AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING LINES
IMAGES POSTCARDS PHOTOGRAPHS EPHEMERA
actually traded as
The Adelaide, Melbourne and Otago Steamship Company
Due to the length of name, thos Company were more familiarly referred to as MecMeckan, Blackwood & Co
The house flag bore the image of a blue emu on a white background and so, were also referred to as
BLUE EMU Line
During the 1860's-70's this shipping Company was the leading concern during that Colonial era.
Traded Adelaide, Melbourne & New Zealand, at times as far as the Roper River and Darwin, Northern Territory
John Hutchison Blackwood arrived Melbourne 1852
1853 in partnership with Captain McMeckan
McMeckan, Blackwood & Co
Shipping Agents, Ship-Builders and Traders
Beginning with Sail only vessels, the company helped to establish a regular steamship service between Melbourne and Adelaide in 1854 when they obtained the agency for the new 301-ton steamer Havilah, which was commanded and part-owned by McMeckan's younger brother Hugh. The success of the weekly service brought a mail contract from the two colonial governments and further tonnage was added to the agency. The partners bought the Queen, the first steamer on their own account, in 1856
More ships were bought and the firm began a regular Melbourne-Wellington run in 1858. With the New Zealand gold rushes a branch was established in Dunedin and eventually the company had to employ another twelve ships
Meanwhile business from the Melbourne-Adelaide trade was increasing with extensive cargoes of wheat and flour. After 1870 a general cargo and passenger traffic developed between Melbourne and Port Darwin, where the steamship - Omeo had carried men and equipment for laying the submarine cable to Java. A trade was also built up between Melbourne, Adelaide and the south-eastern ports of South Australia.
Joint ownership of various vessels with S White of Aldinga, Adelaide and J Darwent of Adelaide were in place until 1871 when they effectively combined under the trading name of McMeckan, Blackwood & Co as registered in Melbourne.
1878 they sold out their tasman fleet to Union Steamship Co of New Zealand while their two ships on the south-east Australian run went to Adelaide Steamship Company and the Mount Gambier Steamship Co., respectively
Having relinquished all shipowning, the Company operated solely as shipping agents