who leased her to German operator Holiday Kreuzfahrten and renamed Mona Lisa, she crused from Europe. She is still in service at the time of writing, renamed again Oceanic II, and operating extensive educational cruises for Royal Carribbean subsidiary The Scholar Ship.

Above ... Sea Princess, departing Hobart with new Princess Cruises colour scheme, later in the 1980s or early 1990s, no record of the actual date unfortunately.

Below ... Fair Princess, formerly Cunard's transatlantic liner Carinthia, berthed at Hobart. Click on the image for a larger view.


Princess Mahsuri, originally the German cruiser Berlin, docked at Hobart in the early 1980s.

Royal Odyssey, a ship of many names

Originally the 1964 Israeli liner Shalom, this ship was subsequently renamed by various owners Hanseatic (1967), Doric (1973), Royal Odyssey (1981, as shown here berthed at Hobart in the mid 1980s), Regent Sun (1988), Sun Venture and finally Sun.

A rare visit from an unidentified Russian cruise ship berthed in Hobart, mid 1980s.

Acknowledgement must go to Ian Boyle's wonderful website of postcards and shipping information at

More information links to websites about ships can be found at the Maritime Information Gateway, PORT, at