Steam Navigation Company

1896 renamed
under the joint control of James Huddart and the New Zealand Shipping Company

In 1892, quite separately from Huddart Parker & Co., James Huddart owned two vessels outright as registered under his name only. The steamships Warrimoo & Miowera were purpose built passenger/cargo vessels and, in appointing Huddart Parker & Co as managers, took on the Union Steamship Co of New Zealand on their own 'turf' by trading the trans-tasman route. This was a reprisal to Union Steamship Co having earlier stepped into their 'Tasmanian services', battling the Tasmanian S N Co to death and all the while, causing financial grief to Huddart Parker & Co's local services in direct competition
Traded under the name
NEW ZEALAND & AUSTRALIAN Steam Navigation Company
Withdrew from the New Zealand trade the following year, as focus was set upon a trans-pacific service taking in Vancouver, Canada as an indirect service to England.
Upon the timing of essential 'connections' coming to the fore, the Company name changed to be
and a new direction had evolved for Australasian shipping. Where the trans-global mail route as an alternative from the slow English owned mail steamers could and was circumvented, the New Zealand Government failed to recognise and subsidise the service. Instead and wisely, the Canadian Government along with the Australian eastern seaboard states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria all supported the cause. It should be noted that the South Australian and West Australian Governments dissapproved but they were also the first states to receive the 'late' mails from the established 'English owned' steamers and at that time, held dissent to modern innovations.
With the chartering of the steamship 'Aorangi' from the Union Steamship Co., New Zealand, and consequent purchase of the Aorangi, in a business merger with the New Zealand Shipping Co., concerning as known, the steamship Aorangi, 1897 saw her after a refit work the San Francisco - Sydney route until 1901
1898 the New Zealand Shipping Company who took complete control of the line.
In 1900 the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand acquired a controlling interest in the company and assumed responsibility for outstanding contracts and agreements. In 1910 the purchase was completed and the Canadian-Australian Royal Mail Steam Ship Company became an integral part of the fleet of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand. (Sources: Many thanks to Ted Finch and the Shipslist)
In the summer of 1911, Auckland, New Zealand was added as a permanent port of call. Six Ports served - Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Suva, Fiji; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. The route established then remained the same until service ceased in 1953.
(C-A Line)

was formed jointly by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand and Canadian Pacific in 1931. The Union Steam Ship Co. remained as managers. continued to operate between Sydney, Australia and the two British Columbia ports as it formerly did from 1893. Services ceased in 1941 and recommenced from 1948 until May 1953 when the company was wound up.
NOTE: Included here are the New Zealand owned - Union Steamship Line's ships that ventured as far as Canada and San Francisco from 1910 onwards

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MIOWERA image courtesy State Library New South Wales
2nd image as the Maitai upom South Reef Avarua

MIOWERA 3,393 gross tons. Lb: 105.2 x 12.9 metres. on: 101935 Steel hulled passenger - cargo vessel built by C S Swan & Hunter at Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne for James Huddart, Melbourne. Single screw, triple expansion engine. 15 knots. Three masted schooner rigged steamer with accommodation for 284. Put under management of Huddart Parker & Co, she traded the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, under the Company name 'New Zealand & Australian S N Co. Thinking big, James Huddart soon after decided upon a service from Australia to Canada and, changed Company name to Canadian - Australian Steamship Co. The Miowera crossed the Pacific during her initial sailing from Sydney to San Francisco on May 23 1893. Taking in Vancouver as part of it's trans-pacific run. 1893 saw Fiji included in the service, taking passengers and cargo and generally annoying the 'established' shipping concerns who held Fiji as their domain. Desisted the Fiji stopover from 1898. 1901 saw the Company sold to Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. 1908 renamed Maitai. Wrecked South Reef, Avarua, Rarotonga 25th December 1916

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above images postcards of the era
WARRIMOO 3,628 gross tons. Lb: 105.2 x 12.9 metres. on: 101901 Steel hulled, single screw, triple expansion engine. Passenger - cargo vessel built by C S Swan & Hunter at Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne for James Huddart, Melbourne. Service speed = 14.5 knots. Passenger accommodation for 367. Put under management of Huddart Parker & Co, she traded the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, under the Company name 'New Zealand & Australian S N Co'. Thinking big, James Huddart soon after decided upon a service from Australia to Canada and, changed Company name to Canadian - Australian Steamship Co. Taking in Vancouver as part of it's trans-pacific run. 1893 saw Fiji included in the service, taking passengers and cargo and generally annoying the 'established' shipping concerns who held Fiji as their domain. 1901 saw the Company sold to Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. August 1909 saw the last departure of the Warrimoo from Fiji and the Company was encountering serious financial troubles. From then she was employed on the Tasman route. Sold October 1916 and registered in Singapore to unknown owners. 18th May 1918 sunk after a collision off the coast of Tunis North Africa



5026 gross tons, net, dwt. Lbd: 439' x 46' 3" x 28' 9". on: 89953. Passenger Cargo (refrigerated) steamship built by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton (Yard No 282), for Shaw Savill & Albion as the . Launched: Wednesday, 25 June 1884, completed November 1884. Propulsion: first two crank triple expansion engine by Denny 800hp 14 knots LP cylinders 71 in diam MP cylinders 61 in diam HP cylinders 37 in diam 160psi working pressure. Single screw. Engines by shipbuilders. Was this Yard's first ship over 5000 tons gross. Serviced Shaw Savill's mail run to New Zealand from England, along with her sistership Tainui. 1893 chartered by Canadian - Australia Line for six months. Sold 1895 to Trasatlantica Co renamed Colon. Sold 1900 to Elder Dempster renamed Lake Megantic. Renamed by same owners 1905 Port Henderson. Sold 1912 to Wild & Lanz renamed Anapo. Sold 1913 to SM Italiana renamed Porto Said. Torpedoed 33.26N/22.50E 10 December 1915.

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images courtesy online sources
AORANGI 4,196 gross tons. Lb" 389' x 46' (118.6 x 14 metres) on: 76068 Steel steamship built by John Elder & Co, Elder Glasgow for the New Zealand Shipping Company. As a refrigerated passenger vessel carrying 80 first, 80 second and 250 third class persons, she serviced the English - New Zealand route. Service speed 13 knots. 1894 saw her chartered to the Canadian - Australian Line of James Huddart. 1896 - In the midst of a refit in England, the Company of James Huddart renamed to Canadian-Australian Royal Mail S S Co., as a joint ownership of James Huddart and the New Zealand Shipping Company. With a new appearance after the refit, she emerged in 1897 with a funnel 10 feet taller and accomodation for 100 first class and 50 second class berths. Resumed the San francisco run until 1914 when laid up at Sydney. Chartered by the RAN in August 1914 to act as a supply ship for the fleet. She was not commissioned into the Navy but continued to be manned by her civilian crew. Armed with 1 x 12 pounder gun. Aorangi took part in operations against the German colonies in the Pacific. Sold 1915 to the Admiralty. She was scuttled in Holm Sound, Scapa Flow Orkneys as a block ship. 1920 saw her salvaged/refloated and utilised as a store ship at Malta. Demolished 1925

Flag as at 1931


5282 gross tons, 3318 net. Lbd: 400 x 50 x 31 feet. (122 x 15.3 metres) on: 117588 Passenger steamship built by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, Wellington. Launched: Monday, 19 June 1905, completed same year. Triple screw, steam turbine engine making 16 knots. Passenger accommodation for 479. At later unknown date converted to twin screw. Employed upon the trans-tasman Australia - New Zealand route. Took in ports of Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart on passenger service. Recorded as serviced between New Zealand and Canada. 1910 became Union SS Co of NZ. 1914-1918 served as a hospital ship - 6 charters. 1934 visited Port Chalmers. Career - Visited Auckland 34 times between 1 Jul 1924 and 5 Nov 1929. 9th July 1935 sank off Frazer Island South Queensland when under tow to Japan for scrap. Remaining hulk washed ashore, clearly seen in the modern day (2009) and still a tourist attraction


8,075 gross tons. Lb: 450 x 57 feet. (137.2 x 13.6 metres) on: 127802 Passenger Cargo steamship built by Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow, (Yard No 426) for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.

Launched: Tuesday, 14 July 1908, completed that year. Twin screw, triple expansion engine making 16.5 knots. Accommodation for 402. Entered service November 23, 1908. Serviced the Sydney to Vancouver service via Brisbane, Honolulu and Victoria and later Suva and Auckland. 1910 became Union SS Co of NZ. Sold to China Shipbreakers Limited, Shanghai, November 1936 and left Wellington for Shanghai via Australian ports 30 January 1937. Arrived for Scrapping - 8th April 1937


4505 gross tons. Lb: 368'7" x 47'2". on: 117582 Passenger Cargo steamship built by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton, Yard No 689 for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Launched: Tuesday, 8th September 1903, completed 1903. 16 Schooner rigged twin screw steamer with passenger accommodation for 326. Visited Auckland 6 times between 22 Jul 1924 and 15 Feb 1927. December 1928 wrecked on Long Point south of The Nuggets, Otago New Zealand on passage Melbourne for Wellington


6,437 gross tons. Lb: 420' x 53'2". (128 x 16.2 metres) on: 117597 Passenger-cargo steamship built by Caird & Company Greenock, Yard No 313 for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, Dunedin. Launched: Saturday, 22 June 1907, completed same year. twin screw, triple expansion engine making 15 knots. Traversed the Canada - Australia route. 1910 under ownership of Union SS Co of NZ. 1914-1918 served as a Hospital Ship - four charters. 1915 visited Lyttelton as Hospital Ship. 1923 was working the Sydney - Wellington route. 1936 laid up at Evans Bay, when suddenly needed to run the overnight service to Lyttelton. The Marama was made ready, and sailed that night. Visited Auckland 100 times between 9 Dec 1924 and 8 Nov 1937. Other career ports of call - Napier & Dunedin. 1937 purchased by Lunghua Dock & Engineering Works, Shanghai. Scrapped at Osaka 3Q 1938


3915 gross tons, 2414 net, dwt. Lb: 350.4 x 44.1 feet. (106.8 x 13.4 metres) on: 101479 Passenger Cargo steamship built by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand Ltd, Dunedin. Passenger accommodation for 296. After 1903 'may' have been either chartered or despatched directly onto Canadian run. 1910 became Union SS Co of NZ. Propulsion: Steam triple expansion T3cy 531nhp 16-17 knots. Engines by shipbulder. Laid up Port Chalmers from 13 March 1921. Dismantled at Port Chalmers, 1927. Hull sold to Otago Harbour Board and sunk alongside outer mole at otago Heads 30 November 1927


7527 gross tons, 4542 net. Lbd: 447 x 56 x 25 feet. 136.2 x 17 x 7.6 metres) on: 127810 Steel twin screw passenger steamship built by Fairfiels Shipbuilding & Engineering Co, Govan Glasgow for Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. Propulsion: Two sets of Quadruple expansion steam engines developing 650 nautical horsepower (8,500 Indicated Horsepower). Cylinder bores; 24.5, 35.5 50.5 and 73 inches, with a 45 inch stroke and driving twin screws at about 80 r.p.m. Steam at a pressure of 220 lbs p.s.i. was supplied by two double-ended and two single-ended boilers adapted for Howden's system of forced draught. Maximum speed attained 18 nots, service speed 16-17 knots. She was converted from coal to oil burning in 1922 and required 258 tons of fuel per day to maintain a speed of 15.4 knots Intended for the Trans-Tasman route, she could accomodate 501 passengers, and refrigerated cargo space of 14,540 cubic feet in her four holds. 499 passenger; 244 saloon (first class), 175 second class and 80 third class, with up to ten berth cabins in third class. There was seating for 144 in the first class dining saloon, 110 in second class and 58 in third. Crew - 136. Maiden voyage 15 February 1912 from Wellington via NZ southern coastal ports to Melbourne, Australia. 1915 converted into a Troop Transport. Post hostilities saw conversion to oil fired propulsion and back in service 1919. She took over the slower 'Marama's Pacific route of Auckland - Sydney - Vancouver. Later serviced San Francisco in an on - off role until 1936 when that service was discontinued. 1937 ran the trans-tasman route between New Zealand and Sydney until June 1940 when requisitioned as a Hospital Ship by the New Zealand Government. Served admirably anf at end of 1945, laid up at Wellington pending any decision on her fate. 1947 sold to Hellenic - Mediterranean Line, Greece who refitted her at Piraeus as a migrant vessel. She then saw Australian shores again in new livery as the Cyrenia with emigrants specifically from Genoa - Italy, Valetta - Malta and Piraeus - Greece. This continued until 1956 when she was sold to Italian shipbreakers


6,660 gross tons, 3,482 net. Lbd: 410'3" x 54'7" x 23'4". (125.1 x 16.7 metres) Steel twin screw passenger steamship built by J Brown & Co., Clydebank for Huddart Parker & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne. Twin quadruple expansion engines producing 1157 nhp.Service speed 15 knots. Intended for their trans-tasman trade, after delivery she was chartered to the Union Line for their Vancouver service. Upon return resumed with Huddart Parker Line and operated out of Fremantle. Requisitioned by the Admiralty in May 1918 and carried American troops from New York to Liverpool and British troops from India to London. She also carried Australian troops back to the Commonwealth. Resumed services Sydney - Western Australia in December 1919. Replaced by the Westralia in 1929 and serviced the trans-tasman trade up until the Wanganella arrived taking over that trade. Switched to the Sydney - Hobart trade where she gained popular notoriety until the outbreak of World War 11. 1940 engaged in trooping and re-supply, in the Darwin area in December that year transporting troops Brisbane-Port Moresby March 1941, Darwin-Koepang in December. The first Japanese air-raids on Darwin 19 February 1942 made her a target and she was lost, having being bombed and strafed with incendiary bullets. The huge amount of spot fires within left no option but to abandon ship, all saved however two later died from resultant wounds


7,585 gross tons. Lbd: 480 x 55 x 27 feet. (146.3 x 16.7 x 8.2 metres) Steel twin screw passenger steamship built by A Stephens & Son, Glasgow as the Port Kingston for Imperial Direct West Mail Company, a subsidiary of Elder Dempster. Triple expansion engines making 17 knots. Accomodation for 277 first class, 97 in second and 141 in third. Four decks. Crew - 135. Intended for, and placed upon the London - Jamaica West Indies fruit trade. Survived Earthquake at Jamaica 1907 where she was beached, refloated successfully. Laid up 1910 she caught the attention of Union SS Co of New Zealand who acquired her for a new service from Australia - New Zealand to San Francisco via Tahiti. Prior to delivery at Sydney, she was refitted at Bristol England from (unknown) passenger accomodation status to the levels abovementioned and, given the Company's livery and renamed 'Tahiti'. Her inaugural voyage commenced Sydney 11 December 1911 to San Francisco via Wellington on a route nicknamed by the owners 'The Union Line'. World War 1 saw her converted into a Troop Transport taking New Zealand Militiary personnel to France and Gallipoli. She survived two separate U-boat attacks. 1919 saw her converted to 'oil firing'. 1920 saw her voyage to Vancouver. 1921 San Francisco became her furtherest terminus from Sydney, her usual route for the rest of her career. Sad incident occurred in Sydney Harbour November 1927 when she collided with and sank the Ferry 'Greycliffe' a resultant loss of 39 souls. 15 August 1930 when outbound from Wellington to Rarotonga her propellor shaft fractured, flailed and tore a gash in the ships hull. Incoming water saw a gradual and unstoppable flooding of the engineroom initially, with further flooding of compartments at the ship's stern. 'Unstoppable' despite the watertight compartmental design, she sank on the 17 August 1930 in 18,000 feet of ocean depth, after all aboard including cargo had been rescued by the Matson liner 'Ventura' and an un-named Norwegian Tramp steamer. Legend has it that she sank herself out of shame for the 'Greycliffe' tragedy of three years earlier.


11,037 gross tons. Lbd: 519 x 63 x 26. (158.2 x 19.2 x 7.9 metres) Steel twin screw passenger steamship built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for P & O as the Razmak. Combination quadruple expansion and turbines producing 2300 nhp. Service speed 19 knots. Intended as a 'fast feeder' liner taking passengers from the fleets' larger Australia bound liners at Aden, onward to India. Soon redundant with a specialised vessels of P & O taking over that role from London to India direct, and she was swung to the Marseilles - India run. Non too successful., by 1930 she was excess, unprofitable and given new lease on life when Union SS Co purchased her in replacing their lost liner 'Tahiti". Given the name 'Monowai' in October 1930, slightly modified and given the Company livery she commenced inaugural voyage 27 November 1930 from Wellington to San Francisco via Raroronga and Papeete. Ensuing year saw her maintain this schedule under management of Canadian-Australasian Line. This continued until 1932 when effects of World depression caused her to be placed upon the trans-tasman run, operating between Wellington and Sydney from 1932 - 1936. Replaced by the newly acquired 'Awatea' she was laid up at Auckland for three years until 1939 outbreak of hostilities. Requisitioned by Royal New Zealand Navy, refitted as an Armed Merchant Cruiser and werved in the Pacific Basin. Again refitted as an Infantry Landing vessel, later further conversion as a Troop Transport. End of hostilities saw her transport thousands of displaced Europeans to new homelands after being refitted at Sydney for civilian voyages. She serviced the Pacific route to Vancouver up until 1949 when for the next 11 years the trans-tasman route of Wellington - Sydney became her constant routine. Only profitable with Union SS Co, by 1960 her competition came from newer faster ships that spelt the end of her career. Under her own power she departed Auckland for the shipbreakers at Hong Kong June 1960


13,482 gross tons. Lb: 527 x 74 x 25.5 feet. (166.1 x 22.5 x 7.9 metres) Passenger Cargo steamship built by Vickers Armstrong Ltd, Barrow in Furness, England for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Twin screw, steam turbines. Max speed 23 knots, service speed 20 knots. 15 September 1936 inugural voyage Wellington - Sydney. Powerful and luxurious, she commenced the trans tasman trade in competition with the Matson liners, achieving the task of beating the 'Mariposa' from Auckland to Sydney where the Mariposa departed some three hours earlier.

Awatea passed her mid Tasman Sea, after drawing alonside her, sounding the horn in salute and then racing ahead, all on three boilers only, basically not travelling at full propulsion. 1940 took over the 'Niagara' schedule of trans Pacific route to Vancouver when that vessel was lost during hostilities. Later that year requistitioned by the British Ministry of War as a Troop Transport. Served in European and and North African operations. 8th November 1942 attacked and sank by German bombers when leaving the Port of Djidjelli at Bougie, Algeria North Africa during the Second World War.

1931 saw the entity
Created in an agreement between Union SS Co and Canadian-Pacific Railways (CPR) whereupon Passengers bound for England from Australia would embark at SYdney, travel to Vancouver, take a CPR train across to ....... with choice of overnight stays at Banff or ........ in CPR owned hotels and board a connecting ship to the UK. CPR held a half share ownership in both Aorangi (11) and Niagara
This route being British Commonwealth territory became known as the 'All Red Route"


13,415 gross tons, net, dwt. Lbd: 524'7" x 66'3" x 28'1". (159.9 x 20.2 metres) on: 135193 Passenger-cargo steamship built by John Brown Clydebank for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Port of Registry: Wellington. Propulsion: triple screw 2x4 cylinder triple expansion plus LP turbine. Service speed 17 knots. Accommodation for 667 passengers. 1931 Canadian Australasian Line Ltd., London.

Sailed regularly to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Australia and New Zealand. Mined & sunk 35.53S 174.54E off Bream Head Whangareion passage Hauraki Gulf Auckland (Mine laid by the German auiliary cruiser Orion) when bound for Vancouver 18 June 1940. No loss of life. Note: - Niagara sank in deep water at a depth of 438 feet, in the ships strongroom was stowed nearly eight tons of gold ingots packed in 295 boxes and valued at 2,500,000 pounds being shipped to the United States. The ultimate recovery of the greater part of the gold was one of the most remarkable operations of its kind ever carried out


17,491 gross tons. Lbd: 600' x 72'2" x 29'9". (176.8 x 22 metres) on: 148515 Passenger Vessel built by Fairfield, Govan (Yard No 603) for Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Launched: Tuesday, 17 June 1924 completed December that year. Propulsion: Sulzer 4x6cyldr 2SA Engines by shipbuilder. 3177nhp Quadruple screws 17 knots - 18.24 trials. Designed specificially for the Pacific Service Australia - Canada. 440 first class, 300 second class and 230 third class passengers. 1931 under ownership of Canadian Australasian Line, London. Inaugural voyage 6th February 1925 Vancouver/Sydney.

Continued a regular service of Sydney - Vancouver - Victoria BC - Honolulu - Suva - Auckland - Sydney. October, 1940 utilized to carry troops from New Zealand to Fiji.
Summer of 1941, requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport and steamed from Sydney to the United Kingdom for war duty. Distinguished herself honourably in surviving the second world conflict, having served as a troop ship, supply ship, hospital ship and even an escape vehicle for hundreds of civilians fleeing the war from Singapore, a Commodore ship and ultimately a relief/rescue ship at cessation of hostilities. It was estimated that during the war years, this ship transported 36,000 troops and evacuated 5,500 refugees from war zones.
After the war, the Aorangi was returned to her owners and restored as a liner. Returned to service in 1948, but was then plagued by union problems among the stewards and seamen. Competition from Air travel also had impact. Because of demands for higher wages, the liner operated at a loss.
She continued to operate with the help of subsidies by the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian governments until June, 1953. The liner was retired that summer, taken to Dalmuir Scotland, arrived for scrapping - 25 July 1953. This ended the Canadian-Australasian Line as an entity with the Pacific route being serviced by Orient Line and P&O

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