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Orontes off the Australian Coast
Ships and Harbours
No: 2916   Contributor: Ian Boyd   Year: 1998   Manufacturer: Unknown   Country: United Kingdom
Orontes off the Australian Coast

One from 1998, an anniversary present for a ex steward who met his future wife on board Orontes -- she was a stewardess on that particular trip !
Picture added on 30 August 2007
add commentComments:
I was two years old and was on the Orontes on what was supposed to be its last trip to be scrapped in Australia in 1957/58. It ended up the ship went back to Britain. We came to Aus on the ten pound plan. We arrived in Sydney in March 1958. My mother, dad and I were on the boat and our name was Kennedy. I spent some time in the infirmary having my tonsils out. It is great to see a picture of this ship. Thank you for posting it.

Added by Jan on 17 September 2007.
My mother travelled on SS Orontes on the assisted passage scheme, in 1959. I have 4 dinner menu cards (dates Nov-Dec 1959. The artwork is by Douglas Annand.

Added by SallyAnne Rutherford on 12 November 2007.
My family & I arrived in Sydney in March 1958 on the Orontes, Our name was Osgerby. Truely great to see a picture of the ship...

Added by Doreen Davey (nee Osgerby) on 12 February 2008.
I came out to Australia with my parents in 1959, We landed in Melbourne. The surname is Luke. Its good t compare the Oronte's with the modern cruise ships, and in 1959 we thought the Oronte's was modern.

Added by Alan Luke on 24 December 2008.
We travelled on oronte depart Southhamton July 1960 arrived Adelaide late August.I can still remember a lot of the trip and have many items of intrest. Being a large family mum and dad with six children we shared two cabins on D deck

Added by Duncan Bignell on 22 January 2009.
My brother Jim Burke (R.I.P) and his new bride Veronica Tharme sailed from Southampton on the Orontes and arrived in Station Pier, Melbourne on April 06 1959.

Added by Terri Strange on 04 February 2009.
I travelled from Tilbury and arrived Brisbane march 9th 1961, they had to cut the masts as they were just to high to go under the storey bridge, was first and last time it went to Brisbane, took 6 weeks and 2 days, captains name was Britain,

Added by Peter Groom on 25 February 2009.
I joined this ship in Jan '61 as ships assistant carpenter to Jerry White. My first sailing was Tilbury to Sydney via Suez, I did 3 trips and as far as I know it was scrapped in Valencia '62 after I left ship at Tilbury.

Added by Fred Pilgrim on 10 April 2009.
I was 8 years old when we sailed on the Orontes from England to Melbourne in 1957. I would love to find out the deck plans if any exist. Can I get a photo ship that I can print out from anywhere please.

Added by Diana Irie on 27 May 2009.
My parents, brother and I returned to Australia from England in 1954. We arrived in Fremantle on 25 February 1954. I have been unable to find a departure date for this sailing from London. Does anybody know how long it took?

Added by Susanne Macrae on 08 June 2009.
I was 4 years old when my family (my parents, my sister and I) left Tilbury on the Orontes in 1959. We disembarked in Adelaide in January 1960.

Added by Helen Simmons on 09 August 2009.
My family travelled on the Orontes from Southhampton Dec 1959. Arrived in Freemantle Jan 1960, then to Adelaide to Melbourne, where we disenbarked to begin our new life in Australia.

Added by Kirsi Sade on 14 October 2009.
I was 7years when my parents and brother was on this ship. from Tilbury, got of Melbourne.
Dyson is our surname

Added by Ralph Dyson on 27 October 2009.
hi, do you have any information on the orontes being used as a troopship in 1942 my father sailed on the same named ship on 23rd of june from alexandria to sicily ready to invade italy and are there any pictures of the ship during the war years thanks

Added by Terry Plant on 26 January 2010.
hi i was deck boy on orontes 1952 worked on e deck aft great memories ,captain was birch nickname silver

Added by TED GREGG EX PWSTS on 30 January 2010.
My Grandfather sailed from Tilbury Docks to Brisbane on the 'Orontes' 100 years ago in January 2010. He was in his 20's and came to Austalia to make a new life. He ended up farming in NSW and was very proud to name his farm 'Orontes'. As the date just recently passed, it was quite a nostalgic day with lots of thoughts on the hardships of leaving a family behind and particularly the great vision he must have had. The farm is still in our family to this day. Another interesting fact is that we still remain in contact with all of his family in England & also Canada. We are now up to the 5th generation in this country, all bought about by his brave decision to depart his homeland and start a new life.

Added by Anne Gunn on 04 February 2010.
My Father sailed from Tilbury Docks to Brisbane on January 7th 1910 on the first "Orontes" and returned on this the second "Orontes", to visit his homeland in 1950.

Added by Joy Drury on 14 February 2010.
My mother in law and son and daughter came from Tibury to Melbourne around 1949 , joan lee, and daughter Donna son Tony( born Utrecht1948 ) on trip back to australia from Holland

Added by Nick Bell on 20 February 2010.
I am preparing a new book in which the second Orontes features and would welcome photos (especially interior) of the ship and details of any souvenirs such as dinner menus, voyage calendars or other memorabilia, especially pre-WWII. I will ensure you receive full credit if the materials are used.

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 11 March 2010.
A beautiful picture. I remember Orontes with great affection. I sailed in her from October 1960 right up to her last voyage, paying off on 19th February 1962. Incidentally was the Stewardess's first name Shirley. I seem to remember a lovely couple, he a Steward who were very much in love and I do remember a wedding. When I look at this picture I remember having a photograph taken with a pal. We were sitting on the gunn'ell under the lifeboat which can be seen on the starboard side forard well deck. I have often wondered what might have became of us had we leaned back a bit too far and gone over the wall.

Added by John Pyper Morrison on 08 April 2010.
i was asst headwaiter on orontes 1958 1960
nice memories

Added by Bert Sanchez on 30 April 2010.
I came to Melbourne on the Orontes . We left Tilbury in Dec 1959 via Suez, arriving in Jan 1960. I came with my Mum, Dad, sister & brother.Our Surname Matthews.

Added by Jacky Veltman on 03 May 2010.
Built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow as were most Orient Line ships. She was completed in 1929 and was scrapped in Spain in 1962.

Added by Paul Strathdee on 03 May 2010.
Jacky Veltman and family must have been on the same voyage as my family.

Added by Kirsi Sade on 03 May 2010.
My father, James Donaldson, served on the Orontes in the early 1950's. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who may remember him. He worked in the engine room. He served in the British Merchant Navy from 1950-1956 and would have served on other ships as well. Any information would be appreciated.

Added by Morag Donaldson on 09 August 2010.
Alasdair, I have dinner menu from the night of the equator crossing also full passenger list for the 9 May 1961 migrant trip Tilbury - Australia arriving Sydney 15 June. Any good to you?

EDITOR: Did you know that you can email each other directly by clicking on the blue names and passing on more personal messages to each other?

Added by Fred Abbott on 23 September 2010.
I was one of the first families sponsored by the presbyterian church of australia. we travelled from Tilbury docks on Orontes (pictured) in 1957 TV, news paper reporters greeted us after docking in Melb.

Added by Iain bremner on 15 October 2010.
I sailed on Orontes the latter part of 1956. We were diverted to Singapore to pick up Refugees from Jarkata and take them to Holland. Bickford, His Brother was ChiefSteward on the Oronsay, which I rejoined after this trip on Orontes, Fond memories

Added by Robert J. Mills on 20 October 2010.
My family sailed from Tilbury in June 1959 on the Orontes, arriving in Melbourne on the 13th July. I was eight at the time and have been told that the ship was reported as missing at sea when all contact was lost for two days during a violent storm. My families name is Harbisher.

Added by Michael Harbisher on 13 November 2010.
I traveled with my mother to Sydney from Tilbury on the Orontes in 1948 to catch up with my father who had gone out about 6 months earlier in the Orion.

Added by Les Horn on 23 November 2010.
My parents, sister and brother left Tilbury on the SS Orontes in 1960 for Adelaide. We arrived in Adelaide on 1st. May 1960. I was 8 years old then. I still have fond memories of the trip.
My dad being a Church of England minister was able to take services when needed on board.

Added by Mark Robjohns on 24 November 2010.
SS Orontes made a voyage as a troop ship in 1946 from Bombay, sailing on 30th June making land fall at Southampton 16th July. Capt V.U.Hinds was one of the passengers.

Added by David Hinds on 12 December 2010.
Hi to all the Oronties passengers from the 1957 voyage to Melbourne...I was 11 at the time , could anybody tell me how long the voyage took , and a passenger name list arrived in Australia May 1957, I am now 66 and this piece of nostalgia has made my day looking through these archives.thanks Kay Richardson.father Fredrick Alfred Richardson, mother Ivy Lillian.

Added by Kay Richardson on 20 December 2010.
Thank you so much for getting back to me so soon.What a magnificent ship she was, so majestic.

Added by Kay Richardson on 20 December 2010.
hello I was only 14 months old and learnt to walk on this ship, have some wonderful photos of us on board , it was just mum and dad and I . still living in wa and loved reading everyones comments .
Elaine Chapman (Kenna)

Added by Elaine Chapman (Kenna) on 08 January 2011.
My father, aged 5, his twin baby sisters and my grandparents travelled on the Orontes in May 1939 after fleeing Nazi Germany. My grandfather had already been interned in a concentration camp called Sachsenhausen, Oranienberg -
this was just prior to the war and he was released and told to leave Germany immediately - they arrived in Melbourne in May/June 1939 - my family have menus from the ship and postcards from the various ports, possibly photos - That ship helped save my family's life and led to a wonderful life in Melbourne far from what went on to happen in Germany.

Added by Fran Baum on 09 January 2011.
My dad was in the merchant navy, this was the name of his ship..does anyone have any copies of the ship or any information on it......

Added by Maureen on 09 January 2011.
Maureen, if you go to you will find lots of postcard views of this and previous ships of the same name. Not sure of the relevance of the capitals but that's how it appears in the site name so best to type it this way.
Wikimedia will also give you details of measurements etc.. Good hunting


Added by John Southall on 10 January 2011.
My mother, father and I travelled on the Orontes in May 1957 (Fredrick, Joan and Philip Reid)to Melbourne. I would love to find out who else travelled on the same voyage. Does any one have a passenger list? My parents occationally talk about the voyage and mention names on the trip.

Added by Phil Reid on 03 February 2011.
this is the 55th Anniversary of my arrival in Sydney with my parents and brother and sister. The picture of the the ship at sea of the Australian Coast is a poignant reminder of a memorable voyage and the beginning of of a wonderful life in Australia

Added by Nick Bell on 12 February 2011.
does anyone know where I can passenger lists or souvieners from the 1959 trips to Sydney?

Added by Grant Gifford on 15 February 2011.
To celebrate the 55th Anniversary of my arrival in Sydney in November 1956. My wife Pat and I are revisiting the Fremantle to Sydney voyage on P&O; Pacific Sun departing Fremantle 28 October and dur to Arrive Sydney 5 November.

Added by Nick Bell on 16 February 2011.
My Mother brought us two children to Australia on the SS Orontes in 1956. I was 5, my sister 6. Memories are vague, we had to come around the Cape, because Suez Canal was having strife, would love to know more about her and have a passenger list or any other memorabilia from that trip, photocopies that is, just so as I can add it to our family History. If anyone can help with things like that, please let me know, even the dates of sailing and arrival I am unaware of. Our last name is White.

Added by Paul White on 16 February 2011.
My daughter has given me this site. We were on the Orontes May/June 1961 voyage, possibly the youngest family wife & I were 22 and we had an 18 month old all seemed a big adventure.....could we do it now ? I doubt it !

I remember sleeping on deck as it was too hot below & waking up in the morning realising you had to bunk down FORWARD of the funnels, otherwise you were covered in soot !

We arev celebrating our 50th anniversary in OZ this year and are going to Sydney for a week to relive some memories. When we disembarked our daughter's photo was on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. SO glad I found this link...Flora & Tom Blackwood

Added by Flora & Tom Blackwood on 19 February 2011.
My Mother Angela von Keudell (age 20)took this ship on July 13th 1955 from Sydney, Australia to London to marry her future husband Dr.Siegfried Rosenbaum from melbourne Australia. Does anyone remember my mother. She travelled alone for 6 weeks.

Added by Julie Rosenbaum Schiff on 28 February 2011.
Loved our voyage on the Orontes in May 1957. What fun we children had. Thanks, Australia, for sponsoring us all. Australia is now home to about 36 of us.

Added by Linda Schafer on 05 March 2011.
I was on the Orontes that arrived in Fremantle on 25/02/1954. I was on my way to Sydney.
I thought that it was the last voyage for the Orontes.
I was not a sponsored passenger, although I was in a cheaper cabin for 2 we had the run of the ship all classes, that was very fortunate.
I have the passenger list somewhere in the old suitcase I came with. Being French I did not speak any English still I had a good time on the Orontes.

Added by Michael on 20 March 2011.
My family came to Australia on the Orontes leaving from Tilbury on May 14 arriving in Adealide in June 1958

Added by Bill Rowlands on 30 March 2011.
re the Orontes. I had a great aunt named Harriet Elizabeth Ebsworth who left Bribane and arrived in the UK on the 15th February 1913. I am wondering how I can find a year when she left the UK on the outwood voyage. She appears to have been a medical student, age 25. roy smith

Added by Roy Smith on 31 March 2011.
I came out on the Orontes with my mother and father and my three sisters. Our name was Watts We landed in Melbourne in 1958 and was sent to a camp.

Added by Mrs Jean Fisher on 11 April 2011.
I would like to communicate and share memories with anyone who travelled / worked aboard Orontes on the May / June 1961 voyage. Our family were aboard and disembarked at Adelaide on 10th June (I think)

Added by George Walker on 16 May 2011.
I came to Australia (Sydney and went to Cabramatta Hostel) in November 1959 (and that was supposed to be it's last trip but was wrecked in Spain in 1962) as a nine year old who emigrated from Belfast.

Added by Clarke Mc Dowell on 18 May 2011.
My parents and my two siblings arrived from the UK on assisted passage on the Orontes. it docked at Port Adelaide 10.06.61, They are very excited about it being their 50th year in Australia. ( I was born sometime later)

Added by AT on 22 May 2011.
Today 10/6/61, fifty years ago the Orontes docked at Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide where I disembarked, aged 26. I have many happy memories of the voyage, but it was hot going down the Red Sea. I remember the waiters bringing ice cream at 11.00A.M. and sleeping on the deck as our small cabin on "D" deck was shared by 6 young blokes and had zero ventilation. There was a following wind which didn't help the ventilation system. I loved the old ship, it was a real ship and it had character!!

Added by William Anderson on 09 June 2011.
This was when liners were liners, not the sea going blocks of flats they are today.
I am a retired seaman.

Added by Graeme Swalling on 21 June 2011.
I have an old painting/canvas of the Orontes on the Suez Canal

Added by Dawn on 22 June 2011.
I sailed from England to Melbourne in 1960.
Two things l do remember is dad being very cross just because l embarrassed him by being sick at the dinning room table on our first night at sea and getting chucked out of the womens toilets by a steward. For some reason the gents toilet bowls were to high for me to have a wee. I dont remember where l went after that. In my defence l was only four. Im sure l had some good times.

Added by Gary Morris on 26 July 2011.
Hi My name is Eddie Vella I sailed from Sydney to Naples with my mum on the Orontes 31st August 1960..What a great trip that was I was 19years old and had a great time, , , , We spent 6 months in Malta and Travelled back to Sydney on the SS Oronsay in March 1961

Added by Eddie Vella on 22 August 2011.
Ah, brings back wonderful memories. Was anyone on the Orontes that arrived in Sydney (ex Tilbury via Suez) on Saturday morning 16th May 1953? My Mother, Father & Brother arrived in Australia to live.

Added by Michael Jones on 25 August 2011.
Hi My father was an officer on the Orontes 1960/61 his name was Frederick (Freddie) Morgan I believe he was a Junior Engineer, does anyone remember him. He was presumed to be lost overboard sometime during 1961.

Added by Rob Gillibrand on 30 September 2011.
Mum and I sailed on the ORONTES from Tilbury on the 7th May 1954 and arrived in Melbourne on the 7th June 1954, having traversed the Suez Canal during a difficult time and just before the ships stopped coming out that way. Anyone out there who was on that sailing, I would love to hear from you. I was 16 years old then and my name is John Dickinson

Added by John Dickinson on 30 September 2011.
I did four trips on Orontes as senior ordinary seaman from 15-7-1957 to 3-8-1958 I boxed for passenger entertainment, was tea chest base player in crew band called Deep Sea Rythm Boys. Chip Pan was our bosuns mate and my job was to empty swimming pool every night, scrub it all down with liquid soap and disinfectant. then refill. We were in the Indonesian crisis and were last passenger ship through Suez Canal owing to bombing. We had woman overboard in great Australian Bite. I have a million stories of life on Orontes also paper reviews if anyone interested. I also deck crew photographs

Added by Jimmy Forman on 03 October 2011.
I nearly drowned in that swimming pool some kid pushed me in and I couldn't swim. luckily for me a woman pulled me out (1959)

Added by Clarke Mc Dowell on 03 October 2011.
Glad to hear of another deck crew member . I was beginning to think she sailed without seamen.

Added by TED GREGG on 03 October 2011.
My family migrated on the Orontes in January 1957 for Perth, I was 10 and remember a happy trip with table tennis, swimming and the crossing of the Equator. Memories include visits to Las Palmas, Cape Town and Durban on route, and a particularly rough day crossing the Bay of Biscay. I have copies of the passenger list and several menus.

Added by Henry Houghton on 14 October 2011.
Hi Henry, I'm not sure if I came out in 56 or 57, could you check the Passenger list for me?

Editor: If someone's name is blue you can click it and email them that way directly, that way you do not have to post personal information on this site. So Henry, can you please contact Paul on his email?

Added by Paul H white on 14 October 2011.
My family & I migrated to Australia on the Orontes departing Tilbury docks & arriving in Melbourne on 6th April 1959. I was the youngest at 8 years of age. Our cabin steward was Mr Luck who used to entertain my brother & I while our parents played Bingo, referred to at the time as 'Housey Housey'. I recall my father won the fancy dress night award as 'A stowaway from Aden' my mother having lambasted him in a cocoa concoction to colour his pale skin.
Ha! would be politically incorrect to do that these days. I also recall the port of Aden & all the locals in small boats alongside the ship selling their wares i.e. timber & leather camel pouffe, one of which we bought at the time. Anyone who is happy to share copies of photos or menu's etc please contact me. Cheers.

Added by Linda Goodfellow (nee Lethaby on 21 October 2011.
On the 3rd of october Jimmy Forman [ordinary seaman], mentioned the'deep sea rhythm boys'and a woman overboard in the "bight". Firstly the band was founded by John Sharplin and Leslie Long. They were stewards. They are both deceased after many years living in Adelaide. The woman who went over the wall was miss Adele Duffield, who was a friend of theirs. When on leave they all used to board at Johns parents house in Gillingham. One of Johns younger brothers, (David), was also a steward on the Orontes and Oronsay. David is 74 an lives in Qld. I am Roger, Johns youngest brother! I also live in Adelaide and see Johns family often. I am also an ex steward. A 4th brother, richard (now deceased) was an able seaman! He regarded us as housemaids with testicles! Our father was 26 years Royal Navy, so it was a tradition in our family to go to sea. I am now 64 and live quietly here in adelaide with my wife of 27 years. You may have known David as well Jimmy! Best wishes to all ex crew!

Added by Roger Sharplin on 14 November 2011.
My brother and I departed Tilbury October and arrived in Sydney on 1 December 1960 aboard the "Orontes". We came under a Dr Barnardo's program and were later referred to as "unaccompanied child migrants" (part of the stolen generation?). WE came from the East End and when we arrived in Australia we lived in Kiama on the South Coast of NSW. We thought we had died and woken in heaven. I remember picking up the Australian Olympic Team in Naples (1960 Rome Olympics) and my brother and I sharing a table in the dining room with Betty Cuthbert. Great memories.

Added by David Hughes on 07 December 2011.
My Dutch father, Gerard van der Sommen, sailed for Melbourne on the Orontes on 26 April 1950. Whether the ship called at Rotterdam or if he would have had to travel from there to Tilbury first I do not know. He described the Orontes as a beautiful ship and the passengers as quite an international lot. He played bridge each night with a French textile dealer, an English farmer's son and a New Zealand sheep farmer and shared a cabin with another Dutchman. He was working on his knowledge of the English language and found plenty of passengers to practice with. Each morning he was awakened at 6.30 by the "bath steward", had tea in his cabin at 7.15am and in his letters home described the breakfasts elaborate, lunches lavish with the finest foods and dinners quite formal. There were 1100 passengers and 485 crew onboard. English Player cigarettes were very cheap (1.25 guilders for fifty!) We, his family joined him in Australia the following year but sailed on different ship.

Added by Elisabeth Anderson on 07 December 2011.
I was 12 yo when she was scrapt by my uncle in Valencia. She was the first big liner I had seen. I remember tha I liked to wander with my dog by the quiet decks, cabins, ..... There are still in my house some furnitures from the Orontes.

Added by Javier RAmos (naval engineer) on 26 January 2012.
My grandmother, Eleanor Maude Paull, origianlly came from England at the beginning of the 20th century, with her new husband, an Aussie who had fought in the 1st World War in France. She returned to England, with one of my cousins, to see her remaining family in 1952 aboard the Orontes. We still have her diary that she kept of the journey. She travelled on the Orontes, leaving Sydney in January of 1952, to visit her family in Shropshire, and then returned on a ship, the name we do not know, to arrive back in Australia in October of the same year. I am 62 years of age, and only just became aware of her diary, and have been reading it with a great deal of interest - it has been like re-living the journey with her. My older cousin, John, travelled as a child with our grandmother for the whole journey. Unfortunately I lost contact with John about thirty eight years ago. It has been wonderful to read the many comments of past passengers.

Added by Rob Paull on 07 February 2012.
I sailed on the Orontes for five trips from Tilbury starting 26/11/51 till 25/3/1953 firstly as Stewards Boy then 1st Class Waiter it certainly brings back memories of the ship and Australia in the earlier days

Added by Den Barrett on 16 February 2012.
I was 7 years old in 1945 and my mother sister and I were on the Orontes, the first transport ship with ex-prisoners of the Japanese camps in Indonesia. We were close to starvation and my memory of the staff was that they gave us chocolates and candies during our voyage to Southampton. There we changed ships to travel to the Netherlands. I have good memories of the voyage after having spend 3 1/2 years in the camps.

Added by Hanny Lester-Rosdorff on 13 March 2012.
I was born on the Orontes on 30th July 1960 when my parents were migrating from Lebanon. My birth certificate shows 'Arthur Orontes Michael born at sea on board Orontes 2 days out of Port Said' . I made the papers on my parents arrival and when I turned 21, recieved a free cruise from P&O; and made the papers again (Daily Telegraph).

Added by Arthur Orontes Michael on 28 March 2012.
Orontes carried troops between Bombay and England August/September 1946. I have a mottled black and white, dated picture of her which I wish to replace as my father was on board on that voyage.

Added by Howard Prewer on 17 April 2012.
Hi there I sailed on the Orontes as an 8 year old boy in late 1957. We departed Tilbury on October 29th and for me it was the adventure of a lifetime, to embark in a big ship that took you to the other side of the world.The ship with all its many floors, corridors , classes of passengers, it was an adventure for a small boy. I got seasick at the beginning , lots!, but after you got used to the sailing , great! I remember all the ports of call including Naples, visit to Pompei, Port Said, trading with the egyptian merchants down below in their boats, arguing about whether the goods go up first or the money goes down first. Then Aden and Columbo , todays Sri lanka. Yes I remember sleeping on deck in the heat, the porpoises swimming at the bow, being coated in icecream by King Neptune on the equator and that one time eating at the captains table. We arrived in Australia either last days of November, or early december, Freemantle, where I had my first milkshake in those gigantic metal containers, Adelaide, Melbourne where we met cousins for the first time and Sydney. For me the voyage was not over as we continued to Auckland New Zealand on the Wanganella arriving there on Dec 10, 1957. When I see the film Titanic all my memories of the Orontes (apart from sinking!!!)come flowing back to me. The greatest adventure of all!!

Added by John Ponger on 17 April 2012.
Hi There, Great to read all these fantastic comments. My Father was George Ross and he served on board during the late fifties and early sixties. I think he may have been Bosuns mate. When I was young he used to tell me about all the exotic stops en route to Australia. A different world, now lost for ever.

George died in Hong Kong in 1982. I would love to hear from any of his old ship mates (

Added by David Ross on 28 May 2012.
Hi, I travelled to Australia on the Orontes in 1958, 5th February to mid March, from Tilbury to Sydney. My name is Mike, I was the heldest (8 yrs) of four brothers, with Mum & Dad. The memories are very clear and mirror the comments of John Ponger above, although we visited Naples on our return in 1960 traveling on the MV Fairsea.
That time of my life was a great adventure for me, however the move to the other side of the world was a brave one by my parents, as we lived in the outback in Bogabilla NSW. I have revisited Australia and the area in which I lived, and very little had changed in the outback.

Added by Michael White on 20 June 2012.
My family and I sailed from Tilbery 31/01/1961 to Melbourne 07/03/1961 I was 13 years old and the 5 weeks we spent aboard were some of the best times of my life, apart from the 2 days being sick crossing the Bay Of Biscay. The Orontes was on its 4th last trip to Australia and was the only Orient Line ship without stablisers, so it rocked and rolled in rough seas.

Added by Barrie Crombie on 21 June 2012.
I went to Australia on the Orontes as a child-- in Feb/ March 1955. Was anyone else on that trip?

Added by Louise Harper on 06 July 2012.
I sailed on the Orontes, as a cabin steward (I ran away to sea), it was its last voyage and we went via South Africa for some reason. I know it was its last voyage because on our return trip we ran up against the mole in Marseille harbour leaving a large gash in its hull, it must have heeled over as the hole was above the sea-line. I think this was due to the mistral that blows across the harbour and this was due to the mismanagement of the captain and pilot and the number of tugs used. If I remember correctly the passengers were sent home by train and 100 of the crew were flown home by an Air France constellation, at their own cost (13 pounds sterling?).

Added by Tony Ball on 10 July 2012.
I also sailed on the Orontes 1956/1957 with my family. My name is Ann Garden and what beautiful memories I have. They organized running races around the deck. I didn't like the ice cream or going to the school. I would like to meet up with
a crew member who was very nice to our family, his name is Ron Courtney.

Added by Ann Garden on 24 September 2012.
our names are Peter and Jean Mcardle and sailed on the SS Orontes to Adelaide in 1960 landing in the April of that year. We had an onboard friendship with Sheila and Tony George from London if my memory serves me right. They disembarked in Fremantel and made the rest of their journey by car over the Nulabar Plains travel to Tasmainia Phew!!! Would love to reconnect.

Added by Jean Mcardle on 21 October 2012.
My name is Roy Rehm and I sailed on the Orontes in 1954 December I think from Adelaide back to Tilbury, I have photos from on board and I think we were one of the last ships back through the Suez Canal where the "Johnies" used to come up to the ship in their boats, I sent down fruit and I got a musical box which I still have, I have also got the menus and a certificate for crossing the Equator. A wonderful journey, only wished my father had left me with my Mum back in Adelaide where I have a very large family, still memories.

Added by Roy Rehm on 12 December 2012.
Tony, it was my first voyage at sea and I flew home.

Added by Michael Fitzsimons on 07 January 2013.
My family arrived in Fremantle on 03 Dec 1950 and I am trying to find out the departure date & port of the SS Orontes. I have managed to get a copy of the passenger list for the voyage but it doesn't have the departure date. My father was on a government contract and stayed on until he passed away in 2000. I believe we travelled 1st class. Any help would be appreciated.

Added by Anne Hammett on 17 January 2013.
Orontes would have left TILBURY mid October for the five weeks voyage to Freemantle , calling at ADELAIDE /MELBOURNE /SYDNEY , and sometimes she would call at BRISBANE . 1st Class Passengers mostly travelled on A and B DECKS , Ted Gregg, Ex crew member.

Added by TED GREGG on 17 January 2013.
After arriving in Australia in 1950 all of us children used to go down to the beach at Glenelg and watch the ships go pass through the Great Australian Bite and I am sure this was one of them.I came back to England on her and one of the Stewards signed my autograph book as Steward Granger.It was years before I realised what he meant.

Added by Roy Rehm on 17 January 2013.
Any one have details of the passenger list for the Orontes that left Tilbury on May 13 or 14 1958 for Australia?

Added by Bill Rowlands on 17 January 2013.
I have recently come across some photos from the Orontes, I'm not sure what year these are from but with the little research I have done I am guessing they are from 1958-1960?? That'ss just a guess. I would love to reunite them with their owners or owners children. The pictures are of and older man and lady sitting on a bench, a young girl with a box over another young girls head, a lady standing on the ship, a lady waving to the ship and a few of the ship its self. If these photos may be your family please email me I am willing to pass them back to their owners :) thanks.


Added by Shavon Hammond on 02 February 2013.
I was on this ship, when it left UK on 11th August 1954. Went via Suez, Naples, on to Australia - got off at Sydney. Was rather hot trip my parents told me. My Mum was Audrey Glover (alive) and my Dad, Ronald Glover (just deceased). He was an ex Army Officer. We travelled from Birmingham to catch Orontes. Us kids, namely Jayne (now 62) and me (now 61) were part of that great migration to Australia. Anyone else on that particular voyage (left UK August 1954) ?. Nick Glover, West Midlands.

Added by Nicholas Glover on 05 March 2013.
I was on S.S Orontes final voyage October/November 1961.
I was 13 years old travelling with my Father, Mother and Brother.I still have the P & O - Orient Lines ticket!
We boarded on 6th October 1961, at Port Adelaide and were sailing to Tilbury.
I love ships and S.S.Orontes was a Grand Old Lady.
I can confirm the post of Tony Ball, 10th, July, 2012.
Orontes was badly damaged entering Marseilles and I can remember it well.
Sadly we had to continue overland by train to the U.K.
It is great to read the other posts, sleeping on deck, Crossing the Line, the wonderful ports, remember the Gully Gully man?
I would be happy to exchange memories with anyone regarding their voyage.

Happy days!

Added by Frank Vincent on 05 March 2013.
I migrated from Scotland in 1958 on the Orontes, not sure of all the dates.
But I am looking for some of the people I met on that ship , Ann Massie , and sister Ray and Richard Hollis

Added by Patsy Murray [Sheppard] on 21 March 2013.
Thanks to this wonderful site I have successfully managed to contact a fellow passenger and an ex - Cabin Steward on the " Orontes final voyage ".
It was great contacting these fellow travellers as Orontes has some special memories for me.
The picture on the site is superb!
My best wishes to all the past Orontes passengers in Australia / UK and elsewhere.



Added by Frank Vincent on 21 March 2013.
I was chief larder cook on the "Orontes" during her in penultimate trip, I must say she was one of the happiest shipped I ever sailed on.

Added by Marti Russell on 22 March 2013.
Wonderful stories, the Orontes was my first ship
I was a deck boy late 58 early 59, 3 trips.I have on board photos, and a xmas crews menu 1958.
They were wonderful days great memories.
Did three trips.

Added by Mr John Ludlow on 25 March 2013.
My parents and I emigrated from Switzerland via England to New Zealand on the Orontes in 1953. My only memories are of the Suez Canal, my mother being seasick and a children's fancy dress party!

Added by Sue Heyer-Weber on 26 March 2013.
I have just found out my dad, his 2 brothers and their parents travelled to Canberra from Tilsbury on the 17/01/1961 anyone else on the ship at that time? Their name was Goodson

Added by Diane Goodson - Kaiwai on 03 April 2013.
I was 8yrs old and traveled with my Dad and Mum, Ken and Bobby, and little sister, Frankie from Tilbury on New years Day, 1949. We hit a bad storm in the Bay of Biscay and I was seasick most of the time thereafter. I recall there was damage to the lifeboat davits as the waves were so high. Any other kids (now oldies )who recall the trip? The only ones I recall were the Cosburn family. We now live in Perth but grew up in Melbourne.

Added by John Craigie on 10 April 2013.
I travelled to Australia on the SS Orontes leaving Tilbury Docks on the 7th May 1954, I was six years old and came out with my parents and three siblings to Sydney. I can still remember the Bum-Boats at Alexandria and the trip through the Suez Canal, but what I remember the most was crossing the Equator and the party onboard with King Neptune coming out of the ocean dripping in seaweed. I still have the ships menu from that

Added by Paul Kenny on 15 April 2013.
I travelled to Australia with my mum ruby, dad, bill and sister linda leaving Tilbury on November 28th 1958 and arriving in Melbourne 28th December 1958. I will always remember that day as it was 108 degrees. I was only 6 at the time. I too can remember crossing the equator getting covered in flour travelling through the Suez canal, Colombo. We ended up at the Brooklyn migrant hostel. We met a family named Fields on the trip.

Added by Steve Jones on 18 April 2013.
Alasdair Scott Sutherland...just wondering did you ever get your book finished as would as very interested in buying a copy. We traveled on the Orontes in 1958 when I was 8 years old and my Parents names were Frederick Wright/Martha Wright. There was 5 children Frederick 16 years old, Carol 14 years, Graham 10, me Gillian 8 and Vanessa who was 4 years old. we ended up on a hostel in a suburb of Wollongong called Berkeley and lived there for 5 years. We all remained in Australia and made our lives here but I often think about the wonderful time on The Orontes and what had happened to her.

Added by Gillian Prados nee Wright on 20 April 2013.
can anyone please help with arrival papers for Orontes 1955 from England to Australia or please tell me wear I might be able to get them?

Added by Sandra Taylor on 10 May 2013.
Sandra Taylor My family arrived in Australia in March 1955 (see my earlier comment ) I got the passenger list / arrival information from Immigration Australia, Perth (Fremantle was our port of arrival in the country)

Added by Louise Harper on 10 May 2013.
EDITOR: Please note that no further comments are accepted without providing an email address.

Added by Marcel Gommers - Editor on 19 May 2013.
My name is Robert Baird I left England in September 1952 from Tilbury on the SS Orontes with my parents and I was 12 years old we came through the Suez Canal and we left the ship in Melbourne and went by train to Brisbane where I still live.

Added by Robert Baird on 12 June 2013.
Has anyone got a guest list please of the Orontes from Bombay to Tilbury, late October 1961, never made Tilbury due to storm damage

Added by William Gordon on 17 June 2013.
My grandfather was 9 when he returned to England (having been born in India) on the Orontes along with his mother and brothers in 1945. The ship docked in Southampton on the 2nd/3rd September and I would love to locate some photographs of this ship to reignite some of his memories. If anyone can help? I have located the whole family on the passenger lists but he has no photographs.

Added by Charlotte Caulkin on 17 June 2013.
My family left Tilbury on the Orontes in 1958, heading for Melbourne, half way to Australia we were informed that our destination would be Sydney. I was wondering if this happened to anyone else?.As we had no one waiting for us, it did not really matter. It certainly was a grand old ship, have lovely memories of that voyage.

Added by Bill Ferguson on 17 June 2013.
My name is Jeff my parents, Betty & Bill Clarke, my brothers Michael and Richard, sisters Christine and Linda and of course myself arrived in Melbourne in March 1958, I had my 5th birthday on board and still have the birthday party menu with the names of all those kids who had birthdays during our passage out. I have a couple of pics of myself and my elder sister beside the pool, and am often told by my mum that I won the dress up competition in a Peter Pan outfit made out of paper.

Added by Jeff Clarke on 18 June 2013.
Also arrived in Australia in 1959.Knew a Steward named "Taffy". Shame she was scrapped, she was in great condition.Water came through the Porthole, one rough day.And picked up Stowaways from the "Strathmore" Which my father was on during the War.

Added by R.Hopley on 06 July 2013.
I have just come across this lovely picture of Orontes. It was painted for my husband and I by Ian Boyd. He got it almost right, we met working on Orontes and sailed on several trips between 1960 and 1962 when the ship was scrapped. My husband was a Chippy (carpenter) not a Steward and I was a Nursery Stewardess looking after the children of the £10 Poms! We got married in 1963 and have just celebrated our Golden Wedding. The picture has pride of place on our sitting room wall.

Added by Doreen Foxwell on 07 July 2013.
Glad to have found this site. Sailed from Tilbury in May/June 1946 to Valletta Malta. I was 5yrs and my sister was 2. My memories are very vivid and I remember all the service men leaning over the rails at Tilbury. We had a large cabin all to our selves, the bathrooms were further along the deck. Waiters in tailcoats served us from "silver" teapots on damask table clothes. My mother said the ship had carried important people to Britain to celebrate V.E.Day .We were going to Malta to meet my father RW Sackett who worked with the Air Ministry Works department. We had a special tea party for us children. My sister learnt new words like cabin and bunk and we loved going on the lift. Reaching Gibraltar was very colourful with all the little boat vendors clustering around the ship. Valletta Harbour was I sight I shall never forget - the brilliant blue sea, the honey coloured buildings and somewhere on shore was my father waiting for us to disembark.

Added by Anita Howard nee Sackett on 08 July 2013.
My family sailed from Durban to Fremantle on Orontes in Sept. 1961. This would be it''s last trip out to Australia. I was 15 at the time. Loved the ship.

Added by Margaret Strickland[ nee Walker] on 13 July 2013.
I was another 1955 £10 passenger but I'm afraid I won't be much help as I was only 6. I do remember Suez... and the smell! What an amazing record of life here. My parents were Robert and Margaret and my sister was Roberta. Mum and Dad now both passed on but they made their lives in every way in Australia, Dad rising to be a Clerk of Works in Canberra where we had settled in the Mount Ainslie Hostel.
Strangely, I can still remember the menus in soft pastel colours with very 1950's designs.
We all came back in 1968 on the Castel Feliche via Acapulco - a tugboat by comparison! I stayed and the family went back to Perth.

Added by Joe Rock on 25 July 2013.
I travelled to Australia on this glorious old lady departing Tilbury 15/09/59 arriving Sydney 22/10/59.We stopped at Gib. Naples, Port Said, Aden, Columbo, Perth Adelaide, Melbourne and then Sydney.I was 13 years old and had a fabulous time.The most memorable things form me were the trips ashore especially Naples because we visited Pompei.I also recall with equal pleasure of tha wondrous afternoon teas served up on the Orontes. Is it possible to purchase posters or, even, postcards?

Added by Roger Smith on 29 August 2013.
Wow Roger, yu summed it up. My comments are further up on the page and of course I remember all those stops too identical at end 57 voyage. But the one thing I forgot to mention was the side trip to Pompeii which I did too as an 8 year old . I remember being truly fascinated by the whole place and what happened there and remember that children were banned from seeing certain rooms which I found out later were the pompeians brothels with erotic pics on the walls!!!

Added by John Ponger on 29 August 2013.
Further to my entry 29.08.13.I was 1 of 19 children travelling to Fairbridge Farm School in N.S.W. I shared a cabin on E deck. Our cabin steward was a Frank Axel who looked after us very well despite knowing that he had no chance of a tip.In what was then Ceylon I had my first ever "proper" curry in the form of a delicious samosa which went a long way to compensate for the first dead body that I had seen in Aden!!!

Added by Roger Smith on 17 September 2013.
I came over to Australia on the Orontes with my parents Frank & Winnie Ingle on the Voyage leaving Durban 4/9/61(1 day late due to weather cond.) arriving Sydney 24/9/61. We were coming to see my paternal grandmother. Can't seem to find any other passengers from that voyage. Have wonderful memories of that trip.

Added by Merle Swain(nee Ingle) on 25 September 2013.
We migrated to Australia on the Orontes, we arrived in Adelaide on 20th August 1960. I was 7 at the time and I still remember some of the fun times. My younger sister and I were lucky, we had a really nice steward who used to sneak us fruit and treats because we were too young for the evening entertainment and he used to keep an eye on us. I also remember when they forgot to shut the port holes in some rough seas and the water came crashing in through the dining room port holes and some waiters fell over - it wasn't funny really, but to us it was something out of a slapstick comedy we couldn't stop laughing.

Added by Yvonne Norman on 30 September 2013.
My dad, jim Doig (dodger/doigy) worked as a boiler man on this ship in 1956. If anyone remembers him, please contact. He.would like to hear from Geordie smith from Dundee, and frank convoy, who was a fireman

Added by Lisa Doig on 03 October 2013.
I arrived in Fremantle with my parents and sister in March 1959. I had my 4th birthday on the ship coming over from Scotland. We grew up in Adelaide but I now live in Fremantle Western Australia.

Added by Judith Murray on 08 November 2013.
As a 21 year old girl thrilled to be off and away for a year's adventure in UK and Europe, I departed Sydney with a girlfriend on 7th December 1960. What a beautiful ship was the old Orontes - I shall never forget the magnificent timber staircase and those stately funnels. The six-week trip provided so many wonderful ports-of-call. Plane travellers of today miss out on the real 'travel' experience! My girlfriend and I have remained Sydney residents and despite marriage, families including grandchildren, still 'phone each other on 7th December every year to reminisce about our trip. Having stumbled on this website tonight I am inspired to rummage in my cupboard for my scrapbook of Orontes memorabilia - last time I looked there was still a packet of sugar from Orontes' dining table! I know I have passenger lists, daily news-sheets from the voyage. How wonderful it was to stand on Orontes' deck late one evening as we passed through the Straits of Messina and saw the red glow from Mt. Etna! never-to-be-forgotten memories of a beautiful old ship and the joy she provided.

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell until 1963) on 19 November 2013.
I sailed on the Orontes on it's voyage from Sydney to London in June 1961. I was returning to the UK after working my way around New Zealand and Australia. I believe she did another round trip, although we were told it was her last trip before the breakers.

Added by Roy Wilkinson on 04 December 2013.
My family John and Lynne Sheehan with young children Phillip and Lindy (me) sailed from Sydney to Southampton in late 1949 or early 1950. They are not alive now and I am seeking anyone who was on the ship who remembers them and can give me any more details. How would I find a passenger list around that time?

Added by Lindy Lear (nee Sheehan) on 31 December 2013.
My parents met on her final voyage - dad a steward and Mum a passenger ...... Maybe it needs duplicating !? :)

Added by Sandra Watson on 07 January 2014.
my parents and 3 siblings came to Australia on this ship 1958. went on to have a further 6 children.I am soooo glad they moved to Australia, tooooo cold in England for me.

Added by Lorraine on 10 January 2014.
My parents emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania from Wigan Lancashire, in March 1958 to work in a new textile firm Silk and Textiles. I grew up and went to school and started work there. a beautiful Island. Thanks Orontes fro getting us all safely there.

Added by Mildred Denise Prior Whittake. on 23 February 2014.
Departed Tilbury 10 June 1959 via the Suez. I was 8 yrs old and it was the adventure of a lifetime. We stopped in Port Said, Aden and Columbia (but couldn't get off there as the ferry men were on strike), Perth, Adelaide Melbourne and Sydney. I remember we went through a monsoon in the Indian Ocean - it was rough - lots of sea sickness - as a kid I didn't appreciate how bad it was - apparently we were at some risk, and they lost contact with land for a couple of days. Loved the ship. It seemed so big at the time, but only 20, 000 tons - not big at all compared to the new cruise ship. I shared a cabin with a boy from another family as there were five in both families - we had a great time.

Added by John Watkeys on 08 March 2014.
My parents Cliff and Evelyn Prior and myself (aged 4). emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania on the Orontes March 1958 . They were going to work in a new textile factory with many others from Wigan.

Added by Mildred Prior. Whittaker on 18 March 2014.
It's such a shame that travel within Australia is so expensive otherwise we could organise an Orontes reunion!!!!!I would love to party again with those who shared our 4th birthday on the ship coming over: there were lots of us. we will all be 60 in 2015; woo hoo!

Added by Judith Murray on 20 March 2014.

Added by TED GREGG on 20 March 2014.
Hi Judith and members maybe we can do State by State reunions to start with to save some travel costs, then expand to a central one in the future, but we better do it soon, as we are all getting old. Cheers all. Just toss it around, I'm in Central Queensland now.

Added by Paul White on 21 March 2014.
Good comment Ted. Although not on my trip over I owe gratitude to crew; I went missing; my parents must have been besides themselves as I was so young just 4 years old; but alas I was found safe and well by probably a deckboy like yourself.

Added by Judith Murray on 21 March 2014.
Thanks Paul I'm in Fremantle WA

Added by Judith Murray on 21 March 2014.
Hi. Mildred Prior here from 1958 trip from UK to Tasmania. I am now in UK so my reunion would be a bit far. I have just turned 60. Best wishes to you all🙋

Added by Mildred Prior. Whittaker on 21 March 2014.
Would love to meet up but I'm in New Zealand and went to Australia from UK as a nine year old in 1955 So perhaps we could have a reunion for all ages who were on the Orontes say in the 50's I would be happy to go over to Oz

Added by Louise Mc Gurk nee Harper on 21 March 2014.
Agree with Ted (20/3/14)- the site needs input from crew/officers! Also agree with Paul (21/3/14) in that Australian State reunions would be nice for starters - we could bring along our Orontes memorabilia and have a 'show and tell'! Rosalie, Sydney resident. My previous comment was 19/11/2013.

Added by Rosalie Lucas on 21 March 2014.
Still trying to find someone who may have been of the old boat arriving melbourne late january, 1949. All in favour too of State by State reunions. now in Perth.

Added by John Craigie on 22 March 2014.
My name is Lynn Russell I turned four on the boat in 1954. My father Len used to sing on the stage on the boat. He was a crooner, voice like Dean Martin. I would live photos of him if anyone had any. I have a photo of ten 4 year old girls lined up for the prettiest little girl competition if anyone is interested. What an smazing trip it was. I remember the Suez Canal the boats with the men selling us leather camels which were pulled up on ropes. Colombo where I had a tooth removed.

We settled in Canberra at the Ainslie Hostel where my father continued to sing. I'd love photos of that too.

They were so brave to come, I live Australia but still miss the Mancunian culture, the laughter, the accents.

Best Lynn

Added by Lynn Russell on 22 March 2014.
My family came to Australia on the last trip leaving Tilbury on either the 4th or 5th December 1961. We hit a bad storm in the Channel with waves that towered over the ship. She would go up, up, up then down with a crash. I was 14 at the time and thought it was a great adventure. The noise of the rivets screaming was awful and I thought it was going to break up but the steward explained to me that the little bit of flex in every rivet was what made the ship able to handle the terrific stresses in the storm. I remember at dinner that day, the dining room was almost empty and our steward looked very green. Either the next day or the day after was when the woman fell overboard. I was very pleased to read above that she survived as I had always thought she had drowned. She floated face down past the ship just before the lifeboat got to her.
We were the first ship through the Suez Canal, as I remember, after it had been cleared. I remember some stewards talking about how they hoped all the mines were clear. Because of the trouble, we were not allowed to go ashore at Port Said so all the traders came out in little boats. It was totally chaotic trying to trade between the deck and the water and in the end, the Captain allowed some of them to come on board and set up shop on deck. My mother bought a big basket which we used as a laundry basket in Australia. My father, for reasons known only to himself, bought a camel whip as a souvenir that had a long blade in the handle. It didn't make it through customs.
We arrived in Australian waters off Fremantle but the Captain dropped anchor and held off going ashore until the next day. This was because we had a lot of Scots in the crew and it was New Years's Eve. He thought he would never find the crew again .
As it was, there was an almighty party on board that night. Being of Scottish extraction myself, I put on my kilt, which was usually only for special occasions, borrowed my father's accordion and wandered from party to party playing the few Scottish tunes I could manage. Sleep beat me long before the lemonade ran out.
The next day we all went ashore. Some people went into Perth but we were happy to explore Fremantle. It looked like a town from a cowboy movie with its dusty streets and long verandahs. I loved it.
We were due to sail in the early afternoon but true to the captain's fears, many of the crew had not returned. The police were sent out to comb the bars for them and we all watched from the decks as each police van pulled up, opened the back doors and poured out the occupants. We all sang, "What will we do with the drunken sailor" each group helped each other up the gangplank.
When we finally got underway, several of the crew had not been found. All but one rejoined the ship in Melbourne. I always wondered what happened to the other one.
The Orontes was a beautiful ship and when the weather was fine, she was beautiful to sail in as well. When it was rough, you really noticed the fact that she had no stabilisers, like more modern ships. I was very upset to know that she was being scrapped. You still see occasional pieces of cutlery or plates etc. on eBay and of course, sites like this help keep the memories alive.
By the time I was able to make a return trip to England, the route was all by air. It was 36 hours back then of total boredom. It is such a shame the sea route is not still available.

Added by John Armstrong on 28 March 2014.
John you brought back some forgotten memories as I read your comment, thank you

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 02 April 2014.
Yes reading Johns account certainly brought back memories of the ship and Aussie ports having gone ashore at them all and had a few pints and as it was called then a few bottles of wine (Dr Penfolds plonk ) as I said in Feb 2012 I was a waiter from 1951 to 1953 (so must have seen you Ted Gregg at sometime while on deck ) I haven't got any passenger lists for that time but do have some Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menu's. Also I do have a couple of Passenger list's from when I was on the RANGiTOTO (New Zealand Shipping Line ) early 1951 when I first started in the Merchant Navy

Added by Den Barrett on 03 April 2014.
Brings back happy momories of an era that is no longer with us. Our family travelled from Tilbury on the 7th May 1954 to Sydney. Sad to say I am now the remaining member of my family that had the privilage of travelling on the Orontes, what a grand ship she was to a 6 year old at that time.

Added by Martin Band on 03 April 2014.
I love reading the accounts from other past Orontes passengers, wonderful to have shared such an experience.
John Armstrong's account, (28th March 2014)however makes me think I have been misguided for many years about the fate of Orontes.
I believed, as did Tony Ball, an ex crew member, (posted 10th July 2012)that we were on the final voyage of the Orontes.
My post of 5th March 2013 describes the events in line with Tony's recollections.
John's dates however indicate that Orontes must have been repaired and continued until she was scrapped in 1962 at Valencia.
Does anyone know how many sailings she made after November 1961 when our voyage came to a watery end?
I am slightly confused also regarding John's comments regarding Suez, " We were the first ship through the Suez Canal, as I remember, after it had been cleared. I remember some stewards talking about how they hoped all the mines were clear".
I have no recollections of problems in 61/62 in the Suez Canal, Orontes came from Australia, via Suez before our mishap at Marseille, Oct/November 1961.
Perhaps John or some Orontes buff can clarify these queries, it would be much appreciated, I have looked on the web but can't find anything regarding Orontes sailings or indeed Suez issues at that time?

Regards to all,


Added by Frank Vincent on 03 April 2014.
Frank is right about Suez, we came thru Suez in February 1961 and we were told it was her 4th last round trip.

Added by Barrie Crombie on 04 April 2014.
Hello Martin
I got a bit confused there when writing. The Orontes was the first ship through the canal after it was reopened but that was a year or two earlier. The tensions remained however which was why we were not allowed ashore and the stewards comments on that occasion was that he hoped there were no mines left. It was apparently a worry that they had not been all cleared and an odd stray could still be there but this was either groundless fears on the part of the stewards or an attempt to pull the wool over a young boy's eyes by pretending it was still dangerous. I suspect the latter.
There was also still some obstacles that we had to watch out for apparently and there seemed to be a general relief when we made it through.

Added by John Armstrong on 04 April 2014.
As far as I understand there was no mining of the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis 1956 ( thought Nasser did sink some ships in it and it didn't open again until 1957) but between 1973 - 1974 the Arab - Israeli War ( Yom Kippur War ) resulted in mining the Canal which was eventual cleared by the British and American Navy ( Operation Rheostat ) and finally opened I believe in 1975 hope this might help

Added by Den Barrett on 04 April 2014.
Yes, like I said, the stewards were probably setting me up. Ah well, it has only taken 50 years to get the story straight.

Added by John Armstrong on 04 April 2014.
I was working on Orontes as a Nursery Stewardess in Oct/Nov 1961 when she had the mishap in Marseilles. As I remember the passengers were sent back to UK overland, the crew stayed on board and Orontes was patched up and limped back to go into dry dock in Southampton for repair. My husband and I were part of the crew who sailed on her final voyage from Tilbury to Sydney and arrived back in February 1962.

Added by Doreen Foxwell on 04 April 2014.
Hi all,

Many thanks for your comments, very much appreciated.
Thanks also for the emails sent by Tom Blackwood, lovely to hear from someone in Australia, a wonderful country!
Well I now know that Orontes must have made at least one more round trip after our mishap in November, 1961.
That would tie in with John's dates.
They must have replaced the plates reasonably quickly in order that she could continue sailing.
What we do know is that she was scrapped sometime in 1962 at Valencia.
I will never forget the incident at Marseille, I remember a crew member remarking " you could drive a Rolls Royce through the hole in her side"
Out cabin was in the bowels of Orontes, H124 according to the ticket which I still have!
Water was seeping into the corridors as we went down to our cabin at the Captains request shortly after we hit the mole.
Titanic, thankfully it was not, but it was very worrying to many passengers, my parents included.
To me as a 13 year old it was just another part of a great adventure.
I was quite upset having to leave Orontes and missing our next port of Gibraltar and the final leg to Tilbury.
The train from Marseille through France and finally the ferry crossing to England was no substitute for our missed time on Orontes.
I remember arriving finally at Victoria station freezing cold and yearning to be back in Adelaide!
I have cruised probably 30 - 40 times since Orontes but I still think of her with great affection, she really was a grand old lady.
Best wishes to everyone who sailed on her and I look forward to reading your memories.



Added by Frank Vincent on 04 April 2014.
Yes I wanted to add my comment also re Suez Canal. I was on Orontes sailing from Tilbury on October 29 1957and we went thru the canal and exactly that scenario, no one off at Port Said and the traders coming up to side of ship in small boats . See my story further up the page. I remember Suez Canal well even though I was only 8 at the time Suez and Egypt was of gr8 interest to me as I am Jewish and as we sailed thru the canal I knew Israel was somewhere to the left of us.

Added by John Ponger on 04 April 2014.
Hi Rob.
I too was an engineer on Orontes and remember the night we lost Freddie.

Added by Peter Clay on 04 April 2014.
My family arrived in Adelaide on 20/08/1960 and we were always told that the Orontes would make one more trip then be scrapped.

Added by Yvonne Norman on 05 April 2014.
you are right. it was earlier when the Orontes sailed thru the canal. I left Tilbury on the Orontes on October 29 1957 and we went thru the canal,
Johns comments about the egyptian traders are exactly my memories too.We also bought the big basket for laundry !!!!
For me the Suez Canal was of big interes and even as an 8 year old I new what had gone on there. As im Jewish and was aware that there had been a war there with Israel. And when we sailed thru the canal I knew that Israel was somewhere up there on the left handside.!!! See my comments on the Orontes trip much further up the page from 17 April 2012

Added by John Ponger on 06 April 2014.
Another memory of that trip was Colombo. I had never seen so many people crowded together as we saw that day. You literally had to push your way through the crowds. It was also interesting to me as where I came from in the south of England, at that time the only "foreigners" were Welsh or Irish (plus my Dad who was a Scot).
It is hard to believe looking back that when I left England, the only coloured people I had ever seen were an Indian who came once a year selling things from door to door and some sailors when the American fleet visited. We thought the Indian man was splendid and he wore a big turban just like in the picture books.
In Colombo, we stood out as being different with our pale pink English winter complexions.
It was also the first time I had seen beggars and we were all moved by the condition of some of them. Many had limbs missing or other ailments and they lay in the street calling for help. It was hard to pass without giving something but there were so many of them it was impossible to make much of a difference.
From Colombo we sailed for Fremantle passing many small islands on the way. Having read R.M.Ballantyne's "The Coral Island" not that long before, it was very romantic for a fourteen year old. We saw two things there I had also never seen before, porpoises swimming beside the ship and flying fish which skimmed over the surface almost as fast as we were travelling.
By the time we reached Melbourne, the ship was apparently in pretty bad shape as only essential repairs were being done as everyone knew she was to be scrapped.
We were told that she was going on to Sydney then Brisbane then on to Hong Kong to be broken up. There must have been another change of pland as she returned to Europe and was scrapped in Spain. I have never heard of any passengers being carried after Brisbane. Perhaps the Hong Kong arrangement fell through and she had to be brought back to Europe.
We heard that she was leaking badly in the bow and again, I don't know how much to believe but we were told that the leak had been plugged with mattresses. Does that sound likely?
Also, at least one of the engines had stopped working by Melbourne - she left Fremantle on the 1sr January 1962 and took five days to Melbourne, arriving on the 6th. Fortunately, the trip across the Great Australian Bight was calm and at times we were close enough to see the land in the distance so it was a pleasant and interesting trip for us, though perhaps not so pleasant for the crew who had to keep her going.

Added by John Armstrong on 09 April 2014.
I have a booklet of the route it took England to Australia

Added by Nick on 09 April 2014.
Wow JohnArmstrong, I'm overwhelmed by your descriptions of the trip. Again I echo what you said . I too have that distinct memories of the masses of people in Colombo and also being shocked by the sight of beggars in the street with missing limbs. Also the flying fish and porpoises. As I said before the greatest adventure of all for a small boy aged 8. Great regards to all my fellow Orontes voyagers .

Added by John Ponger on 09 April 2014.
Thanks to Doreen, (Added by Doreen Foxwell on 04 April 2014)it looks as though the mystery of Orontes final days has been solved.
It took 53 years but thanks to this wonderful site and past passengers and crew comments we have all learned something.
It's wonderful that we all share memories of S.S. Orontes, the grand old lady that she was.



Added by Frank Vincent on 10 April 2014.
I posted an entry on 12 February 2011 about my voyage on the Orontes from Tilbury round the Cape to Sydney via Fremantle in 1956. It amazes me that I have never seen another post from anyone on that voyage. It was a very significant voyage because it was the first one to go round the Cape because of the seizure of the Suez Canal by Col: Nasser in 1956.Where are your shipmates?

Added by Nick Bell on 10 April 2014.
My mother Joan Thomas, brother David and myself Julie (nee Thomas)also came out on this ship as 10 pound poms. I was 3 at the time. My father flew ahead of us (poor mum). I have photos eating ice-cream on the deck with some other children.

We arrived in Sydney on 21 May 1957.

Mum has good memories of this ship, but it must have been hard for her looking after 2 young children.

Added by Julie Hodder on 11 April 2014.
Did anyone land in melbourne late Jan 1949? was only eight at the time with very few nice memories as was an awful trip. bay of biscay was nasty - so mcuh so that the lifeboat davits were actually damaged by the waves and Bass Strait not much better. needless to say was seasick most of the trip.

Added by John Craigie on 11 April 2014.
Further to my post on 13 Nov 2010.
I remember sailing through the Suez Canal in June/July 1959, the ship seemed so close to the shore that I could clearly see a man riding his camel along the bank. At Port Said the traders would send goods up in a basket and passengers would send the money back in the basket. I remember my two older brothers sending Monopoly Money down instead of the real thing. Dad made them send back whatever it was that they bought. Mum bought a small stuffed camel. The Captain allowed some snake charmers on deck to entertain us. I also remember going ashore at night in a small boat at either Aden or Columbo, probably Columbo. All I can really recollect was that it was very crowded and there were lots of bright lights.

Added by Michael Harbisher on 11 April 2014.
Any one travel on the Orontes that left Tilbury in May 1958 arrived Australia in June that year.

Added by Bill Rowlands on 11 April 2014.
Michael Harbisher my family were went to Australia in 1955 I was 9 I remember Port Said and my father buying me a carved tan leather bag with camels on it I also recall going ashore at Aden at night. We had to descend down a ladder to a small boat. I remember looking back at the ship as we sped towards the shore and feeling elated at being on something so "grand" The ship was lit up like a Christmas tree.I felt overwhelmed and scared by the beggars and all the colours and lights everywhere and only felt safe again when back on board the ship Nowadays I love intrepid journeys to diverse countries and cultures so it didn't put me off traveeling

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 11 April 2014.
Hello Louise, thank you for such a lovely description. Being a nine year old you would have more vivid memories than I do (I was only 4). I do remembers a leather bag of some kind that my parents bought me at Aden. Not sure what happened to that. I have always felt a strange kind of kindred connection to the middle east perhaps there was something that spoke to me at that time. Where did your family end up living?

Added by Judith Murray on 16 April 2014.
Louise your comments sum it up completely. My exact sentiments and experience as an 8 year old boy in 1957

Added by John Ponger on 16 April 2014.
... and my experiences as a boy on the 1953 voyage out to Australia.

Added by Michael Jones on 16 April 2014.
I came across an old film that was made onboard
Orcades in the 1960's, (I AM A PASSENGER Reel 1. -British Pathé.
It very much reminds me of life onboard Orontes!
There is even a fleeting glance of Orontes sailing past.
When reel 1 has ended simply put, I Am A Passenger Reel 2 in the search box to complete watching the film.
Sorry I cannot provide the URL details as this site prohibits it!
Simply Google it if you are interested.
I really enjoyed watching the film, how life has changed!
I very much hope this brings back happy memories to you all,



Added by Frank Vincent on 16 April 2014.
And the memories keep flooding back. What an exciting time. A tremendous adventure for us kids (at the time). In its day it equates to the astronauts trips into space. Excitement, excitement, excitement. My previous comment was posted on 7 December 2011. My brother who travelled with me passed away last week. We often reminisced about our trip to Australia. Happy happy times

Added by David Hughes on 16 April 2014.
In reply to Frank. Great films on British Pathe I recommend to all to watch them. Great memories' Just googlJioe British Pathe then enter "I am a passenger" in search. Thanks Frank for finding.

Added by John Ponger on 17 April 2014.
I came to Canberra after travelling on the Orontes in 1954 I was three years old. I have a photo of the prettiest little girl competition with me and about 12 other three and four year old girls. My father Len Russell had a voice like Dean Martin and he used to sing on the stage when there was an entertainment night on. A sailor looked after me on the ship and bought me a toy sailor with an Orentes hat and suit.
Does anyone remember my father or have photos?

Added by Lynn Russell on 17 April 2014.
Just found clip of the Launch of the Orontes

Go to British Pathe and in search put

The new orontes


Added by John Ponger on 17 April 2014.
Read all the comments but so far have not come across anyone going back to arrival in Melbourne in January 1949. As an 8 yr-old I also experienced the same feelings going thru the Suez and coming across the beggars in Colombo. I was sure the betel juice in the streets was blood!

Added by on 18 April 2014.
There is lots of pictures on internet, Via Google, That Dining room looks amazing, , ,

Added by Nick on 19 April 2014.
Remember the beautiful staircases. They were a squared spiral and you could go to the top and look down right to the lowest decks.
There was a story that was told on the 1961-2 trip that I'm sure as I get older was simply not true.
Every boy my age would have loved to try sliding down those enormous bannisters but fortunately for me, my intelligence was stronger than my courage and I didn't try.
The story was told that one boy tried sliding but fell off on the inside, a long long fall. A crew member on the stairs below was supposed to have heard his scream, looked up and reached out on reflex and caught him.
Everyone heard the story on our trip but as I said, I now believe it was generated to stop anyone from trying to slide.
What I am mostly interested in is was this tale told on other trips or just ours. It seems to me that this could have been a nautical "urban legend" that had been around for a long time.

There seemed to be a lot of superstition among the crew that we met. One that comes to mind was a fear that we had three nuns aboard. They claimed that meant that three people would die on the trip. I believe that there were deaths during then trip, which would not be unusual with so many people over that period of time. Whether it was three or not, I have no idea.
I suppose the number of stories and lies I heard was proportionate to the amount of time I spent as a curious fourteen year old, hanging around the crew. One highlight of that though was that once I was taken down to see the engines. I remember that they were enormous though my memories of them are now rather sketchy. I think there were four of them.

Added by John Armstrong on 19 April 2014.
Thanks John Ponger for pointing out the British Pathe site . This brought back many memories of my time at sea , and to see the Captain again was brill, his name was Captain Birch , nicknamed Silver by the Crew..

Added by TED GREGG on 19 April 2014.
My Dad, Graham Barry Pearson, traveled from Tilbury, on the Orontes, to Sydney in 1957. He was also a 10 pound pom, but if he didn't, I wouldn't be around, and I wouldn't have such a great Dad.

Added by Daniel Pearson on 20 April 2014.

Further to my earlier post regarding "I AM A PASSENGER" - British Pathé.( posted 16 April 2014)
For those of you who have not discovered the Orontes site on the internet but are interested in some old Orontes pictures I would suggest you google " Orontes ".
You will come across a site:- The Orient Liner Orontes.
There are a number of lovely photographs, deck plans etc, a very interesting site.
This is probably the best Orontes site on the web and perhaps a reminder of the grand old lady in all her glory.
The Pathé site as John has mentioned, also includes a very short film of Orontes being launched which I neglected to mention but it's only a very short clip.
If I stumble across anything else interesting I will bring it to your attention,



Added by on 22 April 2014.
I remember having horse racing on the deck , with wind-up horses. you turned a handle to bring your horse to the finishing post, Lots of fun for a 15 year old going from Durban to Fremantle in Sept. 1961. Margaret Strickland [nee Walker]

Added by on 23 April 2014.
My mother and father and two brothers and sister came on this ship as ten pound poms.

Added by Gaynor Castagna on 23 April 2014.
I have kept memorabilia from my Orontes trip Sydney 7/12/1960 arr. Tilbury (for London) 15/01/1961 and today dug out the scrapbook. Here is the souvenir list, hopefully to entertain the reader! I have done much (plane) travel during the last ten years but never with the same thrill as experienced when a 21-year-old during six weeks aboard Orontes.

Sailing schedule brochure relating to all Orient liners between 25/10/1960 and 15/01/1961.
Luggage labels, boarding pass, Embarkation Notice No.20 Wharf, Pyrmont for departure 4.00 pm.
SS Orontes Tourist-One Class Cabin Plan.
Passenger list with not only passenger names but port of embarkation and States of origin.
Brochures "Our Ship, Your Home", postal schedule and others relating to each port's shore excursion.
Postcards galore of Orontes and daily activity schedules.
Programmes from Red Sea Race Meeting; breakfast and dinner menus including Landfall Dinner.
Invitation to Cocktails from Captain R.J. Brittain and his Officers and also a Christmas card from them!
Orders of Service for Festival of the Nine Lessons & Carols 25/12/60; fourth Sunday in Advent, and New Year's Day 1961.
Receipt ten shillings from Ship's Doctor.
Souvenir photo of New Year's Eve fancy dress event.
A small sachet of sugar and, wait for it, a sheet of JEYES BRAND LOO PAPER !!

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 26 April 2014.
I have kept memorabilia from my Orontes trip 7/12/1960 arr. Tilbury (for London) 15/01/1961 and dug out the scrapbook today. Here is the list, hopefully to entertain the reader! I have done much (plane) travel during the last ten years but never with the same thrill as experienced when a 21-year-old during six weeks aboard Orontes.

Sailing schedule brochure relating to all Orient liners between 25/10/1960 and 15/01/1961.
Luggage labels, boarding pass, Embarkation Notice No.20 Wharf, Pyrmont for departure 4.00 pm.
SS Orontes Tourist-One Class Cabin Plan.
Passenger list with not only passenger names but port of embarkation and States of origin.
Brochures "Our Ship, Your Home", postal schedule and others relating to each port's shore excursion.
Postcards galore of Orontes and daily activity schedules.
Programmes from Red Sea Race Meeting; breakfast and dinner menus including Landfall Dinner.
Invitation to Cocktails from Captain R.J. Brittain and his Officers and also a Christmas card from them!
Orders of Service for Festival of the Nine Lessons & Carols 25/12/60; fourth Sunday in Advent, and New Year's Day 1961.
Receipt ten shillings from Ship's Doctor.
Souvenir photo of New Year's Eve fancy dress event.
A small sachet of sugar and, wait for it, a sheet of JEYES BRAND LOO PAPER !!

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 26 April 2014.
URGENT:- If Peter Clay is still following these posts Rob Gillibrand has been trying to email you without success. Rob is very keen to communicate with you.

" Hi My father was an officer on the Orontes 1960/61 his name was Frederick (Freddie) Morgan I believe he was a Junior Engineer, does anyone remember him. He was presumed to be lost overboard sometime during 1961".

Added by Rob Gillibrand on 30 September 2011.

" Hi Rob.
I too was an engineer on Orontes and remember the night we lost Freddie" .

Added by Peter Clay on 04 April 2014.

Perhaps Peter would be kind enought to contact Rob
if he see this message?



Added by Frank Vincent on 29 April 2014.
I have no recollection of this tragedy occurring during my trip Sydney/London 7.12.60/15.1.61 - am certain I would have known and remembered had that been the case.

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 30 April 2014.
I read earlier someone suggested a reunion of people who sailed on the Orontes I live in New Zealand now but would be more than happy to travel to OZ if one was held

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 01 May 2014.
Hi Rosalie, I believe it was the trip departing May 61 from England.

Added by Rob Gillibrand on 01 May 2014.
Hi Rob, we were on Orontes UK/Australia voyage May/June 1961 and I remember one of the engineers going missing overnight, I think in the Red Sea. My wife & I are also fairly certain the ship turned around in an effort to find him. Hope this helps to put some of the pieces together.

Added by Flora & Tom Blackwood on 02 May 2014.
Hi Flora and Tom, Yes I believe it was off the coast of Aden according to my late Mum. I really want to talk to one of the crew who knew him.

Added by Rob Gillibrand on 02 May 2014.
Thanks john armstrong. I too was on the orontes departing tilbury 4/12/61 and arriving in melbourne 6/1/62. How amazing it was and such an adventure. My name was Jackie Cray and I too was 14 I came with mum dad and my brother Dave have stayed in Melbourne and am now the only one left of my family that came here. It was so inteesting reading your post and remembering those happy times.

Added by Jacki Disney on 13 May 2014.
Hello Jacki
Yes, it was great to be on that trip. I didn't return to England for a trip until 1979 and was quite disappointed to find there were no ships any more. The plane trip was long and boring.
I remember the sailing date well because we had been planning for a party for my brother's tenth birthday on the 3rd of December. We were not expecting to go for months but we were contacted to say someone had cancelled and there were six berths, sailing on the 4th. Did we want them? This was only six weeks after we had applied so our decision to go, in hindsight, meant that we were not very well prepared.
The worst of it was that my parents, who had their entire life savings invested in our house, left it in the hands of the local real estate agent.
The day after we sailed, they bought it themselves for what was owing on the mortgage and then resold it.
The result was that when my parents arrived in Melbourne they found that they had nothing from the sale and in those days, such practices were legal so there was nothing they could do about it.
Fortunately, we had been sponsored out by a small country church and some very generous people made sure that we settled well. I've always believed in the generosity of Australians since then, despite what the headlines may tell us, spouting the views of a noisy minority (my opinion).
My father had planned to go back into dairy farming, which he had worked at before the war, but now with five others to support, he took a factory job and worked there till he retired.
We are now quite a large extended family. My parents are now gone but their children, grand-children and great-grandchildren are now firmly Australian.

Added by John Armstrong on 16 May 2014.
So interesting to read John Armstrong's post regarding his family emigrating to Australia.
I was only 10 years old when my family went out to Australia in 1959.I had my 11th birthday on board TV Fairsky.
We settled in Adelaide, a beautiful city with wonderful surrounding countryside and fantastic beaches.
There is no disputing that Australia came as a culture shock to many new arrivals.
I remember my first venture into Port Adelaide with my mother for the day, some parts were not unlike scenes from cowboy films!
I think looking back on it many women found it hard to adapt to Australian life.
In the late 1950's and early 1960's these were the days of the " six o'clock swill ". South Australia revoked this in 1967! South Australia was the last state to abolish six o'clock closing with legislation introduced by Don Dunstan in 1967 and the first legal after-six beer being drunk on 28 September.
I well remember being taken to hotel beer gardens by my parents and seeing signs on doors of the pub saying "No women or children allowed".
My father loved everything about Australia, I think having served in the army prior to Dunkirk and into the 1950's he felt Australia offered so much more than post war Britain. My father embraced the Australian life but my mother on the otherhand greatly missed being surrounded my relatives in a mid sized seaside resort back in the U.K.
My father took me to hot rod racing, horse racing, trotting, so many things that I had never seen or experienced in the U.K.
My brother and I had some wonderful times in Australia as boys, the Australians were laid back, friendly and generous, they were interested to hear about where you had come from.
I loved the feeling of vastness and the freedom and vitality of Australia.
We returned from Australia to England in 1961, I think looking back my family always regretted doing so although they did reasonably well back in the UK.
I look back on my time in Australia with nothing but good memories.I have done well in life but always wonder, what might have been?
I feel many people owe much to Australia, many stayed and even those who returned could look back at their time there, and perhaps wonder?
My parents and brother have now passed on as have most of my relatives, so only my memories of Australia remain, and what great memories they are,



Added by Frank Vincent on 16 May 2014.
Frank, you are right about the women finding it hard here. A family who were on the Orontes with us moved in close by. We were in an area that is now an outer suburb but back then was still rural. Our next door neighbour was a mile up the road and there was one bus in the morning going into the nearest town, Croydon (now a city) and one back at night.
Dad had people at work that he saw every day, first getting there by bicycle and soon being picked up by someone with a car. Mum, on the other hand was home alone.
In 1962, the bushfires roared down Mt Dandenong, right to the front fence of our friends. This was the end for the woman of the family who had been very lonely there as her husband and two sons still worked. Shortly afterwards, they moved into the city. They stayed in Australia though and did well here.
There were major changes to my parents' world view. In England, it was seen as a matter of shame if a man could not support his family and my father had never allowed my mother to work outside the home. Australians were a lot laid back about such things and when the local store offered my mother a job, she dug in her heels and took it, despite my father's protests.
From then on, she was meeting and interacting with many people every day and still managed to keep the home the way it had been. The extra money allowed her to take driving lessons and eventually buy a car which opened many new opportunities for all of us.
Another issue that sent some people back to England was Vietnam. We were great friends with a man who had two seventeen year old sons. Australia introduced conscription during the Vietnam war and he came to say goodbye. He said he had not brought his sons to Australia to send them to war and they returned to England. They had not been here the requisite two years and so I believe they had to pay back their fares.

Added by John Armstrong on 17 May 2014.
I was 6 when I came oot here with ma parents, brother's & sister, I can still mind a wee bit about the trip, its wis live a big aventure tae me, especially when we went tae Raduim Hill. Imagine when me a ma brother went to go oot side ma maw was not going to let us go but ma da said we had tae get us tae the country, so oot side we went, and you could cross the raod & you wre in the wood's just about, my parent's were watchin us oot the window, we stopped & I asked ma brother if there were any lions ort tigers oot there, he didn't kjnow so we went back & asked oor folk's & they jist laughed. Well how were we suppose tae know commin from Scotland tae here.

Added by Tam McGpovern on 19 May 2014.
Tam I do like your written dialect as it reminds me of the "Broon" books which I still love to this day.

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 21 May 2014.
Ah! the Broons and we must not forget Oor Wullie.
One of the highlights of a Sunday morning picking up the Sunday Post for my parents.
How life has changed from those simple pleasures of a quiet Sunday morning!



Added by Frank Vincent on 22 May 2014.
Yes Frank I had to go to get the Sunday Post for my parents. At the same time get freshly baked still warm bread which I used to pick and eat on the way home so by the time I got there half of it was eaten. My father always cooked Sunday breakfast of bacon, eggs' fried bread and black pudding. Every other day we had porridge made with salt and definitely no sugar

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 22 May 2014.
Responding to John Armstrong's point about the Vietnam war being an incentive for people to go 'home'. I was one of those. I objected strongly of course but my mother had the last say - "you do what I tell you until you're 21" !

We came back in 1968 - I still have my 'permission to leave Australia' form - and I couldn't find work so promptly joined the RAF! I often wonder if conscription really meant you were automatically sent to Vietnam - I suspect not for most conscripts.

I don't miss Australia but it was a very significant part of my life and I can still smell the place if I ever see an Albert Namatjira picture in a gallery. I bought a picture by Rob McLaurin, (who lives outside Melbourne) last year, in memory of my parents and it has just the same effect.

Added by Joe Rock on 23 May 2014.
As a crew member I remember Orontes was always full on the return voyage with Poms returning to dear old Blighty , , Happy Days , and fond memories of RMS ORONTES .. Who remembers the Crew Member falling to his death whilst in Port at Naples 1952...

Added by TED GREGG on 23 May 2014.
Hi all, Paul White here. Funny how we had different takes on the Vietnam era, I came out on the Orontes in 1957 only 6 at the time and at 16 joined the Australian Navy.I had been given an education and was accepted into this wonderful country and took little notice of the jeers etc thrown at ex Poms, it was part of life and growing up here was excellent. No benefits back then for my Mother, who brought us both over for a new start in life. She worked hard and sent my sister and I to boarding schools, whilst working her bum off. In thanks for what Australia did for my family, I was proud to give something back to my new home land, so gave 7 years of my life to the Australian Navy, in the process making 5 trips to Vietnam and doing four 6 month Far East Strategic Reserve posting on three different ships that I served on, the HMAS Sydney, Yarra & Torrens. All are now gone, but what adventures I have had since coming here. I am now retired at 63 on a TPI Service Pension, (War Injuries) but I still have a great life of travel in this country and can't get enough. I went back to the UK in 2011 to meet my Father for the first time in 56 years and this event was wonderful and I intended doing so again, but sadly he passed away at 93 in January this year 2014. My memories are very limited about the trip to Australia, I remember clay pigeon shoots, coits, deckchairs and great staff & thinking we wouldn't make it under the Harbour Bridge, but that is about it. Just maybe the trip on the Orontes directed me to return to the sea, as even on my discharge from the Navy, I tended toward seafaring employment for the next twenty years. It's great seeing all these posts.

Added by Paul White on 24 May 2014.
Hi Paul
I came out when I was three and I'm 62 now. Sorry about your Dad but I suppose you at least met him.

I connect with the sea and water and I even built my house along shipping lines, I think it's called liner architecture. Our trips probable effected us all in some ways. I'm really happy around the sea which is odd as I live in Canberra but I hope to move to Sydney overlooking the harbour in the next few years.
Great site isn't it

Added by Lynn on 28 May 2014.
Lovely to have Paul's and Lynn's comments above - true-blue Aussies of which those who were born here, like me, can be proud. To take the plunge and leave one's country of birth, as their respective parents did, warrants much admiration. Three cheers, too, for old Orontes who brought them to commence their new life on the other side of the world!

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 28 May 2014.
Hi Paul
As they say in America, "Thanks for serving." Our family was probably lucky as all three boys registered but none of our marbles were drawn from the barrel. I think for a lot of people, that was a major problem, that conscription was by lottery. It should have been all in or none in my opinion.
In answer to Joe Rock, one of my close friends was conscripted and you are right, a conscript could only be sent overseas if he volunteered..however.
According to my friend, who went willingly and ended up as a forward scout attached to the US forces for a while, the psychological pressure on conscripts who were in a unit that was going to Vietnam was enormous. Staying with your mates was made to seem far better than being transferred to another unit where you would be branded a coward.
My friend was glad to get back to an Australian unit and told friends of the platoon he was leading bashing through the jungle with transistor radios blaring or smoking cigars that could be smelt far away. He left the unit when the other Australian forward scout stepped on a mine and he was also wounded, though not as badly as his mate.
We in Australia had no idea of what our troops were enduring or of the true political situation in the country. The way our soldiers were treated when they returned was quite disgraceful. If paint and other things were to have been thrown they should have been thrown at the politicians who sent the men there not at those who believed they were doing their duty to the country.
None of this has anything to do with the Orontes, of course but as she was also a ship that carried troops to battle, she may forgive the digression.

Added by John Armstrong on 29 May 2014.
Thanks John, I am a Proud Aussie and will always fight for what I believe is right, though I am currently disgusted with our Government and their attitude toward all Australians. They have lost the plot and have not been in touch with the people for years, though I am not surprised that this is not just limited to Australia, friends of mine in Malta, the UK and yes even the US of A are having similar problems with their Governments being out of touch. So much prospect for this wonderful land, yet idiots seem to rule. I still remember when in school here, how Australia was striving to be fully self sufficient by the year 2000, it was something I thought was wondrous and at that time achievable, only I and so many others were to be shattered when our Governments began to sell everything and we started to lose our identity, business's, land and even our language to overseas interests and it is still going on. I regress and my apologies to all, this is about the Orontes and her lifetime of sea adventures, not Australia's woes.

My memories are few of the Orontes, but I am blessed to have come to such an incredible place and to actually have the space and incredible scenery that Australia has to offer. If I'd known the truth of Vietnam back then, I would never have joined the Navy, I find it very hard to come to grips with this War and what happened to us all after it. 20 years for recognition of the Navy's involvement, 18 for the Army, we were treated as pariahs, I could not get a job after I got out in 1974 if I said I had served, and you know what is really funny, not one of those Show Pony Protestors that threw eggs and tomatoes, called us baby killers and the rest, have ever admitted they did it, nor apologised and the Government and RSL both turned their backs on us. I very nearly hated Australia then, so much so, that I contemplated leaving her forever. Vietnam I believe, destroyed the soul of Australia. We Vietnam Vets have stuck together since and will never ever trust a Government again, of that you can be sure, and I suggest no one ever does, or they will and do as they wish, only for their own benefit.

Added by Paul White on 30 May 2014.
Hi Any one know of Rick and Ray Hollis cabin staff in 1958 to Melbourne

Added by Patsy sheppard now Murray on 30 May 2014.
WOW: Just found this site while looking for a passenger list for the May 1961 to June 1961 Tilbury to Australia crossing of the ORONTES. My parents migrated to Australia with us 3 children. The ocean voyage here on the ORONTES was definitely the biggest thing in my young life. I was only 8 years old when we left England, never to see friends, grandparents, or any relative again as far as I knew. I had my ninth birthday between Colombo and Perth, about the time we crossed the equator. There was a special fancy dress party for all the children having birthdays on the voyage, with a special menu, listing all the names of the birthday children on the back. I cried when I noticed that my name had accidentally been left off, so my parents told me that the fancy dress party was for me because I was special. I was young enough to believe anything then, so at the end of the party, to which my brother and I went as bride and groom, I went to the Captain, gave him the bouquet I had used and thanked him for my party.
I still have the letter I received from him the next day, saying thank you for the bouquet and that he would treasure it for a long while. The Captain was Ronald J. Britan.
I too embraced the Australian life style and thirty one years after coming here had my first opportunity to visit my few remaining relatives in England. All I can say is thank you Mum and Dad for making the decision to come here all those years ago. I may not have been born here but I am an Aussie thru and thru.

Added by Maureen Kilpatrick (nee Smith) on 04 June 2014.
Hi I sailed to Australia in 1958 arriving in Melbourne in December whilst on board met the Hollis brothers who where cabin staff does any one know what happened to them.

Added by Patsy sheppard now Murray on 05 June 2014.
Just noticed that my entry of the 30th September 2011 had the wrong arrival date in Melbourne! It should have been the 9th June 1954 at 7.30am! Yes, TODAY IS THE 60th ANNIVERSARY of our arrival in Melbourne - and it seems like only yesterday! I recently received a copy of the passenger list for this trip from which I would love to hear from a few fellow passengers. Namely my cabin mate, Robert Farmer and his little sister who shared my mothers cabin across the corridor. Also Vera and her sister Olive Gibson who shared our dining table(our Table Steward was a wonderful young guy named Roy) - and a shore excursion in Colombo. Vera worked for some time I think at the Leongatha Base Hospital until we lost contact. I have been fortunate enough to make contact with a few passengers from this trip - although not as many as I would have liked. I spent much time on the trip processing passengers photographs from my cabin - with the aid of Robert and Olive.
What a wonderful voyage it was on such a grand old lady of the Sea. For a 16 year old, a trip of a lifetime, which evolved into a love of travel on many ships and across many continents, with several years actually in the shipping business here in Melbourne. Please, if there are any passengers out there from this voyage - departing Tilbury 7th May 1954, make yourselves known!! Lets catch up - we are all getting on a bit now!
John Dickinson

Added by John Dickinson on 09 June 2014.
We travelled out on the Orontes in 1959. In fact it was 55 years ago yesterday that we left, 10 June.

Added by John Watkeys on 11 June 2014.
Have mentioned previously that we arrived as a family of four in late January (maybe early Feb)1948. I was 8y.o and curious as to anyone else came out on that voyage. Would love to see old passenger lists, menus etc

Added by John Craigie on 11 June 2014.
I last posted a message on this page back in 2009 - how time flies. My family travelled to Australia on the Orontes late in 1959, disembarking in Adelaide in January 1960. Sadly, my dad passed away last week and my brother and I have been going through some of dad's documents today. We've come across tickets, a passenger list, menus etc from the trip. A really exciting find especially as the documents are all in excellent condition.

Added by Helen Simmons on 13 June 2014.
I came to Australia with my parents, grandparents and my little sister in 1956. We were, I understood, the last ship allowed through the Suez Canal (I guess for that year anyway). I was seven. I have very similar memories as a lot of the postings I have just read. I remember a waiter called Jock and a scary head waiter (scary to a timid 7 year old but had a twinkle in his eye and was really gorgeous!). We landed in Sydney on 1st August 1956. I'm pretty sure we left from Southampton.

Added by Thalia Davis on 21 June 2014.
To Helen Simmons. We must have been on the same passage arriving in Australia late January 1960. We came from Finland to migrate to the land of great promise for a wonderful future. It has been good to me. Am presently visiting Finland.

Added by Kirsi Sade on 24 June 2014.
That would be right, Thalia. We lived 12 miles from Southampton so of course, we sailed from Tilbury.
I guess that meant we got a train trip as well but it wasn't included in the ten pounds. It also meant we left in the evening and travelled overnight, sleeping on the train. The alternative of going earlier would have meant finding accommodation in London as nobody could board before the specified time.

Added by John Armstrong on 25 June 2014.
I left Adelaide on the Orontes Nov. 1956 as part of the RAF contingent, travelling in civies, who were returning to Britain after Operation Buffalo, the dropping of the A-Bomb at Maralinga. The route was via Freemantle, Cape Town and the Canary Isles as the Suez Canal was closed due to the conflict there. We docked at Tilbury 21st December.

Added by Peter Cornelius on 01 July 2014.
I also arrived on the Orontes with family at six years old, from Southampton to Cabramatta hostel in Feburary 1955 , name-Disney, 2 brothers, 1 sister and parents.....

Added by Bernie Disney on 23 July 2014.
To Bernie Disney. I think we were on the same trip?? Yet we left from Tilbury in February not Southampton so not sure

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 23 July 2014.
Hi Louise,

Orontes ( UK ) port was Tilbury so I expect you were on the same passage as Bernie, how great is that, maybe you will be able to share some memories,



Added by on 24 July 2014.
Had a stroll around the Immigration Museum in Melbourne this week and though there wasn't a lot of stuff on the Orontes I found it a very interesting and moving experience. Reading the old posters urging you to give your kids a better life in Australia, which I thank my parents for doing. I recommend it to anyone who can get there to spend an hour or two and have a wander.
Jeff clarke (arrived Melbourne Mar 58 aged 6)

Added by Jeff (Nobby) Clarke on 24 July 2014.
We lived in Middlesex and I remember leaving the day before we sailed, stayed over-knight with rellies to save travelling too far on the day of leaving, I'm sure it was from Southampton but will check my paperwork and get let you know...(been in oz since 55 and just got citizenship)

Added by Bernie Disney on 24 July 2014.
Could it have gone to both ports..?

Added by Bernie Disney on 25 July 2014.
Hi Bernie

I did the same trip and again to Cabramaata hostel but in 1959, I have got to say I have no good memories of that hostel as it was a terrible place.

Added by Clarke Mc Dowell on 25 July 2014.
I realised after reading your comment Bernie that you came from Southampton I thought you said you sailed from there So we were on the same voyage. We lived in Townsville for a few months then moved south of Melbourne. I have lived in New Zealand for forty years but part of my heart is forever Austrialian

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 25 July 2014.
Orontes' home (UK) port was always Tilbury. Many other liners (e.g.P&O;) departed from Southampton.

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 25 July 2014.
Yes Clarke, I agree with you, we wouldn't live in half of a water tank if we had a choice, but served it's purpose for us for 3.5 years......

Added by Bernie Disney on 26 July 2014.
My mother travelled on the Orontes during the war 22nd April 1940 from Southampton to Melbourne when she was 20 to train the girls in the cotton mills. Does anyone have pictures of menues or any other memorabilia from that ship. My mum is turning 95 in October and I am trying to find anything for her from the past.

Added by Janice on 18 August 2014.
Hi Janice,

I don' t know if interior photographs of Orontes would be of interest to your mother?
If so my post of 22nd April, 2014 will direct you to the Orontes site via Google.
My only personal reminders are the actual passage tickets which I treasure and a key fob.

Best Regards


Added by Frank Vincent on 19 August 2014.
I travelled on the SS Orontes, leaving Tilbury in November 1958 and arriving in Adelaide on December 26th ( my mum & dad's anniversary). It was an exciting time on the ship as we spent Christmas day on it. I was 14, years old.

Added by Heather Douglas (nee Chambers) on 14 September 2014.
I went to Australia on 9th May 1961 on this ship. I was just married and had one months honeymoon and a world cruise for £10.00 each. We went to Adelaide SA and we stayed for 9years. My two sons were born in Hindmarsh Hospital , and when my wife was expecting our third she was desparate to come home to Scotland. We came back here in 1970 and did not regret our time in Aussie. We would not have missed the experience for anything!!!,

Added by John Johns on 22 September 2014.
I served in the Merchant Navy from 1948 until 1958.In March 1952 (aged 20)served on the SS Orontes (voyage38)as an able seaman.I entertained some of the passengers by swinging about in a bosons chair painting the foremast. The masts had quite a rake on them and I had to keep myself into the mast with the aid of a bowsing line. Occasionally I would deliberately release the bowsing line and swing away from the mast causing a few gasps from the on-looking passengers.I followed this trip with three more trips serving as (QM)Quarter Master - helsman and general bridge duties. The ships captain's on these voyages were Captain A Hawker first two trips and Captain R.J Galpin second two- happy days and now approaching 83 years of age.

Added by Thomas Dunwell on 23 September 2014.
Ahoy their, we may have served on the same trips , I joined Orontes in sept 1952 as Deckboy from PWSTS Training school. Served on board for two trips until April 1953 .Thinks Captain was a Captain BIRCH !AM NOW APPROACHING 80 , Happy Days , good to make contact with a crew member at long last

Added by Ted Gregg on 24 September 2014.
Hello Heather Douglas, my name is Steve Jones. I travelled on the Orontes at the same time getting off at Melbourne. I was 6 at the time and I travelled with my sister linda who was 10, my Mother Ruby and Father Bill.

Added by Steve Jones on 26 September 2014.
I am South African and worked as a table steward on Orontes last voyage, Tilbury to Sydney 1961 Dec, and return Jan 1962. I was in the aft saloon and have a group photo of all the stewards plus the head guys. Also a couple others, ship anchored at Colombo, docked in Melbourne, from the bows looking aft, convoy forming in Suez canal laybye. If you want a copy of any of these, contact me at and I will email a digital scan. I will put together some comments from my perspective later.

Added by David Pearson on 29 October 2014.
David, I would love to have digital copies of all photos you describe...thank you in anticipation...

Added by Rosalie Lucas on 29 October 2014.
David I too would like copies of the your photos, thank you

Added by Louise Harper McGurk on 30 October 2014.
Hi David,
I too will be very grateful for photographs, hopefully I will recognise some of the cabin stewards who helped make my voyage to the new world in September 1965 so wonderful.

Added by Nick Bell on 30 October 2014.
Hello Steve Jones. After 6 years in Adelaide and 3 1/2 in the UK , I moved to Melbourne with my husband and children where I lived for a further 30 years. Preferred Melbourne (that'll probably start WW3!), but am now very happily living in Essex UK. So much to see and do!

Added by Heather Douglas on 30 October 2014.
Still searching for anyone who may have arrived in melbourne on the old girl in january, 1949.

Added by John Craigie on 31 October 2014.
Lovely to have made contact with David Pearson who was a member of Staff on Orontes final voyage.
I cannot thank you enough David for the wonderful photographs. I very much hope you will post again and share your experiences of those voyages with us.

Best Regards


Added by Frank Vincent on 31 October 2014.
I am South African and did just one trip, the final one. I was living around the Overseas Visitors Club in Earls Court and the story was that working on a ship was a way to see a bit of the world while making a little money. After just two weeks at P&O; catering class, I was assigned to Orontes, as were most of my class. Monthly pay was 36 pounds 10 shillings a month, but as we had no time off in more than two months, overtime of 296 hours at 4 shillings an hour made a difference. I shared a cabin with my South African mate, an Irishman and three Scots. An earlier comment mentioned a Bay of Biscay storm. That flooded our cabin. For ventilation in the tropics, we had a scoop-like contraption jammed in the porthole and in heavy seas that also brought in water. Stretchers were provided in the tropics to sleep on deck but a tropical storm acted as a deterrent for me. A typical day started with my own brekkie at about 6h30. Then served two sittings in the aft saloon, Breakfast was the most difficult, with multiple combinations of bacon, egg etc. We were told to distance ourselves from our table until everyone had arrived! Then our entire table was laid out for captain inspection, his name was EGH Riddleswell or Riddlesdell. This ended around 11h00. Two sittings of lunch were served from about 12h30 to 14h00. Half of us served afternoon tea and the other half served the kid's early evening meal. Having a sweet tooth, I would go up to the pantry early, and sit down with a plate of cakes and sarmies. Seeing the passengers straining at the door looked for all the world like a post-Xmas sale. On th ereturn I served the kids supper. It was tough, with the little guys wanting to try then rejecting every item on the menu. After a couple of days a more experienced colleague showed me the way. Tell the parents the little guy will be fine with me. Bring him the first course, give him/her x minutes, whip the plate away, second course, x minutes, pudding x minutes, milk or tea, x minutes, pull the chair back, night night angel. Worked brilliantly. Passengers were called 'bloods', as in needed for life=money=tips. Evening dinner lasted from about 19h30 to 21h00. To Australia I had a table of 12, but back to Tilbury was much easier. There was always a tension between us and the galley guys who thought they did all the work and we picked up the tips. In the heat and humidity of the saloon the floor could be very slippery, and it was a disaster to slip with a full tray. It happened just once to me and I went under chairs, seeing legs and skirts hastily pulled away. Crew entertainment consisted of at least one movie (us shepherded like prisoners through the passenger accommodation by the sergeant at arms and his men so no one slipped away), a boxing match with a gay officer dressed as a nurse with first aid kit, and a variety show done by crew. I had to buy two jackets and two pairs of black trousers. When a jacket came back from the laundry, it was so starched it was like a strait jacket. As a naive 20 yr old in 1961, I had had little contact with gays. I was amazed that the many rough and ready characters on the ship accepted them with such a good-natured spirit. They were teased but in such a humourous way that it was never offensive but actually enjoyed. In our 'lounge' area the Scots were renowned drinkers and drank whisky from their beer tankards. At closing time a group would club together and buy a tin bucket (as in garden bucket) of beer and carry on for the evening. Regarding discipline, there could be fines or reports in your seaman's recod book. The worst would be if at signing off you had 'decline to report'. That would usually end your career.

Added by David Pearson on 31 October 2014.
Very interesting David to read what it was like from one of the crews perspective. I very much enjoyed reading your post.



Added by Frank Vincent on 31 October 2014.
A great read David, thoroughly enjoyed your trip down memory lane.

Added by Paul White on 01 November 2014.
What a brilliant read here! I travelled on this shop leaving London 28.3.1960 to Melbourne, with my great aunt and uncle Bill & Mary Hart, I was four and my name is Cathleen. I remember a steward babysitting me, falling from my bunk as a storm/wave passed hundreds of nautical miles away (the photo bill took helps this I'm sure).
I remember being in a classroom? Lots of glass and white metal windows on all sides and playing with other kids. I remember going through Suez, screaming in Columbia when I encountered a black man.... And many other things.
Anyone has random pics of this particular voyage greatly appreciated.
Also living in Sydney so if reunion happens I'll be there!

Thanks again for the memories

Added by Kate on 08 November 2014.
Sailed from Tilbury 28th March 1960 to Australia as a junior engineer on the SS Orontes. Have many memories of shipboard life. Recall some of the engineers aboard, Mr Macalpine was chief engineer, Satn Nicols was senior second engineer, Johnny Jaames was a third engineer. Ian Beard was a third engineer, Ian Cambell from Ulverston was a 4th engineer Jimmy Hoey from Renfrew, joined the same day as me Tony Wright ex Ruston and Hornsby, Lincoln was a fridge engineer, Mike Docherty was a junior engineer and John Brownlee
will add a few recollections soon

Added by Sandy Mackay on 12 November 2014.
Typing errors on recent submission 2nd engineer was Stan Nicholls ...3rd engineer was Johnny James

Added by Sandy Mackay on 14 November 2014.
the SS Orontes was powered by twin triple expansion turbines which were enormous, A high pressure turbine an intermediate turbine and a low pressure turbine all driving on to a large helical gear coupled vis a thrust nearing to the main shafts. The boiler room/s comprised six double ended Scotch (smopke tube) boilers and two single ended boilers, making a total of 42 fires all round. they were oil fired via nozzles which sprayed oil into the fire tube/box. From cold it would take a good 24 hours to get up steam. the main task in the boiler room was to watch the water levels in a gauge glasses mounted high up on the boiler which meant continually walking around each boiler. the problem was that the water did not flow/return into each boiler at the same rate which meant opening/closing valves to correct the flow, once you achieved that the job was easy.this was all before the days of telemetry, now the engineers sit in an office surrounded by dials and gauges and thermometers. Our task in the engine room was to crawl over the turbines, pick out and read the thermometers located in the various bearings and logg the results in a daily log manual. Needelss to say the thermometers would get broken and rather than replace the thermometer and wait until it reached a temperature we would leaf back a number of pages and transfer the readings to the current page. eventually the thermometers would all be replaced. another atsk was to walk down the propulsion shaft tunnel to check the bearing temperature and the coolling water supply to each "half " bearing
I recall on day performing this task to catch two characters coming down a hatch ladder. thios hatch led from the tunnel up thru two decks on to the after deck, in effect an escape hatch. when I questioned them they advised I should go up ! there was a rivet missing? this I did to observe a couple in bed?? I reported this to the third engineer. Next day we waited until, the two individuals were seen to go up into the pal Jimmy Hoey was dispatched to the after deck with several buckets of water which he duly poured down the hatch.....more to follow

Added by on 14 November 2014.
I was a first waiter on her in aug 58, to nov 58. six of us had the only inside cabin , and were issued folding cots to sleep on the focsle in the red sea , a cabin mate Jimmy Furby went to the beach in Colombo and was drowned , I often wonder about his family at home . it was my first trip too Australia .and loved the visit . went back on the oriana , and the Caronia.

Added by Neville Roberts on 23 November 2014.
My name is Brian Dyson my mum (Alice now deceased)& I left Tilbury on the 4/3/1959 arring in Australia on the 5/4/1959. I remember sailing through The English Channel I mentioned to a third officer sat at our dining table how rough it was thinking we were in The Bay of Biscay didn`t I get a shock when he told me we were in the channel, Mind you I was an innocent fifteen year old.I remember we stopped at Port Said but we weren`t allowed ashore the bum boats came to the side of the ship to sell their wares with the Egyptian police wandering the decks just in case people didn`t pay for their puchases.I rememeber going ashore in Aden by small boat walking down the street and a `blind` beggar begging for money & when we were walking back after doing some shopping there he was counting his money.We arrived in Columbo (Ceylon as it was then) we walked down the street with young children begging one child had no legs below his knees poor little bugger, we had been warned about giving money because we would have been mobbed by other beggars. Next stop Fremantle then Adelaide & Melbourne & what did we get in Melbourne we were pommie b`s but you learned to live with it, you had to!

Added by Brian Dyson on 30 November 2014.
My Mum (now deceased God bless heer) & I left Tilbury onboard the Orontes on the 4/3/1959. Iremember we stopped at Port Said but we weren`t allowed of the ship so the traders came alongside in their bumboats & the Egyptian police patrolled the decks just in case some tried to get away without paying. the Orontes carried two men & their rowboat down the canal to Port Suez as the men left the side of the ship they gave the two fingered sign `Ah well thats life. we arrived in Aden we were allowed ashore, while walking down the street to the shops we noticed a blind beggar Mum bought a couple of things & on the way back to the ship there was the "blind" beggar counting his money. Columbo was our next port of call we went ashore by local ferry, we were walking down the street surrounded by begging children one had no legs below his knees. We had been advised by friends not to give them money because we would have been mobbed. we left Columbo bound for Fremantle, Adelaide & Melbourne arriving on the 5/4/1959 & have lived here since then over fifty five years ago. I hope I didn`t bore anyone to death

Added by Brian Dyson on 01 December 2014.
My family arrived in Melbourne in May 1957 on the Orontes. I was 9 years old. It was a wonderful experience for us kids, but I suspect a little less so for our parents.
Another family travelling on that voyage became friends with our family, and I am now married to one of their daughters and we have 6 grown up kids of our own.
The Orontes holds a very special place in our hearts.
We both have lots of treasured memories of that trip.
First stop was Las Palmos on the Canary Islands then Cape town, Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne where we left the ship.
I have enjoyed reading other people's accounts of their experiences on board this wonderful vessel

Added by Don Harvey on 19 December 2014.
I cant find internal photos of Orontes ......
anyone know of any ????

Added by Nick on 23 December 2014.
Don, what a romantic story! It equates with that of the steward and stewardess who became acquainted on Orontes and later married (photo caption head of this website). Thanks for telling us!

Added by Rosalie Lucas (nee Newell) on 23 December 2014.
I have emailed Nick with the information re: my post 22/ April/2014 for internal Orontes photographs.
I will take this opportunity to wish all past Orontes passengers and Staff all the very best for the coming New Year. I have much enjoyed sharing your memories and experiences of the grand old lady,



Added by Frank Vincent on 30 December 2014.

Added by MALCOLM EVANS on 30 December 2014.
Try these Nick:

Added by John Armstrong on 31 December 2014.
Dear Malcolm
I was on the Orontes in 1854 or 1955. I was only 3 years old and apparently because I was in hospital for so long before the trip I had problems walking and was called Andy Pandy because of my strange walk. My father was quite dark and sang like Sinatra of Dean Martin. He was a professional singer snd carpenter. Apparently he often sang on the ships stage

Added by Lynn Russell on 06 January 2015.
Hi , I was on board 1952/3, working on E/Deck aft as Deck boy ..Deck Crews cabins were up in the fo/castle , happy days ..I was senior Deck Boy of six and put in charge of the ships flags , and thereby hangs a tale .. We were in Colombo , I was standing by on board a Pontoon waiting to be relieved , but was cast adrift in the ships launch which was busted , THE LAUNCH AND ME DRIFTED OUT OF THE HARBOUR , The ships flags failed to appear at 8 bells ..Iwas eventuall towed back to ship by harbour police , much to all passengers amusement watching the event ...Not so me , I was hauled up infront of 2nd mate and given a right rollicking , not for being adrift but for failing to hoist the FLAGS . SELDOM SEE ANY CREW POSTING ON THIS SITE , PITY ..

Added by TED GREGG on 06 January 2015.
I am adding another story to my previous entry . after leaving freemantle an old lady passenger died , and the nearest family were contacted as to what they wanted to do with the corpse , one option was burial at sea , wich they chose so after an autopsy they had a small ceremony early one morning. and sent her on her way to davy jones

Added by Neville Roberts on 06 January 2015.
Interesting comments by Neville Roberts, on our voyage back to the U.K. in 1961 we too had a burial at sea. In this case it was an elderly gentleman if I remember correctly.
The ship was stopped early in the morning for the ceremony and passengers were advised as to what was to take place.
It seems strange nowadays that such things were probably quite common in those days. On that voyage we also lost a baker overboard! Then Orontes had her mishap hitting the mole in Marseille. They say bad things come in 3's and Orontes proved that right on that voyage!

Added by Frank Vincent on 06 January 2015.
My mum came out in the war in May 1940 to train the aussie girls in the cotton mills in Footscray melbourne. Mum just turned 95. She should have sailed on the Oronsay in April 1940 but the ship was acquired for the soldiers. She was assigned to the ship Orontes and left Southampton on 21st May 1940 and arrived in Melbourne June 1940. Then 20yo she and her friend Mary used to arrange games for all the children to keep them occupied on the long journey. I have photos of her with crew members and some of the children. plus the passenger list. If anyone had any relatives on that ship at the time I would love to hear from them and pass on to my mum who still lives on her own. I have just completed a book from the time she was born to the time she arrived in Australia and met my dad and never went back to UK for some time.

Added by Janice on 07 January 2015.
My parents, older sister and I sailed from Tilbury on 22 December 1959 and arrived in Adelaide 23 January 1960. I remember a lot about the trip and have quite a few photos, some of the crew and some young, single lads who I think were going to Sydney. I still have the small Christmas trees which were on our tables and also a glass. I am now in England but think my Dad still has some other things from the ship. My Mum passed away last August but my Dad, sister and her family are still in Australia. Unfortunately my Dad, now 95, isn't on the internet but I am sure he will be interested in all the stories above so I intend to print them out so he can read them. I haven't had chance to read them all yet but those I have read bring back so many memories, especially as it is now 55 years ago we made the journey. If anyone wishes to get in touch I would love to hear from them.

Added by Heather Clarkin (nee Bray) on 13 January 2015.
Thank you to everyone who has supplied stories of life on board see my earluer post. I'm back working on the book which features Orontes, after an enforced three year delay on an other project. Im still interested in any anecdotes of life on board, and have picked up many ideas from the entries here so far which show what a great adventure the passage used to be.

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 13 January 2015.
Hi Alasdair,
Good to hear that the book is still an ongoing project, I am sure many of us on this site will be the first to buy it when it is published!
Glad to hear that some of our memories have been useful material for you.



Added by Frank Vincent on 14 January 2015.
Hi Alasdair
Like most people I have photos taken on board probably by professional photographers

Added by Lynn Russell on 14 January 2015.
Getting on board the Orontes at Tilbury in 1955 was the best thing my parents ever did for themselves and me and my four sisters. What a great adventure.

Added by William (Scotty) Boyd on 10 February 2015.
Where are the photos Lynn Russel ????

Added by Nick on 10 February 2015.
Yes I would be very interested to read a book about the Orontes I still can't believe that its 64 Years since I did my first trip on her as a very young crew man , though I did my very first trip to sea on the New Zealand Shipping Companies RMS Rangitoto before going on to the Orient Line , then Curnard *Queen Elizabeth , then the Mary and finally the ( the green goddess ) Coronia , then to Union Castle Line Pretoria Castle and my last ship was the Andes. but of all the ships I think the happiest one was the Orontes

Added by Den Barrett on 10 February 2015.
William Boyd what month did you sail on the Orontes ? My family left Tilbury in February 1955, I was nine years old---see earlier. I wrote of my memories earlier

Added by Louise Mc Gurk (Harper) on 10 February 2015.
I would love to see any photos if anyone has any
I was on the ship, with my parents Lavinia (Vin) and James (Jim) Newton and 2 sisters, about 1957 on route from England to Melbourne where we lived at the Fishermens Bend Hostel for two years.

Added by Diana Irie on 10 February 2015.
Hi Alasdair when do you anticipate the book being completed and did you say this is the second one? As I have said in two other posts my mum came out in 1940 during the war which is 75 years ago and has pictures of some of the crew and a couple of pics of the souviner program of the ships concert, a guide to passengers which has a number of the voyage on the bottom and the passenger list.
I am visiting her again and have shown her your site and some of the comments but nothing seem sto date back to her passage and her ship would have been the first or one of the first Orontes built and destroyed after the war I believe it was sunk but am about to go into the site that Frank has suggested to see if it gives a better light on her ship,
If you want some anecdotes mum is telling me that coming from Fremantle across the Bight the ship not having stabilisers and the sea so rough that eshe remembers vividly while dancing the night away the ship rocked and rolled and all the tables chairs and other furniture flew across the floor entangled with the passengers and she lost he good necklace actoss the floor in pieces and everyone was scrambling for their possessions and many helping her find all the jewels from her necklace which she finally collected from them and has a picture of the broken one and just recently found a jeweller who has put it all together for her. She said that everyone was laughing so much after the event once they knew that no one was hurt. Mum also said she remembers the ship haveing pure white table cloths and silverware and silver teapots etc Frank you came out a lot latyer so presume the pics are from a later Orontes however I will go in to the Orontes site and have another look.
Alasdair if you want any photos please email me at and would appreciate if anyone else can shed a light on any of the crew in the photo. I see some of you in your comments have pictures but where are they and how can I post pictures, Another story my mum recalls two of the officers were named Ted and Jim and when the ship stopped off near Columbia the two crew took my mother and her friend Mary McCormack by launch to show them aaround Columbia and they had to get a taxi back to the port and the ship had already left the port and they had to take the launch to catch the ship and climb up a rope ladder to the ship and the two officers were in trouble.

Added by Janice Prior On Behalf Of Amy Williams Nee Pilling on 06 March 2015.
thank you every one for your very helpful stories and memories, very useful.
FYI My earlier book was about the Italians' transformation of British restaurant and food culture in the 1950s and 60s (the Spaghetti Tree) so nothing to do with Orontes.

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 10 March 2015.
Hi Janice,

The first " Orontes" maiden voyage, Oct 1902 scrapped in 1926. She acted as a troop ship during WW1. So it had to be the second " Orontes " your mother sailed on in 1940. Her maiden voyage was in 1929 and she was scrapped in 1972.
The second " Orontes ", our grand old lady, also acted as a troop ship during WW2 , with distinguished service. If memory serves me correctly she was the first passenger ship that the Germans attempted to bomb from the air!
I came across a very interesting site that may be of use to you.
It's an Australian site which maintains records of newspaper articles regarding " Orontes ", ( both ) I have to warn you there is a huge amount of records which vary in content. But the records go right back to even to the earlier Orontes. A quick glance by me showed references to passenger lists etc. so you might be lucky, I do hope so.
I will send the link to your email address, ( I have checked, you have one provided ) and I wish you happy researching.
Hopefully you will find information on your mother and perhaps others that she sailed with.

Best Regards


Added by Frank Vincent on 11 March 2015.
Hi Frank.
Would it be possible to also send me those links. I travelled on the second Orontes in 1959 and while doing a bit of research I came across a Miss A Harbisher who travelled to Australia on the first Orontes. Not sure if she was related, but it would be a hell of a coincidence if she was.

Regards Michael Harbisher

Added by Michael Harbisher on 13 March 2015.
Frank, small typo. Orontes was scrapped in Valencia Spain in 1962, not 1972.

Added by David Pearson on 13 March 2015.
Hi Frank I sailed on the Orontes as a crew member from 1951 to 1953 I would also like your link to the Australian newspaper I also have a few breakfast/lunch and dinner menus from that time . Regards Den Barrett

Added by Den Barrett on 13 March 2015.
Hi Michael,

Happy to send you any links I have found but I cannot send URL's on this site as it does not permit them.
Either include your email address at the end of your posts or send me an email ( in blue at bottom of my posts )
By the way I found the arrival on the Orontes last night of Amy Pilling, June 1940, Amy is the mother of Janice Prior, so that uncertainty is now closed.
Both links have been sent to Janice so she can explore further.
One link provides newspaper articles on Orontes, the second link provides passenger arrival names ( by ship ) and date.
The second link would be useful if you were trying to remember the names of fellow passengers on your trip to Australia.



Added by Frank Vincent on 13 March 2015.
To my knowledge there has only ever been one Orontes. The Orontes departing Sydney 7/12/1960 bound for Tilbury (my voyage) had been used as a troop transporter in WW2 and was scrapped in 1962.

Added by Rosalie Lucas on 17 March 2015.
Hi Frank and thank you so much for that information. Just back from visiting my mother in Victoria Australia so will look forward to the links you sent me. Yes I do have a passenger list of my mother and pictures of several crew members etc but would love to hear from any crew member or passengers (they would have to have been small children then or babies ) on that 1940 journey during the war. My mum remembers they had to zigzag all the way.

Added by Janice on 18 March 2015.
I too would be grateful for the links having arrived Melbourne in early 1949 as an 8y.o

Added by John Craigie on 18 March 2015.
Hi Rosalie,

You are wrong, there were TWO Orontes.
Apart from my typo regarding Orontes 11 ( scrapped in 1962 ), senior moment, my post was accurate.
I will send you a link showing Orontes 1 ( Picture ) and details of her,



Added by Frank Vincent on 18 March 2015.
Many thanks again, Frank. much appreciated and will get back to you if anything interesting pops out.

Added by John Craigie on 19 March 2015.
Well, it's been an interesting few days receiving emails and posts re: Orontes links. Hopefully I have replied and forwarded the links to those that have requested them. If I have overlooked anyone please give me a prompt!
I am very impressed with the arrivals website, Australia have done a great job on that site. It's a pity that it only provides online data from 1921 - 1950 but I am sure they will bring it up to date, I do hope so. Of course they can provide later information if you are prepared to contact them. The beauty of this site is being able to see passenger lists that shared your voyage, the first stepping stone if you wish to remind yourselves of people you met and would wish to contact.
Hopefully some happy memories and who knows, possible re-unions, will emerge from using the site, I do hope so.



Added by Frank Vincent on 19 March 2015.
Frank, many thanks for the links. Is it possible there were 3 Orontes? One of the links led to some photos of the second Orontes and of an older 3 masted sailing ship. I didn't see any name for her, but she was on the same page as the Orontes. Not sure why my name didn't come up as blue the last time.

Regards Michael

Added by Michael Harbisher on 20 March 2015.
I was 6 when left TIl bury in May 1955 With my parents and 2 sisters. Have wonderful memories of this great ship. Now living in NZ. Would be interested to hear from anyone who was on the sailing that left UK May 1955. Particularly remember stopping in Colombo where we were taken to some palace and saw a prince in his crib and we had our Panama hats filled with sweets.

Added by Pamela Collier (née Thorpe) on 20 March 2015.
I was 6 when left TIl bury in May 1955 With my parents and 2 sisters. Have wonderful memories of this great ship. Now living in NZ. Would be interested to hear from anyone who was on the sailing that left UK May 1955. Particularly remember stopping in Colombo where we were taken to some palace and saw a prince in his crib and we had our Panama hats filled with sweets.

Added by Pamela Collier (née Thorpe) on 20 March 2015.
Hi Michael,

Well spotted! Yes there was another Orontes, described as a "deadweight carrier rather than a clipper" So now we have three!!!
She was launched in 1881 and sunk in 1903 following a collision. She was not an Orient Line ship. She did however sail between London and Australia.I will send you a link showing her details, no photograph, but will look further,



Added by Frank Vincent on 20 March 2015.
High Folks ,
Just another long lost memory ..I served on Orontes in early 50s as Deck boy , working on EDeck Aft . Deck Crew were given spacifck instructions not to speak to Passengers unless spoken to, however on the January trip out of Tilbury in 1953, I fell madly in love with a young girl who was on her way to Dunedin NZ with her parents , the only way we could meet was on film show nights when she would sneak out to meet me , Iwas responsable for clearing away all the chairs and stuff so had to be on standby on Deck ...The relationship was purely platonic, though I wished it to be otherwise, , we parted company in Melbourne , she bound for NZ , left me with fond memories of brief encounter with a beautiful young girl never to be seen again ..Lucky for me not to have been caught , where is she now I wonder???

Added by on 20 March 2015.
Photograph and details of " first Orontes " found !
So then there were THREE!!! Well done Michael, ( details forwarded).



Added by Frank Vincent on 20 March 2015.
Hello Pamela! My family sailed on the 31st May from Tilbury. I found the passenger lists on the (UK) National Archives site - which is worth a look if you have the time. I too must have been 6, so I don't think there is much chance of us recognizing each other! I posted other things here, way up the top.

Added by Joe on 20 March 2015.
Hi Joe nice to find someone who was on the same sailing. I will look on the site you mentioned as have had no luck in finding anything.

Added by Pamela Collier (née Thorpe) on 20 March 2015.
I left a comment back in 2013 as I was retuning to th UK after working in Wellington and Sydney. I sailed aboard "Orontes" leaving Sydney in June 1961 arriving London in August. I am trying to make contact with a lady I met on board on the last night of the journey in London named "Merle" she travelled from Perth and kept in touch for some time before returning to Perth in 1963. She enjoyed all the snow we had that winter but was glad to get back to Perth and the better weather.Later she got married (she was 21 when I met her) Later we lost touch.

Added by Roy Wilkinson on 24 March 2015.
Hello Pamela Collier - my family came out from the UK on the Orontes in 1955 - departing on 31st May 1955 - we disembarked in Sydney & then sailed to Wellington, N.Z. on the Wanganella. My twin sister & I were only 4 at the time, but our sister was 13 & brother 10. Our sister does remember a bit about the voyage - mainly about being seasick a lot of the time. I have a photo of us on the deck & of a street in Colombo where my mother was buying beads from the locals. Also, I have a copy of the Passenger list showing the surnames from Roger to Thomson.

Added by Elizabeth Bolland (nee Stopford) on 25 March 2015.
Has no one any relatives or crew members from 1940? Seems no one can go back that far!

Added by Janice on 27 March 2015.
Hi anybody out there who was on the trip that left Tilbury October 29 1957 for Australia?

Added by John Ponger on 27 March 2015.
I have now found the "The Orontes Calendar " dated 29th October 1929 ...
not sure how to load on here , wish me luck !!

Added by Nick on 02 April 2015.
Our family sailed on the SS Orontes leaving Tilbury on April 15th 1957 and arriving in Sydney on May 21st 1957. We travelled via Las Palmas, and Cape Town because of the Suez Crisis. I am interested in communicating with anyone else who was on that particular voyage.

Added by Sam Heron on 04 May 2015.
Hi Nick where did you load the calendar to - should be interesting.

Added by Janice on 06 May 2015.

Not sure how to load here or even If I can.

Added by Nick on 06 May 2015.
Hi Nick
I very much doubt it , this site prohibits the use of URL's!
I think you might be able to load the photographs onto a photo share site and provide a path for others to type into that site?



Added by Frank Vincent on 07 May 2015.
Is there a site I can look it up or are you able to email me please

Added by Janice on 08 May 2015.
When you sort out the viewing method, please could you make the photos available somehow via this website as I would love to see them too! And I'm probably not the only one....

Added by on 08 May 2015.
What if you type the site name out like this: ?

Added by Yvonne on 08 May 2015.
I email to you possibly

Added by Nick on 09 May 2015.
Maybe this site could consider opening a Facebook account is a great way to keep in touch and post things

Added by Lynn Russell on 13 May 2015.
Hi all, trying to get photos posted is hard, but one site I have used for albums and other things is Photobucket, you can send that link to anyone or post it on here. I've done this with Wedding photos and Museum ones etc, even a bike show. Good luck, it would be great to see the Grand Ladies of the sea as they were and all that they entail. Cheers everyone.

Added by Paul White on 13 May 2015.
Send me your email Janice.

Added by Nick on 14 May 2015.
In my post I put a space either side of every full stop but the admin here have decided to remove the spaces lol.

Added by Yvonne on 14 May 2015.
...except for those of us who don't use facebook!

Added by Rosalie Lucas on 14 May 2015.
There is a site on FB called Ten Pound Poms.

Added by Yvonne on 14 May 2015.
Nick its thankyou

Added by Janice on 15 May 2015.
Trying now.....

Added by Nick on 19 May 2015.
We arrived in Sydney on May 21st 1957 on the SS Orontes and caught an overnight train to Brisbane. Does anyone have a memory of travelling from Sydney to Brisbane and the stops at the Railway Refreshment Rooms on the way to South Brisbane Railway Station?
There was an initial delay when the ship docked in Sydney as per this newspaper article from that time:
From the "Canberra Times" Wednesday 22 May 1957:
Sydney, Tuesday May 21st 1957.
A smallpox scare held up disembarkation of the Orient Line ship Orontes today.
However, the child passenger whose spots caused all the fuss had measles.
Passengers and visitors were held in quarantine for an hour at Pyrmont Wharf.
The quarantine was lifted when Port doctors diagnosed measles.
The ship’s doctor said two children with measles were taken to hospital.

Added by Sam Heron on 19 May 2015.
Hi Sam
The refreshment rooms were so famous they even wrote a song about them. I haven't heard it for years but it started:

On the Queensland Railway lines
There are places where one dines
Private individuals
Also run refreshment stalls...

Apparently once you had eaten in one of them, you never forgot it.

Added by John Armstrong on 20 May 2015.
i sailed on good ship Orontes bound for adelaide in 1959 name gibson with my sister ann and parents georgeand grace gibson settled in whyalla

Added by Keith Gibson on 06 July 2015.
My name is Monty Maizels, and with my parents, twin brothers and baby sister, sailed on the Orontes on May 20, 1939. "Ten Pound Poms"! but it still seemed like luxury. A great voyage, and it is good to have the memories invoked by this website. Unfortunately, apart from my sister, there is nobody left to share them with and since she was only 17 months old she won't be much help. However, I have the passenger list, my autograph book with signatures including crew members and a set of dated menus with full-colour paintings of Australian birds.
My interest has been rekindled because I have been asked to write my autobiography and am currently up to the transition to Australia. It would be a bonus if someone else has memories or documentation about that voyage, but too much to hope for, I guess, since I am 92 years old and (literally) a dying breed!

Added by Monty Maizels on 10 September 2015.
Hi Jan, we were on the same trip, my younger brother was also two, I turned six on the boat and had a birthday party, we disembarked in Melbourne.

Added by Jeff Clarke on 10 September 2015.
Good to hear from you Monty and I wish you well in your writing! I'm sure we members of the " Orontes family " would be only to happy to provide any assistance to you. Hopefully some of the many posts will provide you with sources in obtaining further information for the book. If I can be of assistance please let me know,



Added by Frank Vincent on 10 September 2015.
Hi Monty best of luck with your memoirs. I think you must top it for the earliest time of arrival on the Orontes to Aus as my mother came out in 1940 during the war. She turns 96 in October. I have sent you an email as maybe the crew are the same as sailed in 1940 and I have photos but no names just a coupkle of first names so may be able to help each other there. I thought Jeff may have been on onbe of those trips but now reading again think it must have been later and referring to another Jan! I just wish I had researched for my mum a long time ago when others may have still be around. You never know on this site though what may pop up. Actually on my mum's passenger list I should check out the names again as it will give me ages also and see if I can trace someone that way.

Added by Janice on 11 September 2015.
I travelled to Melbourne, on the Orontes, leaving Tilbury, in August 1958, arriving Melbourne in Sept.1958. I was travelling alone, at 16 years old. £5 assisted passage. I was placed in a group, of other young boys, all travelling unaccompanied.
We had a Mr Cunninham & his then girl friend, in charge of our group, on the ship. My uncle had married an Australian, & was living in Cheltenham, Victoria. A brother, of his wife, offered me employment, if I was allowed to travel. I worked on his farm, at Carboor, Victoria, for 18 months, then with the, then Victorian Railways, for 12 months. I flew home, I April 1961, when my mother took ill, in Scotland. Settled back here, in Edinburgh.
I have quite a few, black & white photos of the Orontes, & on board it.
Our cabin steward, on that trip, was Phil Hagen
( Irish I think ). I have a photo of him, as well as Mr Cunningham. Also, pics of some of the boys I sailed with. We sailed through the Suez Canal. The ship had stops at, Gibralter, Naples, Port Said, Aden, Colombo, Freemantle, Adelaide, then Melbourne. It was quite an experience, for me, at 16. Happy to hear from anyone, who may have been on this voyage.

Added by Alexander. Jeffrey. Trotter. ( Jeff. ). on 12 September 2015.
I sailed to Melbourne, from Tilbury, in Aug./Sept, 1958.I was 16, & travelling alone.My uncle had married an Australian lady, & one of her brothers, Offered to employ me, if my parents allowed to go.An Australian guy, Mr Cunningham, was in charge of our group, during the voyage. Our cabin steward, was Phil Hagen or Hagan. I have photos of both of them. I also have photos of some of our group of boys, taken onboard.We had stops at Gibralter, Naples, Port Said, Aden, Colombo, Freemantle, Adelaide, then Melbourne. It was a big experience for me, at 16 yo. Happy to chat, with anyone who may be interested.
I was placed with a group of other young, unaccompanied boys.

Added by Alexander. Jeffrey. Trotter. ( Jeff. ). on 14 September 2015.
hi Jeff I was a waiter on her the aug 18th to 8th nov. so it looks like we sailed together . I served on many other ships out of Liverpool my home town , then emigrated to new York in 65

Added by Neville Roberts on 15 September 2015.
Hi Neville. Thanks for your entry. I just happened to look up Orontes, & came across this site. Nice to hear from someone, who was on this voyage. Sorry for my double entry. I thought the 1st one had not gone through.
Our group of boys, all slept on deck chairs, up on the top deck, as our cabin on H deck, was too warm. Our cabin steward, took some of us ashore, at Colombo, for safety.

Added by Alexander. Jeffrey. Trotter. ( Jeff. ). on 15 September 2015.
The find my past co uk website has details of all the passenger lists for orintes at that period so you can probably find your own name there.

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 16 September 2015.
Again seeking anyone who may have come out to OZ in January 1949, I think we left on New years day or Eve, 48. Names that come to mind being friends of my Mum and Dad ( Iwas 8, my sister, Frankie, was4) are the Colleanos vaudeville group, the Cosburns, and Banoffs

Added by JOHN CRAIGIE on 16 September 2015.
I have been looking at one of the German Jewish families that sailed on the Orontes, boarding in Marseilles as refugees from Nazi Germany, arriving in Melbourne on 25 June and so was delighted to come across Monty's comments as he would have been on the same voyage and been about the same age as the son of the family I am researching. I've sent him a separate email as I'd be very grateful if he could check the passenger list for me. I have checked Find My Past UK as suggested by Alasdair but the name is not there, most probably because it is the outward-bound list. I cannot locate the inbound passenger list in Australian archives however - any ideas? Thanks

Added by Jane on 17 September 2015.
Jane / Monty,

I see the records of the Maizels family arriving in Brisbane on 20th, June, 1939 on S.S. Orontes.
Mr I Maizels, Mr M Maizels, Miss P Maizels, Mrs P Maizels, Mr S Maizels, Mr Z Miazels.
I have sent this record to Monty.
If you provide me with the name you are searching for I will provide you with the record, I have sent you an email,



Added by Frank Vincent on 17 September 2015.
I am South African and was a table waiter on the last voyage of the Orontes, leaving Sydney 6 January 1962. I would like some advice on finding the passenger list for that voyage back to the UK. I got lost when using an Australian site that only showed some names for Orontes's arrival in Australia.

Added by David Pearson on 17 September 2015.
Thanks Frank and Monty,
I located the inward-bound Alien Passenger list made at Fremantle for the Orontes on 20 June, 1939 and held in the National Archives.It appears the Katz mother and son boarded in Colombo (not in UK or Marseilles as I originally thought) and this is why they were not on the UK outward-bound passenger list. Thanks for your help.

Added by Jane on 18 September 2015.
I was on the Orontes May - June 1961. My parents John and Breda Brogan. I was 21 months old and my sister Jacqueline was 7 months old. Conditions were very bad on the voyage. Families had to sleep on deck due to the heat. Chicken pox raged through the children. My baby sister got sick with bronchial pneumonia. She died 1 June in the morning and was "buried at sea" that evening. My parents were not given a choice. We were 4 days out of Fremantle. The ships Dr and the hospital facilities were inadequate. Needless to say we do not feel warm and fuzzy with our memories.

Added by Cathy Dowds on 22 September 2015.
I was on that voyage Cathy, I understand why your memories are not "warm & fuzzy". I remember sleeping out on deck due to the heat. I hope your life in Australia has been a much better experience than your voyage out here.

Added by Maureen Kilpatrick on 23 September 2015.
Oh Cathy, my heart goes out to you. What a sad story among so many happier ones. Your parents would have been devastated and you, being so young, would not remember your little sister. My best wishes to you and yours.

Added by Rosalie, Orontes ex Sydney Dec.1960 arr. Lndon January 1961 on 23 September 2015.
I find it hard to believe that the old Orontes was still in service in 62, she was a relic when I sailed on her in 58, and I served on 21 ships out of England mainly Liverpool my home town

Added by Neville Roberts on 23 September 2015.
I was just viewing views of Orontes on Google , the restaurant looked very grand with High Ceiling

Added by Nick on 26 September 2015.
the restaurant was very ornate for that time , but working it was a nightmare down the red sea with no airconditioning

Added by Neville Roberts on 30 September 2015.
Hi everyone ! As I was browsing this morning in a local Antique market, came across a charming ladies powder compact of the 1930's. In original leather case, the compact is silver metal square in shape still containing the powder! The attraction for me was the blue butterfly wing background on the front, with a SHIP and the name R.M.S Orontes ! I just had to buy it ! The seller told me he had looked on Internet for the details of the vessel and it travelled to Australia among other things ! I have spent a fascinating Afternoon on this grey Autumn day trauling through the amazing stories you have all posted about your experiences of voyages on this lovely ship, who''s image is before me on the table. How wonderful, life is ! My friend as teenagers went to I think, Chelsea Town Hall, who were having an introduction to life in Australia, and how you could get here for £10 on a ship! So we hot footed it home to our parents to tell them we were off ! Didn't go down too well! So we never did have the big adventure, and both married and settled down in Devon! Wish you all well, wherever you are.

Added by Angela Hood on 18 October 2015.
Hi everyone ! As I was browsing this morning in a local Antique market, came across a charming ladies powder compact of the 1930's. In original leather case, the compact is silver metal square in shape still containing the powder! The attraction for me was the blue butterfly wing background on the front, with a SHIP and the name R.M.S Orontes ! I just had to buy it ! The seller told me he had looked on Internet for the details of the vessel and it travelled to Australia among other things ! I have spent a fascinating Afternoon on this grey Autumn day trauling through the amazing stories you have all posted about your experiences of voyages on this lovely ship, who''s image is before me on the table. How wonderful, life is ! My friend as teenagers went to I think, Chelsea Town Hall, who were having an introduction to life in Australia, and how you could get here for £10 on a ship! So we hot footed it home to our parents to tell them we were off ! Didn't go down too well! So we never did have the big adventure, and both married and settled down in Devon! Wish you all well, wherever you are.

Added by Angela Hood on 18 October 2015.
We need a photo of the powder compact Angela !

Added by Nick on 20 October 2015.
What a lovely story Angela, welcome to the Orontes family! You now have a little piece of Orontes history of your own.
Makes one wonder who owned it and what became of them.


Added by Frank Vincent on 20 October 2015.
Hello! I was 19, years old when the Orontes sailed from Tilbury Docks on the 31st January 1961 for Australia.35, Days later we arrived at Melbourne and 54, years later I am still living in Australia. Wonderful journey on the Orontes, and yes I was a 10 Pound Migrant too. I was part of a large family of seven children, the Stoodley Family.

Added by Ben Stoodley. on 20 October 2015.
Thank you Frank ! I will get advice on getting a photo on the site so you can all see. Bit beyond my expertise at the moment but it will be done ! What guided me to the spot in South Molton market I will never know. I feel very priviledged, it has already brought me an email from Rosalie in Aus! She said on board she would look at the souvenirs in the shop, knowing they were beyond her pocket ! I wonder what other items there were, could be interesting to try and seek some out. Feel quite guilty it is with me now ! But It will be much treasured and cared for, as I am a sentimental soul ! Thanks for your message I do feel like an honorary part of your 'family'.

Added by Angela Hood on 21 October 2015.
Orontes wonderful Passenger Liner (Very Grand) We enjoyed our 35, Days on the seas, except for the time on the Bay of Biscay (Very Rough time)

Added by Ben Stoodley. on 21 October 2015.
Hi Ben, I was working on Orontes on that trip as a Nursery Stewardess so it's possible I helped look after some of your younger brothers and sisters. I can't recall your surname but there were so many as I did five trips to Australia and back. I loved the old ship and I met my husband on board, he was working as a carpenter. It is our picture of Orontes at the top of this site, painted for us by Ian Boyd. Regards to all your family.

Added by Doreen Foxwell on 21 October 2015.
RMS ORONTES served us all well, she was a grand old girl, I served on her in the 1950s as deckboy.
I wonder just how many thousands she took to OZ ?

Added by TED GREGG on 21 October 2015.
In 1952 I was allocated to clean out the Chippys Cabin each day, was your husband on board then??

Added by TED GREGG on 21 October 2015.
Doreen hello after many years! Yes you would have looked after my younger Sister Angela Stoodley who was 4 years old at the time. Lovely Picture of the Orontes. Regards to you and your Carpenter Husband.

Added by Ben Stoodley. on 21 October 2015.
What year did you start on the ship Doreen?

Added by Janice on 22 October 2015.
I have contributed to this site previously seeking comments from fellow passengers to Australia in September 1956. There must be someone who remembers that voyage because it was the first to be diverted around the Cape because of the closure of the Suez Canal. The Orontes gave a whole new meaning to the word orienteering. The voyage and visits ashore in Las Palmas, Durban and Cape Town before landfall in Fremantle were wonderful. The cruise to Sydney via Adelaide and Melbourne was an excellent introduction to Australia. Next year will be the 60th Anniversary of the voyage that berthed in Sydney in November 1956 and I would love to hear from fellow passengers.

Added by Nick Bell on 22 October 2015.
Spent many an evening on Board at "The Pig & Whistle" Drinking with Friends made on Board SS Orontes.

Added by Ben Stoodley. on 25 October 2015.
SS Orontes great memories of our trip to Australia, and a great Steward! Alex, who looked after our large Stoodley family of nine at the Dinning, very well.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 27 October 2015.
Father had been posted to Woomera by the RAF and we came back to the UK on the SS Orontes in 1957 having gone out to Oz in the SS Arcadia in 1955.

Added by Steven Lillywhite on 06 November 2015.
Is it possible to purchase prints of this ship anywhere that anyone is aware of? My mother, uncle and her parents travelled on this ship from England arriving Melbourne 13th June 1958. I would be very interested to hear if there are?

Added by David Lang on 09 November 2015.
I was captains table waiter march 1958 captain ayles. Head waiter c.bicford aka Mary picford a martinet but fair. I cannot recoil names but a family going to Adelaide to open agaraga business also a young couple .I often wonder how they fared. I am now 87 but fit.

Added by Eric Bath. on 14 November 2015.
Hi Doreen Foxwell thanks for your part OF YOUR STORY ON THE SS Orontes from Tilbury sailing on the 31st January 1961.Yes we were a large family of 10, including Mother & Father. Sad to say we lost Mother &n; Father plus a Sister & Brother, along the way.Today I'm am well into my 70s and enjoying Retirement in Australia.Regards, Ben.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 15 November 2015.
I sailed on Orontes on its last voyage. I'm just completing a memoir, part of which includes this amazingly memorable trip as a penniless teenager. I'm curious to know where the ship sailed from in Sydney? I thought it was Pyrmont, but it doesn't come up on the internet. Any help would be appreciated.

Added by LInette Reynolds on 28 November 2015.
On the SS Orontes I became friends with a Marie Carter, Passenger who departed the Orontes at Adelaide South Australia, in March 1961..Never heard from Marie again, as she promised me, she would keep in touch. I have Wondered if she settled OK in Adelaide Australia all them years ago, or if she returned to England some-time, later.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 30 November 2015.
Is there a chance we could have a Facebook group site like this

Added by Lynn Russell on 02 December 2015.
I arrived in Sydney, aboard the Orontes on 1 December 1960. I remember sailing under the Harbour Bridge, doing a sharp left hand turn and docking at one of the old Finger Wharves.

Added by David Hughes on 02 December 2015.
Thanks to the Waiter Roberts-Neville, who contacted me through Email. Our Waiter (A very good one)0n the Orontes was Alex a Scot, if you happen to read this Alex? Thanks mate, from an older version today.(, Stoodley's he looked after, well. Both my Parents have now moved on.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 03 December 2015.
My father was a deckhand in 57/58, he was involved in the rescue of a young women who threw herself overboard, he was awarded a small sum of money and a set of photos that showed the rescue boats being launched.

Added by Paul Norman on 07 December 2015.
I was just 14 years when my family sailed from Tilbury on the 26 May 1951 on the SS Orontes. I have written an account of the trip, but I cannot remember the day we disembarked at Melbourne. Entry permit Perth 26 June '51. We were ten pound Pomes and we were sponsored by a family at Yarrawonga. It was a cultural shock at first but before long we became naturalised and never yearned to go back.

Added by Marion Hermione Scott (Donner) on 26 December 2015.
My memory of the Orontes stems from when I was 6 and a half. I believe we came in 1958 via the Suez Canal and Colombo. My sister has a passenger list from the trip with all our names on it. We had a relative who sponsored our trip and we arrived in Melbourne and travelled 3 days by train when we go here. Our destination was Townsville. I remember that most of my family got sea sick and my 4 year old sister and myself were the only people at our table. We got to order ice-cream served by very elegant looking waiters dressed in black and white. It would have made a sight as the table was meant to seat 9 people. I nearly drowned in the pool on the day we crossed the Equator. There were all sorts of water sports that day - it was a spectacle with people playing games in the pool. I remember spending time in the little children's pool and how they would bring wafer ice-creams for all the children. There was a cinema on the boat too. When we go to Colombo dad took 3 of us off the boat and the beggars quickly surrounded him. ALLAH they chanted. I was overawed and then dad took us to a store near the water and had his tattoo touched up. We had to sit outside on a bench in a strange place with men in robes walking past us and eyeing us with curiosity. I had blues eyes, rosy cheeks and blonde curls. It was a very interesting experience to feel so alien at such a young age.

Added by Brigitte Williams on 27 December 2015.
Reading all these memories brings back mine. It will be 56 years ago this month that we landed in Adelaide. Each Christmas I have out four small Christmas tree decorations which were on our table for Christmas on board - hoping they will last a few more years. I was 14, my sister 16 when we made this journey with our parents. My Mum passed away 18 months ago but my Dad has just had his 96th birthday so Australia has been good to them. I'm in England now but fly to Oz regularly to see family - a bit different to those days on the ship. I will always treasure my memories, many of them similar to others, and it is only in recent years I have really appreciated how brave my parents were in making this new start in our lives. I wish you all, wherever you may be now, a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Added by Heather Clarkin on 02 January 2016.
My Memory! Spent many an evening with the Maunders, & White families at the "Pig & Whistle" on Board the SS Orontes, had many happy nights.
We all settled at Melbourne.The Stoodley Boys (4) never returned to England in all these years. Both Parents have now past on, plus one Sister..

Added by Ben Stoodley on 03 January 2016.
We came to Australia on the Orontes in April 1959 they were fighting in one of the port so we couldn't get off the boat, ther was an outbreak of measles and my mother spent most of her time in quarantine, my family name is McDonald as we were traveling with 7 kids.

Added by Lily Arthur on 03 January 2016.
Himto Heather Clarkin, we must have been on the same voyage . I was a 9 yeard old Finnish girl. Australia has been good to us but I do love to spend time in Finland regularly.

Added by on 07 January 2016.
Ben Stoodley, I am one of two children of Elizabeth White. What year was that mate, it would be interesting to reminisce over the trip, I think we came out in 1956 or 57 and I remember only fragments, such as going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and thinking we'd hit it. Looked so close from a 5 yr olds perspective. Cheers mate.

Added by Paul H white on 08 January 2016.
I loved reading the post by Heather Clarkin and would also wish to send my good wishes to you all for 2016!
For most of us we have at least two things in common, Orontes and Australia, two major experiences we were all privileged to share.
Like Heather my thoughts go out to my late parents who were so brave to undertake leaving what they knew behind in search of a better life.
In today's modern world with accessibility to jet travel, internet, FaceTime etc. not a big deal, but remember how it was for them!
Australia and all of us should be very proud of all who ventured there and helped to make Australia what it is today.

Added by Frank Vincent on 08 January 2016.
Our Family of 7, Children plus my 2 Parents, sailed from Tilbury Docks on the 31st January 1961 on the SS Orontes.A wonderful journey which lasted 35, days, before arriving Melbourne.Today I am well and truly retired and still live in my adopted Country Australia. Both my Parents have passed on, Mother in 2007, Father in 2009, plus a sister and Brother too, none of our Stoodley family, ever returned to England, we settled down in Australia.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 08 January 2016.
I have a travel log of the journey from Tilbury to Australia

Added by Nick on 09 January 2016.
This is an extract from a note on my voyage to Australia in 1956 written in 2014. My memory mainly stimulated by a collection of colour slides. I have removed the pictures and a large amount of material irrelevant to the voyage. It is answer to the comment by Nick Bell (10 April 2014) that no one else seems to have mentioned this sailing of the Orontes on this website.

My ship The Orontes looked very impressive in the dock and after saying my farewells I climbed the gangway to be greeted by the purser and shown my cabin down in the depths by a crewman who explained that I would be sharing my cabin with five other chaps and as I was the first aboard the choice of bunks was mine. Not difficult: either upper or lower there being no porthole to command the daylight. Whilst stowing my gear another chap arrived so after introductions we quickly made our way to the upper decks to wave and shout to our friends and family though I do not recollect that there was anyone to see him off to New Zealand.

Fortunately we left the dock and anchored or moored in midstream to await the tide. With some relief for our well-wishers could now go home. Tilbury Docks was not a convivial fun place then. Indeed I don’t think it has improved much in the intervening fifty five years. I felt for them just standing there not knowing what was going on. Today we would be in contact by mobile phone but then again today there are no passenger ships taking 10-pound Pom’s to Australia – they fly there. So we were indeed lucky. We sailed in the evening and I remember passing the Labworth Café in the dark and flashing my torch in case any of the family were on the sea wall to watch our transit out of the Thames. Earlier we had met our cabin mates, all Scottish I believe, and sorted out our dinning table. Funny that arriving first made me an old hand (probably because I had had time to explore) and it seemed to continue throughout the voyage, at least until my escapade at Freemantle.
We were 1800 young people immigrating to Australia on a one-class ship. I being 23 was in the higher age bracket. My earlier friend was a photographic buff and I had been very keen, doing my own developing and printing in the bathroom at home. Holding the ends of the film and running it through the developer by lowering and raising each hand synchronously. I had never owned a camera and had to borrow from whoever would lend me theirs. So I bought a camera on board from the ship’s seductive shop for 15 pounds 10 shillings which considering my total funds for the voyage was 25 pounds left me very little. Not that much was needed on the voyage except for shore excursions. Strange to reflect now that there was not the drinking and beer culture then or during my time in the RAF. Perhaps we could not afford any excesses. The camera was a Zeiss Ikon Contina 35mm, which served me for many years and was the source of most of my slides and negatives until about 1980. I still have it and Brenda maintained I have not taken a decent photograph since I abandoned it. I had taken one book to read “Martin Chuzzlewit written by Charles Dickens. Only having read the preface which was entertaining, the main text too much like hard work but likely to be read during a long voyage. I do not think I ever finished it, there were too many distractions.
The Orontes had seen much service by the time I boarded her in 1956. Launched in 1929 she sailed on her maiden voyage in February 1930 bound for Sydney. During the Second World War she served as a troop ship surviving air attacks during the landings at both Sicily and Salerno as did the Otranto. Her other two sister ships did not survive the war both being sunk. She resumed her immigrant voyages to Australia in 1948 as one class ship with 1410 passengers Tilbury to Sydney. She was broken up in Valencia age thirty-three.
We awoke next morning to rough cold weather somewhere along the Channel being summoned to breakfast by a bugle call, which was rather nostalgic. Reminding me of Air Training Corp (ATC) and National Service days. The dinning tables were sparsely populated due maybe to the fatigue of the send-off or the cold and rolling conditions, nevertheless I got to meet some of the others. I remember two Scottish girls whose luggage had not been loaded aboard for some reason, were being given odd garments by the other girls.We had not realized then that the Suez Canal crisis was on and that was our reason for the diversion around the Cape of Good Hope.We were to call in at Gran Canaria, Cape Town, Durban, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne before my final destination of Sydney. The ship then carried onto New Zealand.
The English Channel was windy and moderately rough so there was not too much activity on deck. Across Biscay the weather improved surprisingly – enough to use the pool. (Years later I sailed across that infamous bay twice to dead calm water and motoring almost the whole 300 miles). A Scottish friend and I climbed onto the awning over the pool and spent a glorious night sleeping under the stars. However we were severely told off the next morning for although the huge canvas awning was strong enough the pool was drained at night. So it would have been a hard landing. After that the awning was removed to frustrate any more idiot adventurers.
As we passed the approaches to the Mediterranean even though our ship had been rerouted we were oblivious of the war and politics going on over the Suez Canal. We were too occupied with our new environment and the adventures ahead of us. It was only in 2006, the fiftieth anniversary, as the facts and events emerged that I learnt of what happened and the role of the United States in the vital passageway’s ignominious end and the fall of Sir Anthony Eden.
But here we were at our first port of call, the largest of the Canary Islands. On our shore trip I remember the white houses and brightly painted doors and of course the dancing that was performed for us. I visited Grand Canaria on the way out and back from the Gambia where I was the Produce Chemist for the Gambian Government in 1964 when the flight required an overnight stop.
The voyage continued down the west coast of Africa which was generally out of sight until we closed the infamous skeleton coast of what is now Namibia. We amused ourselves playing cards telling jokes and standing for hours leaning over the stern rail watching the wake and the huge Albatross that glided effortlessly with us.
We awoke in the early morning of this late October to find the ship hove-to off Cape Town. The city and ourselves were bathed in the early morning sunlight and Table Mountain had spectacularly laid a tablecloth for us. By the time we had washed, had breakfast and gathered together our shore-going gear, the ship was being made fast to the dock. We watched the exciting activities that an arrival in port engenders.
My friend and I went ashore and walked to the city center – a much smaller garden like place than it is today. We were lucky that the cable car to the summit of the mountain was in operation and we wandered almost by ourselves across the tabletop in the sunshine surrounded by gorse and the glorious views of the Cape. I also posed for an intended climb at the mountain edge.
Some forty years later when Brenda and I were backpacking around South Africa the cable car was not running and the city had changed out of all recognition.

Whilst returning to the ship we were stopped by a South African who wanted to talk to us about the restrictions imposed on coloured people and that we should help by telling the world. We at the time were completely ignorant of the advance of racism and prejudice being enacted in in South Africa. I made the excuse that we had to quickly return to the ship, not wishing to get involved with, as I now understand this brave man who only wanted to make us aware of their plight.

The Orontes then rolled its way around the Southern Ocean to Durban where we managed a short trip to Zululand meeting a Chief, his Wives, his Children and perhaps his Cousins and his Aunts.
A worthwhile visit that although arranged for us gave the scene and feel to the Africa of which I had read as a boy. “Prestor John”, “Saunders of the River” and The Boys Own Paper. Years later when I worked briefly in Malawi (Nyasaland) the landscape was even more evocative of these adventure stories.
Returning to Durban we saw a demonstration of Zulu warriors in full kit carrying out their battle stamping and shouts before the charge. So well enacted many years later in the film “Zulu”.
We then departed for the long cruise across the Indian Ocean to Perth.

Landfall at Perth after so many days at sea was not the only cause of our excitement, but also our first encounter with our new country and our new life.
Actually it was the port of Fremantle, an industrial area with a prison, not the cosmopolitan, high value real estate it is today. That era was probably started by the “Americas Cup” racing that was hosted there in the eighties.
Coaches took us into town in no time at all and we were left to explore the city, we being my Scots friend and two girls. After this we made our way to Kings Park before deciding to return to the ship. We waited and waited for the bus that did not come. The friend deserted us deciding he could make his way back more easily unencumbered by the girls in their high heel shoes perhaps.
Eventually a bus came, but it turned out to be the bus that picks up the school kids and was not due into Fremantle until after the ship had sailed. The driver was sympathetic to our plight or maybe it was the girls, all I could offer him was my remaining ten shilling note to put his foot down. Which fortunately he did ignoring all the outstretched hands of the scholars wishing to get home to their tea. He took us at hair raising speed to the dock gates where we ran to the quayside just in time ... to see the ship move away and hear first, the band’s tannoy play“ A Life on the Ocean Wave” and then the cheer as my fellow passengers, all 1800 of them it seemed, saw this wretched chap with 3 weeks of uncut blond hair arrive with two girls and their shopping bags. Fortunately an Australian tapped me on the shoulder and said the ship had to turn around before it could leave the harbour, or somesuch manoeuvre, and we could get the pilot boat to take us out. I can remember climbing aboard this small tug-like vessel while the skipper radioed that he had three of his passengers aboard. We made it to the port side of the Orontes which by this time was heading out of the harbour at some speed, two doors half way up the side of the ship opened and a rope ladder was thrown down. The girls gave their shoes and shopping to me and clambered up the ladder, where they were helped aboard by two strong matelot’s. I meanwhile was struggling up the ladder with two pairs of shoes, shopping bags and my own gear. I made it with the help of the sailors but my relief was short lived as I was confronted by the “Master of Arms” with arms folded across his chest “May I have your have name sir”?
We were very lucky. Had we missed the ship there was no way we would have caught it up across the 1700miles of Nullabor Plain to Adelaide with no money in our pockets. My thanks go to those great Aussies for their instantaneous rescue.
I was required to apologise to the Captain on behalf of myself
and the two girls but not fined as I expected. I had to repeat the story to my fellow voyagers but after about one hundred times I embellished the story to include a dressing down by the Captain and a spell in the brig if I went out of line again.
Adelaide was a quiet city that I remember for its cathedral and a few minutes walk seemed to take you out of town onto dirt roads. I burst into a bar that had swing doors like a Western movie and drew my make believe six shooters. Such was my lack of maturity at 23 years, or perhaps I was flashing back to those Saturday matinees during the war when The Lone Ranger and Tonto held the screen (I can also remember the noise in the cinema and fighting and that we did not appreciate the singing cowboy. But I digress). Adelaide was also where one of the girls left to get married to I think her pen friend. I returned to the city many years later as my Brother Jim and his family emigrated there.
It always seemed (unjustifiably) to me a dead end of a place, too far from the sea and had never recovered from the loss of Formula One to Melbourne.
That city was our next port of call where most of the emigrant passengers left, it being, I believe government policy to designate particular cities for population expansion.
I took a train out to the suburbs to meet Brenda’s Aunt with whom she had corresponded for some time. She and her husband were very early immigrants who had attempted to farm crops in an outback region that as it later turned out was not suited to agriculture because of the poor soil and lack of rainfall, so I understood. However the Aunt was not at home but Brenda met her a year later when she came out on the Strathaird.
Melbourne was said to be more like London certainly the city centre had similar architecture. I remember on the way back to the ship men heading for home with their Gladstone bags full I understood with beer bottles. This was the time of the “six O’clock swill” which I would also encounter in Canberra.
I also remember, as we were about to leave, some of our shipboard friends seeing us off but sadly in tears as they had been allocated a rather poor hostel. It was also I suppose leaving the security and the friends made during the weeks at sea together.
Next stop Sydney where I was to disembark and where the Orontes continued onto New Zealand.
I got up early to see us enter The Heads and sail down that amazing waterway to the Darling Harbour Docks with it’s lines of warehouses and where we collected our sea- chest. This old dockland is now a very up-market, expensive location.
Ashore I was met by John from the Medical Chemistry Department. I think he organised the transportation and delivery of my box, then we headed out to Canberra in the University Car via the mysterious Lake George that they said just appeared one day.
Home was to be Brassey House where I joined the resident band of British delinquent colleagues led by Arch probably the only level headed one amongst us.
The Civic Center was just that, a small shopping area opposite which was a large green park from which I saw the flame on it’s way to the Melbourne Olympics.

Added by Frank Robinson on 12 January 2016.
A wonderful description, Frank. You have had a great life, full of many, varied experiences. I often think I should write down mine, perhaps you will have encouraged me to make that step before it is too late. All the best.
Heather Clarkin (nee Bray)

Added by Heather Clarkin on 12 January 2016.
Frank, thank you for your beautifully poetic description of your journey on the Orontes. My family went out to Australia in 1955 when I was nine years old--just before the closing of the Suez Canal so it was very interesting to hear from someone who had "gone the long way round"

Added by Louise McGurk on 12 January 2016.
Thank you Frank, You have rekindled memories of that life changing voyage in the 60th year after departure from Tilbury. I was 20 years old and had just completed National Service in the Royal Marines when motivated by the tragic death of elder brother Peter who was killed when his jet plane crashed through 3 feet of ice on Lake Winnipeg, Canada during a RAF NATO training flight. A family decision was made to start new life in Australia so with my Mam, Helen Dad, Jimmy, younger siblings, , Terry and Tess we traveled overnight from Newcastle by steam train to board 'Orontes'. Shipmates include 3 RN Sailors going to join the RNZ Navy, Manfred from Germany, a young man for Egypt, refugees for Hungary who had made friends with a brother and sister from Scotland. Chef, Mr Toovey who was bond for the Olympic Games Village at Heidelberg with his family, and a young Salvation Army cornet player with whom I had an innocent shipboard romance.
As well as emigrants there were many homeward bound Australians and New Zealanders. Tug of war between the Anzacs and the Rest were keenly contested and always won by the Anzacs who all in good fun managed to tie one end of the rope to the bulwarks. Stimulating company, exotic shore visits, swimming pool and deck games, concerts and dances, highlighted by King Neptune presiding over the Crossing the Equator Ceremony combined to make this voyage to the future exciting and full of happy memories. We disembarked at Sydney and soon after my Mam died I moved to Perth in 1962 where with wife(little bride) Pat, 6 children, 12 grand children, and 3 great grand children we all enjoy the wonderful opportunities provided by Australia.
I will celebrate the 60th anniversaries of the departure from Tilbury, the Fremantle landfall, and disembarkation at Sydney this year and will post comments on this site on the dates. Frank can you please email me the date of departure from Tilbury.

Added by Nick Bell. on 13 January 2016.
Hi Terri Strange re your late brother and his wife I am sure they sat at the captains table. I remember they were on their honeymoon and left the ship in Melbourne Hope this is of interest to you regards Eric

Added by Eric Bath on 13 January 2016.
Hi Nick Bell; Great to read of your voyage and experiences in Australia. I am currently in Thailand but as soon as I can lay my hand on the departure date I will let you know.

Added by Frank Robinson on 22 January 2016.
Wonderful site! Thank you. my mother (9mths old) with mother and sisters took the orontes voyage to australia 1946 docking in Adelaide where they all made succesful happy lives for themselves n aall there offspring, namely me! Family name then ~ Fairhurst.. I have photos of the children on the deck

Added by Deb Pilgrim on 02 February 2016.
I came out on the ship with my 2 small children - it was no picnic to be on my own with 2 small children. However I have to own that, as a 10 pound pom, I was allocated a comfortable cabin with 2 berths and a cot for my 16 mths old son. I was also blessed with the services of Tony, our fabulous Italian deck steward, as well as much assistance from extremely friendly cabin neighbours with older children.
In Comparison
After 10 years in General Medical Practice in Wauchope NSW, as "Whinging Poms" we returned to Blighty, staying with my brother's family in Southampton for 6 months. Realising that we couldn't resettle because we were more Aussie than POM we decided to return under own steam this time.
My husband made his return trip as a ship's doctor to prepare for our next home-coming, leaving us to sail back on the another ship - the Flavia.
Once again I found myself in charge of this time 2 teenagers and a one 10 year old. Don't know which was the hardest voyage. Ha! Ha!
Thanks you Orontes

Added by Joan Thomas on 04 February 2016.
I came out on the ship with my 2 small children - it was no picnic to be on my own with 2 small children. However I have to own that, as a 10 pound pom, I was allocated a comfortable cabin with 2 berths and a cot for my 16 mths old son. I was also blessed with the services of Tony, our fabulous Italian deck steward, as well as much assistance from extremely friendly cabin neighbours with older children.
In Comparison
After 10 years in General Medical Practice in Wauchope NSW, as "Whinging Poms" we returned to Blighty, staying with my brother's family in Southampton for 6 months. Realising that we couldn't resettle because we were more Aussie than POM we decided to return under own steam this time.
My husband made his return trip as a ship's doctor to prepare for our next home-coming, leaving us to sail back on the another ship - the Flavia.
Once again I found myself in charge of this time 2 teenagers and a one 10 year old. Don't know which was the hardest voyage. Ha! Ha!
Thanks you Orontes

Added by Joan Thomas on 04 February 2016.
My Father was WO Alfred frank Brownell, a British soldier in India, he ran a work shop. I have a card which he was given, Fornt is Orient Line, R.M.S ORONTES. Menu, Landfall Dinner. 1946, Bombay; 30th June, Suez; 8th June, Pert Said; 9th July, Southampton 16th July.
menu, Creme Alexandra, Grilled Dover sole, Braised ham, Roast chicken, Baked and boiled potatoes, Green Peas; Fruit salad. Orange Icecream and cheese platter etc, Dad is no longer with us but he was real glad he missed getting the first ship home as it was sunk by the Germans

Added by Pamela Brownell on 25 February 2016.
I arrived in Adelaide 26th August 1957 with my sister and parents I was 10years old what a great adventure

Added by David Jones on 10 March 2016.
I sailed on an Orient Line ship (I have a sticker on my small suitcase which I still have) and arrived in Southampton on 31st July 1957 from Colombo. I cannot remember the name of the ship how can I find this out?

Added by Jamie De Bruin on 25 March 2016.
Sailed with parents Ted and Mirrie Bennett myself Ronny an 11 year old from Port Adelaide in August 1956, ran into an incredible storm in the
australian Bight, smooth crossing of Indian Ocean, almost at Colombo we were ordered to divert around the Cape of Good Hope due to the Suez Crissis unfolding.I think the new destination was to be Cape Town but due to low fuel and food stocks she put into Durban, Stayed nearly 2 days, next stop was Cape town followed by Gambia where we were not allowed ashore due to a yellow fever out break.Then onto Tilbury.I have great memories of the nearly 5 weeks we spent aboard.I have few snaps as we called them from the family album which I will post at a later date.

Added by Ronald H Bennett on 05 April 2016.
My family sailed out of Tilbury Docks, on the 31st January 1961, on the SS Orontes, with my Parents and Siblings, and that was over 55, years ago. I have never returned to England in all these years.And very proud to live in my Adopted Country Australia.Our family is now smaller with the loss of both my Parents and a Sister and a Brother.We did settle in Melbourne Victoria.No longer a Whinging Pom.

Added by Ben Stoodley on 10 May 2016.
Major thankies for the article. Much obliged. Reinowski

Added by Williampr on 15 May 2016.
I've just read Julie Hodder's post of April 11 2014.I would have been on the same voyage as a six year old 10 pound pom with my parents. We were on E deck.

My memories (in no particular order)include Las Palmas, Capetown, King Neptune, the fancy dress party for us kids, a storm in the Great Australian Bight, some sort of emergency on a ship moored opposite us in Fremantle, and a delay in disembarking at Sydney because of a quarantine issue. This must have been the last trip before the Suez reopened. Coincidentally, my father had travelled on the Orontes as a soldier during its time as a troop ship in WW2 and my Father in Law commanded a corvette that sailed with it in convoy.

Added by Peter Jenkins on 21 June 2016.
My family of Mum and Dad and 5 kids was on board as 10 pound Scots departing Tilbury in February 1958. Settled in Sydney, I was 12 years old, due to my on board experience I run away to sea at the age of 15 years, joining the Royal Australian Navy. Family name is Connolly.

Added by James Connolly on 22 June 2016.
Ref. Peter Jenkins post on 21June 2016.
You mention being on board Orontes, age 6, as a £10 pom. I travelled out, to Melbourne, in August 1958, on Orontes. Children were £5 each. Adults £10. I was un accopanied, age 15. I was in a group of about 12, unaccompanied boys, with a guy in charge of us. I was given the chance, to go out to my uncle, who had married an Australian. A brother, of his wife, employed me, on his sheep farm, near Wangaratta, in Victoria. I returned home, to Scotland, in April, 1961, when my mother was seriously ill, here.

Added by Jeff ( Jeffrey ) Trotter. on 26 July 2016.
My parents, 2 older brothers and I left Tilbury on the Orontes on 23 Feb 1955 arriving in Adelaide on 25 Mar. I had my 10th birthday on board and our cabin stewards, Ross and Vincent arranged a lovely party for me. I think the captain's name was Pinkney. It was an extraordinary experience for me at that age. I thought the vendors in their little boats at Pt Said were pirates and wouldn't let go of my father's hand. I remember being appalled at the poverty in Aden and flies all over the food offered for sale. When we stopped in Colombo a man rushed out of the crowd and asked our guide if he could buy me (probably attracted by my blonde hair). After translation my father left him in no doubt that it was no deal! I still have postcards of the ship and menu cards from the trip. My parents have passed on now but the rest of us and our families are still living happily in Adelaide.

Added by Coleen Benham on 23 August 2016.
Hi, I Love everyone's comments. I was 6 the day before boarding the Orontes which was Feb 5 1958. I remember walking up the gangplank of the Orontes with my 3 year old brother and parents. I enjoyed the voyage, the swimming pool, the stop off trips and generally just the lazy time as a child. We left the Orontes in Brisbane in early mid March and were bussed off to a camp where we stayed a few days. From there we caught a train to Mt Isa and spent 6 months. My father worked double shifts in the mines and then moved us all to Melbourne, Victoria because he had more opportunity to work in his trade as a stone mason or bricklayer. Fond memories, it was a good time.

Added by Deborah Cameron (Wilson) on 15 September 2016.
Hi...does anyone remember my dad Eric Barker from Gravesend, Kent who was a deckboy on the Orontes in the late fifties early sixties.

Added by Jeff Barker on 17 November 2016.
I left Tilbury in February 1955 just after my 21st Birthday with my husband, we disembarked in Fremantle and journeyed to Wagin, a wheat farming town about 300 ? miles from Perth (not sure of the mileage. We stayed with an Uncle and Aunt of my husbands. I had come from Tunbridge Wells (High Brooms) in Kent and worked in an office London so you can imagine the surprise - but I got to love the place. Have since lived in most states in Australia and at present am living in Queensland. I have remarried an Australian man and wouldn't change my life for all the tea in China. Australia certainly is a wonderful country.

Added by Iris McCathie (Vinall) nee Walton) on 25 November 2016.
We returned on the Orontes from Sydney late January 1960
Arriving Tilbury end of February. I would love to hear from anyone on that voyage.

Added by James (Jim) Snee on 22 January 2017.
Arrived at Sydney on board Orontes July 1955 as an 8 year old. Our cabin was on E deck near the Pursers pantry. Still have great memories of the time aboard the great ship.

Added by Bob Brocklebank on 28 January 2017.
Good old Orantes, as a troopship, brought me home, 1947, from Bombay to Southampton afer three years service in R.A.F. in India.

Added by Paul Lawson on 08 February 2017.
We travelled to Australia in 1961 parents were Frank Murphy and Christine Murphy, My name Wilma and my sister Kristen. 10.00 poms.we returned to UK in 1966 my father remained in Australia

Added by Wilma Murphy on 09 February 2017.
My family emigrated to Australia sailing on the Orontes from Tilbury on Feb 5th 1958. We had a cabin on H deck. My father was the ship's chaplain. Our hold luggage got lost and as we reached the tropics my mother had to buy material from the ship's shop and make summer clothes for us. The voyage was a fantastic experience as far as I was concerned, even the Bay of Biscay. I remember the chairs in the dining room had to be chained to the floor, the tables had extra strips of wood screwed to the edges and table cloths were wetted to stop the crockery sliding off on to the floor. The crew, especially the cabin stewards were wonderful in what must have been very challenging circumstances.

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Added by Jeremiah on 20 April 2017.
I have a Orontes Journey map book .....

Added by Nick on 13 May 2017.
Does anyone know where it is possible to get a high resolution photo of the SS Orontes as I would like to get one for my mother who travelled on this boat from England to Australia on June 13, 1958. Many thanks David

Added by David Lang on 14 May 2017.
I was a bedroom steward on the Orontes, she was a fine old ship but she was on her last legs and showed her age. We took a full load of British people all emigrating to oz. There were many single women and young mothers with children onboardwho's husbands had gone ahead to find work and find a place to live. They were such nice people full of great expectations. This was my last trip as a merchant seaman. I had just been employed with BOAC as an air steward to begin training at London Heathrow in August 1960. I wish I could remember names of the many lovely people that I met on the Orontes but my memory fails me. I always felt that the emigrants were brave and Australia was lucky to have them. Bless them, wherever they are now.i remember a girl who was travelling with her younger brother and Dad who I became good friends with..she was going to Brisbane..often wonder how she and her family made out, I can still see her face...Good memories.

Added by Danny Gallacher on 22 May 2017.
After what seems a very long time, realised we had not had any alerts to new comments on the Orontes website. Have just had a look and it is still going strong.....any idea why we have been "struck off" so to speak ?

Added by Flora & Tom Blackwood on 05 July 2017.
Hi all,
My Dad travelled to Australia from the Tilby Docks, London, in July 1957 arriving in Sydney, Australia, 31 August 1957.
He tells a story of great adventure but that for a boy of 12, the trip of 6 weeks was too long.
He remembers the "bum boats" in the Suez Canal and the stacks sticking out of the water of the sunken ships, Pompei, smoke coming from the volcano when they were there, Columbo, monsoonal rain, and the food on board. Being a 12yr old boy, food was quite important to him. Lol. He remembers the men in the bum boats were keen to swap anything they had for the English cigarettes - better than money.
He remembers dropping his little sister at the kindergarten at the front of the ship and running around with all the other kids on board.
He also mentioned the woman who fell off the top of the ship. She was apparently posing for photos sitting on top of the handrail and the ship swayed due to wind/waves and she fell off, port side. He said the sharks were huge in those days and there was a fear for her. The boats were put in to go rescue her whilst the ship had to turn around.
B :)

Added by Bronnie on 12 August 2017.
Just out of interest, I found the passenger list on Find My Past.

Added by Bronnie on 12 August 2017.
My first cousin x3 removed was crew on Orontes on its first voyage from London to Sydney arriving 17th July 1903. He died in February 1904 in Melbourne, don't know cause. Would love to know. His name was Arthur Birt

Added by Norita Eden on 19 August 2017.
Its a very long bow, but after going through most of the comments, somebody may recall or even know the answer.
After attending Queen Elizabeths Coronotion, Queen Salote returned home, most of that journey was onboard RMS Orontes, having joined the ship at Naples, arriving at Sydney, 22nd August 1953.
This was to be the final two class sailing, as on reaching Sydney Orontes became One Class.
Does anyone know the cabin Queen Salote occupied, it was not The Top Suite, but a suitable cabin on E Deck!
The only major alteration was to the nearby salt water bath, the standard bath was replaced with a larger one, this bath remained on the ship until the end of service.
Any relplies will be appreciated, thankyou.

Added by David Merton on 06 September 2017.
My mother sister and grandmother and I sailed from Surabaia Indonesia in 1957 To RotterdamIM DO NOT REMEBER EXACT HOW OLD I WAS BUT I THINK I WAS 6 YEARS. I WONDER IF THE PASSENGER LIST STILL CAN BE FIND somewhere.

Added by Laszlo Kaya on 31 October 2017.
Hi My Mother and brother sailed on the Orontes in 1956 leaving Tilbury around June sailing to Sydney. She was young and innocent and had no idea how far Australia as from her homeland. Mum is still alive and extremely full of life at 86. She often talks of a man she met on this voyage called Denzel, I gather he was an officer or engineer on the Orontes, would love to make contact.

Added by Lorraine Brown on 06 November 2017.
Hey does anyone remember a beautiful lady called Jewel sailed with her 1 year old son Keith on the Orontes in 1956 heading to Sydney.

Added by Lorraine Brown on 06 November 2017.
I also have very fond childhood memories of a voyage onboard the RMS Orontes with my younger brother and English parents in Oct/Nov 1958.My brother and I were born in Port Moresby, Aust Teritory PNG due to my father working for dept.Lands and Mines as Surveyor in the 50's, We flew down to Sydney, train from Sydney to Melbourne where we boarded RMS Orontes, ports of calls were Adelaide, possibly Freemantle, Aden, Port Said, Naples disembarking Southampton, an exiting trip for two young fellers, however I remember the shock of Cold of Dark Winters that eventually forced me back to Oss.I now live in The Netherlands with many happy memories of PNG & Austrailia.I would love to find a passenger list for this voyage RMS Orontes Astralia-Southampton, GB Oct/Nov 1958
Any help would be greatly appreciated

Added by Grahame Young on 24 November 2017.
I also have very fond childhood memories of a voyage onboard the RMS Orontes with my younger brother and English parents in Oct/Nov 1958.My brother and I were born in Port Moresby, Aust Teritory PNG due to my father working for dept.Lands and Mines as Surveyor in the 50's, We flew down to Sydney, train from Sydney to Melbourne where we boarded RMS Orontes, ports of calls were Adelaide, possibly Freemantle, Aden, Port Said, Naples disembarking Southampton, an exiting trip for two young fellers, however I remember the shock of Cold of Dark Winters that eventually forced me back to Oss.I now live in The Netherlands with many happy memories of PNG & Austrailia.I would love to find a passenger list for this voyage RMS Orontes Astralia-Southampton, GB Oct/Nov 1958
Any help would be greatly appreciated

Added by Grahame Young on 24 November 2017.
58 years ago (22 Dec 1959) my family set off to Australia on the Orontes. A great 'adventure' and I have many treasured memories. I still have the little Christmas trees which were on our dining table and they are part of my decorations each year. I'm now back in England but have family in Australia and visit them regularly. Of course I miss them all, particularly at this time of year. I often think of the other people who made that 'special' trip and hope their lives turned out well. Especially thinking of you all now and wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year wherever you may be. xx

Added by Heather Clarkin (nee Bray) on 23 December 2017.
Hi I travelled on this lovely ship with my sister and parents. We picked up the SS Orontes from dusty Colombo, having spent three nights at a colonial hotel. I have wonderful memories of the journey! I was eleven years old and my sister eight years old! The staff were fantastic and my sister won the fancy dress costume as a Gypsy! We came through the Suez canal and I heard him shots and even saw the tops of the pyramids! We shopped at port said and Aden and bought a lovely leather bag which still looks good! That's 1949 December 31 st when we arrived in Southampton on s grey dull day!

Added by Delphine Sullivan nee Crocker on 31 December 2017.
I at the age of 8, travelled on the Orontes departing Tilbury on 23 February 1955 (the 49th voyage since being a troop ship) with my parents and my brother aged 6. It was a bitterly cold day and there had been ice on the road when we left Reading where we tearfully said goodbye to my Mum's parents. My dad was from a large family and most of his siblings had gone to Tilbury to wave us goodbye. My brother needed to go to the loo as the ship was sounding its departure siren and my father missed giving his brothers and sisters that last wave. It was stormy through the Bay of Biscay and it was there I discovered sea sickness. From then on every morning I felt queasy so Mum arranged for the cabin steward to provide extra biscuits when he delivered the early morning cup of tea to the cabin so I could have something in my stomach before the second sitting of breakfast at 9am. Mum and Dad were early risers and this was ages to wait for breakfast. Mum and Dad said the ship was loaded in alphabetical order and as our name begins with 'T' we were on H deck. H deck does not feature in the deck plans. It had been part of the hold we were told. Passengers on H deck were issued with either hammocks or camp stretchers so that we could sleep on deck when it got hot. It was always with great excitement each evening that we looked for a place to put our stretchers but we had to get up very early next morning because the decks were hosed down about 5am. We saw many flying fish. The ports were Port Said, Aden and Colombo. Like a previous post Port Said was a mass of traders and many baskets pulled up and down the ship's side to the little boats. Mum bought a big basket which was our laundry basket for years and she still has a smaller basket from that voyage. The gully-gully men came on board to entertain the children magically pulling chickens out of their sleeves etc. We could not go ashore until Colombo which was my brother's 6th birthday. Again, like a previous post I had never seen so many people; some sleeping on the streets or verandahs, beggars and people without limbs. Mum and Dad lashed out and hired a driver to take us to Mt Lavinia and to a temple which had beautiful frescoes. I revisited Colombo three years ago and asked about this temple but could not find anyone who knew it even though I had a photo, but when I arrived home I searched the internet and found it. What a shame I hadn't done that before my trip. We were commonwealth sponsored migrants and were to disembark at Melbourne but four days out of Fremantle Dad was advised there was work in Perth for him if he wanted to disembark there. They decided to take the chance, landing on 21 March 1955 and we have lived in Perth ever since. Dad had a job two days after landing; my brother and I had German measles and we lived in a Nissen hut at Graylands hostel until Mum and Dad found a house to rent nearby. My dad passed away in 2011 and my mum still lives in the family home in the vicinity of the hostel. When we first came here we often used to go to Fremantle to see the ships and Dad would always tell us when the Orontes was in port. The list of ships arrivals and departures was always in the daily newspaper. I went to Fremantle when the Orontes paid her last visit and remember the long paying-off pennant fluttering in the wind of Fremantle harbour and all the ships in port giving her a noisy sent off. The voyage out was one of excitement, mystery and bewilderment as my brother and I had never experienced anything like it before. There was a fancy dress party for the children and Mum busily made my brother an elf costume and me a piece of baggage out of crepe paper. Always felt his costume was a better choice than mine but she had done a good job. We still have menus and other memorabilia from the voyage and souvenirs from Colombo. We had to climb down a ladder and board a tender to go ashore there which was full of wonderment.

Added by Joy McGilvray nee Tocock on 27 January 2018 on 27 January 2018.
Appreciating the commitment you put into your website and in depth information you offer.
It's nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated
rehashed material. Excellent read! I've saved your site and I'm
including your RSS feeds to my Google account.146832

Added by Verona on 19 May 2018.
Message fro Ian Boyd:
Ian, if you see this, please could you get in touch. Ive posted several items about my new book in which RMS Orontes features, it is set in 1937-46. Could I have your permission to reproduce the painting?

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 08 June 2018.
A great old lady !!

Added by Danny Gallacher on 18 June 2018.
Pamela Collier (née Thorpe)We left Tilbury docks 31st May 1955 five months before my fourth birthday. We landed in Australia 9th July 1955. Spent 9 moths at East Hills camp before settling in the Hawkesbury District in April 1956

Added by Ivan Stevenson on 09 August 2018.
I joined the Orontes in Tilbury 3rd February 1958 as Deck Boy at the start of life at sea , done three trips leaving her on 8th November 1958 . Great memories

Added by Eric Want on 21 August 2018.
My Mother, Grandmother, Sister and Brother sailed from Tilbury on 17th July 1953 and arrived in Sydney on 22nd August 1953. My Father had flown to Australia earlier on business and bought a house in Clifton Gardens, near Mosman NSW. I was 13 and loved the voyage. We had a lot of fun and met many friends.

Added by Gillian Moran (Mosley) on 23 August 2018.
Good morning everyone.
My book "Baggage Reclaimed" which features the Orontes will be published in the UK by Primavera Books Ltd on November 1st.
The publishers are in discussion with Australian distributors to see if it can be distributed in Austrlia. More new when we have it

Added by Alasdair Scott Sutherland on 29 August 2018.
i was sent by British government in 1954 as a 4year 3 month old as a Child Migrant

Added by Dympna on 30 August 2018.
Came out on the Orontes 1955. Left Tilbury Docks 31st May arrived Sydney 9th July, caught bus to East Hills Camp. Didn't walk into the Aussie heat cause we landed mid-Winter. Been here 63 years and lived in all climates. Got a lot to be thankful for. I often wonder what if? Left as a three and a half year old so no memory, although I visited the 'old dart' in 2002. After the first few days on the ship Dad realised it was the same ship that brought him back from India in 1944 as a troop ship during the end of the war. What a coincidence.

Added by Ivan Stevenson on 05 September 2018.
My parents and maternal grandparents and myself arrived in Sydney 18 June 1958. I was 6 at the time. Our surname was Anthony and my grandparents were Williams.

Added by Ellenor Wadsworth on 05 September 2018.
My family came to Sydney from Scotland on the Orontes in March, 1958. Our name was Prentice, eight children and our parents. I was almost 8 years old and remember it well.

Added by Kathleen Smith on 06 September 2018.
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