Macdonald, Hamilton and Co Pty Ltd.

Other Shipping Agencies

MMCie Tahitien
From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Tahitien", (illustrated above) built 1953 by A & C de France was 12,614 gross tons. She had a sister ship "Caledonien", built 1952 of 12,712 gross tons. Both were 549 feet long with a beam of 68 feet and a draught of 25 feet 10 inches.

They carried 71 First, 84 Tourist and 86 Steerage class passengers. "Caledonien" was sold in 1972 to Nisos Kypros in Cyprus and the same year "Tahitien" was sold to eventually become "Atalante" of New Paradise Cruises operating out of Cyprus.

She is shown in Cruise Ships in Rhodes, page 3, where I photographed her in October 2002.

Company Houseflag
We were main Agents in Australia for the French shipping line "Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes" which was originally founded in 1835 as a state owned shipping service operating between Marseilles to the Levant, however in 1851 it was transferred to a state owned road transport company named Messageries Nationales. In 1852 company was split into two to give a separate maritime arm and named Compagnie des Services Maritime, eventually becoming Cie Des Messageries Maritimes, which name had disappeared by 1981.

They had a very large fleet over the years, however the only ships that I had anything to do with, and that was purely by way of applying for passage tickets for travel to places such as Tahiti, New Hebrides and New Caledonia, were the vessels illustrated here.

MMCie Polynesie

From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Polynesie" built in 1955 by S.A. des Ancienes Chantiers Dubigon, Nantes, for the Sydney, Noumea and New Hebrides service. She had a gross tonnage of 3,709 and was 344 feet long with a beam of 49 feet and a draught of 17 feet 10 inches. Her service speed was 14 knots and she carried 36 one class passengers. She was sold to Singapore interests in 1976 and renamed "Golden Glory".

MMCie Melanesien
From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Melanesien" built in 1925 by de Schelde, Flushing (Vlissingen) for the service France to French Polynesia, New Hebrides, New Caledonia and Australia via the Panama Canal. She was 507 feet in length with a beam of 60 feet and a draught of 28 feet 10 inches, twin screw with a service speed of 15 knots. She carried 100 First and 80 Third Class passengers. She was scrapped in 1963.

Adelaide Steamship Company, McIlwraith McEacharn (their vessels shown below these ships were coastal passenger ships and were quite well appointed) and Melbourne Steamship Company, took bookings for us, for which they received a commission and in fact acted as a Travel Agent.

In South Australia our, or rather P and O's, port agent was Elder, Smith and Company Limited. Former MH and Co member, Malcolm Longstaff, clarified the position regarding the carriage of passengers on the coasts by non-registered Australian vessels viz: "Carriage of Interstate passengers by big oversees companies, i.e. P and O, Orient Line, Shaw Savill and Albion - was governed by Commonwealth law. To protect the coastal passenger trades, a non-Australian-registered vessel could not carry passengers unless a 'single voyage permit' (SVP) had been issued to it by the Department of Navigation - such permits were only issued after the coastal shipping lines in that trade had assured the Department that their ships sailing over the same route at around the same time had no passenger vacancies. The situation even arose where a SVP might for example be given to an overseas ship to carry Tourist Class passengers, but not First Class. I think it is still necessary even today for Lines to apply for SVPs. The system also covers the carriage of coastal cargo by overseas-registered ships (often nowadays these are for heavy lifts and special cargo that cannot be handled by Australian vessels - not that there are many of them left in the coastal trades now)".

Having said that, there were inevitably cases when this did happen and interstate passengers would jump at the chance to sail aboard a deep sea liner when they were able to. When these small ships disappeared, due to the inevitable competition the big companies filled the void for a few years.

Bruce McBain also clarified the position regarding our South Australian Agents:
"In Adelaide the P&0 agents were Elder Smith and Birt Elder had the agencies around Australia for two group companies, New Zealand Shipping and Federal Steam Navigation. From memory AUSN which was an Inchcape family investment rather than P&O direct, owned 20% of E&A until the 50's when P&O took 100%. So far as AUSN it was aquired by Inchcape plc, got rid of the ships and merged with MH. We had two branches in Nth Queensland, Bundaberg and Maryborough. In Bundaberg we were the port agents for TAA, sold the tickets, ran the bus, received the passengers and loaded the freight and baggage we were still in that role in the late 60's. Apart from my venture as agent for the two Dilmun Tankers when they came to Melbourne, Brisbane and the other two Queensland ports were the last active agencies although ironically Inchcape Shipping is the major player globally and Australia (but now divested from Inchcape PLC but retaining the brand)"

Adelaide Steamship Cos Manoora
From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Manoora" was built for Adelaide Steamship Company in 1935 by Alexander Stephen and Sons, Glasgow she had a gross tonnage of 10,952 and was 482 feet in length with a beam of 66 feet, a draught of 23 feet 11 inches and a service speed of 15 knots.

She carried about 260 First and 100 Second Class Passengers. During the was she served as an AMC (Armed Merchant Cruiser) and later as an Assault Landing Ship. She was, in 1961, Adelaide Steamship Companys only and last passenger ship.

Serving the Australian ciastal ports in the summer months her route would be Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. In the winter months Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane to Cairns. She was offered for sale in 1961 and later scrapped about 1964.

McIlwraith, McEacherns Kanimbla
From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Kanimbla" was built for McIlwraith McEacharn in 1936 by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, her gross tonnage was 11,004 and was 484 feet in length with a beam of 66 feet, a draught of 24 feet 3 inches and a service speed of 16 knots.

She carried 231 First and 125 Second Class Passengers. When she went cruising her passenger capacity was reduced and one class with 300 plus passengers. Also serving Australian coastal ports in the winter season she would make four voyages from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville to Cairns and would return the same way. In the summer months she would make 6 voyages to Western Australia from Melbourne calling at Adelaide and reverse. In 1961 she was Australia's largest coastal passenger ship. She was put up for sale in 1961 and later scrapped.

Burns Philp and Company
Were situated diagonally opposite Macdonald, Hamiltons, and were one of our best agencies producing many bookings for us. They had one ship I think, at the time, the Bulolo, illustrated below. There were occasions when we would have bookings for them, which necessitated our issuing a P and O Travel Order so that Burns Philp could issue the necessary ticket(s).They were Agents of very long standing, having originally been appointed as Agents for British India Steam Navigation Co in 1887, then latterly with P and O and so had been closely involved in one way or another with the P and O group for over 80 years.

Burns Philp Bulolo
From a photograph in the 1961 Adlard Coles publication Passenger Liners by Laurence Dunn.

"Bulolo" was built for Burns Philp and Company in 1938 by Barclay Curle and Co, Glasgow, had a gross tonnage of 6,397 and was 412 feet in length with a beam of 58 feet, a draught of 23 feet and a service speed of 15 knots.

She carried 180 First Class Passengers from Australia to New Guinea sailing from Sydney and calling at Brisbane, Port Moresby, Samarai, and other coastal ports before retracing her route back to Sydney.

Bulolo from an old colour photograph C1962

Photograph taken from an old book of "Bulolo" in September 1962 by J.Y. Freeman.



Betty Bibby, Burns Philp, Ian Byard MacHams

Betty Bibby from Burns Philp

One of my friends was Betty Bibby (above) , who was a Travel Clerk there, and who was responsible for my ultimately joining Chandris Lines, some years later. (see that page) and in a back-handed way meeting my wife Anne. Betty married Geoff Cook, who had joined P and O - Orient Lines in 1960 who later joined Burns Philp and Co. I lost touch with them in 1974 but found them again 29 years later as these photos show.

Geoff and Betty Cook May 2003 Ian and Betty Cook May 2003

Geoff and Betty Cook and Ian with Betty,
May 2003.

Lower part of Burns Philp Building April 2003. Upper part of Burns Philp Building

The photographs opposite show the old Burns Philp and Company building which still stands between two tall skyscrapers at 340 Collins Street in April 2003
. The canopy was not there in my time as far as I can remember.

Most of the other buildings that were there in the 1950-70s have been replaced, quite a shock when I visited Melbourne from March to May 2003.

Macdonald, Hamilton and Co Pty Ltd. Melbourne
Macdonald, Hamilton and Co Pty Ltd. Melbourne - Page 2
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