& Company Pty Ltd

Robert W Miller traded under the name R W Miller and Company from early 1912. One of Miller's first contracts was to pick up overburden and spoil from the sinking of the Balmain Colliery shaft and dump it at sea. Miller saw the opportunity to sell this material and he ended up getting sixpence a ton from a local council and other contractors for use as road bases and building foundations. This close association with coal led to Robert W. Miller on 15th January 1913 being given the contract for coal distribution from Sydney Harbour Colliery Limited (Balmain mine). So began a long association with coal. Miller built a fleet of lighters that were used to transport blue metal, sand and coal around Sydney Harbour. This introduction into coal transport opened a prospect for him to enter the larger coal shipping transport. During 1917 Miller purchased a vessel, the Audrey D. R.W. Miller and Company was incorporated in July 1923
Taking over 1985 by Howard Smith Industries Pty Ltd, Melbourne


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DOUGLAS MAWSON image courtesy Australian National University E490 barcode 7516365 accession no E490-2
MEEINDERRY image courtesy State Library South Australia
OLGA image courtesy State Library New South Wales
AUDREY D Tonnage unknown. Lbd: 108' x 29' x 6'8". Built by G.T. Niccol of Auckland, New Zealand as the Novelty. 1911 sold to George Wayne of Sydney. 1914 bought by John A Dalton of Newcastle who renamed her the AUDREY D. Purchased 1917 by Ms. Annie M Miller. 1922 transferred to R W Miller. Burnt out Balmain 1952. Accurate records end
DOUGLAS MAWSON 333 gross tons, 167 net. Lbd: 141'6" x 30'7" x 7'8". Wooden twin-screw steamer built at Bawley Point, Sydney by A W Settree. Twin compounded engines producing 40 horsepower. Capable of 9 knots. Owned by A & E Ellis Ltd., Sydney. April 1918 owned by an un-named West Australian Syndicate. Later in 1918 bought by R W Miller, Newcastle, and sold 1919-20 to the Queensland Government. Had minimal passenger accomodation and was utilised for the passenger run from Cairns to the Gulf of Carpentaria by the Queensland Government. Found expensive to run and was laid up 1921 until chartered 1923 by John Burke Ltd., Brisbane. March 1923, on her first chartered run, went missing presumed foundered near Groote Island off the Gulf of Carpentaria during a cyclone
MEEINDERRY 217 gross tons, 111 net. Lbd: 120'2" x 20'1" x 8'7". (36.62 x 6.28m) Steel single screw passenger-cargo vessel rigged initially as a 3 masted schooner and built Rutherglen Glasgow by T B Sheath & Co. Imported by D Berry of the Berry Estate, New South Wales. July 1892 acquired by Anton Schlink and registered at Port Adelaide. July 1895 owned by Huddart Parker Ltd., Melbourne for their Tasmanian and Victorian trade routes. August 1919 sold to R.W. Miller & Co. Lost after collision with the collier 'Wallsend' off Wanderers Reef, Newcastle New South Wales 1922. Wreck was sold to that state government who had her dismantled
OLGA Tonnage unknown. Lbd: 76'4" x 17'8" x 6'4". Wooden steamship built on the Macleay River, northern New South Wales for unknown owners. Purchased late 1919 by R W. Miller & Co., their records reveal ownership up to late 1926. Fate since unknown. Note: Olga image may not be the same vessel

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HERGA image courtesy State Library New South Wales
WILLIAM McARTHUR under the Sydney Harbour Bridge image personal collection
WILLIAM McARTHUR 2nd image courtesy R Priest of the Nautical Association of Australia
HERGA 221 gross tons. Lbd:125'2" x 21' x 10'6". Built by Cunliffe and Dunlop of Port Glasgow for A. Stuart of Sydney. Sold 1886 to H. Robinson of Sydney. Coal-cliff Land and Coal Mining Co took ownership in 1890. Robert W. Miller purchased the "Herga" in early 1921 for the Newcastle to Sydney "60 milers" coal shipping trade. Broken up in Sydney in 1928
WILLIAM McARTHUR 2,393 gross tons. Lbd: 284' x 40'6" x 19'. built by J. Lewis & Sons of Aberdeen, Scotland. Gained nickname 'Millers Weekly; for its regular 5 1/2 day return journey Newcastle - Sydney. Holed 1959 laid up until scrapped Japan 1961
CHRISTINA FRASER 717 gross tons. Lbd: 182'2" x 28' x 11'8". built by J. Duthie Torry Steamship Company of Aberdeen, Scotland specifically for the Newcastle to Sydney "60 miler" coal shipping trade. In early 1933, R.W. Miller & Co switched this ship to the interstate trade. On 24th June 1933 on her maiden interstate voyage, from Bulli to Geelong,she was lost in a gale without a trace, losing all seventeen (17) of her crew
ANNIE M MILLER 707 gross tons. Lb: 48 x 9 metres. Built at Port Glasgow, Scotland. On 8 February 1929 cargo of coal shifted, she listed badly and eventually sank

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BIRCHGROVE PARK, CANOPUS, AYRFIELD & BRANXTON images courtesy R Priest of the Nautical Association of Australia
BIRCHGROVE PARK 640 tons. Lbd: 153'4" x 34'1" x 11'8". Steel screw coastal steamship built at Aberdeen, Scotland in 1930 and registered at Sydney, January 1931. In August 1941 commissioned by the RAN and operated as an auxiliary minesweeper, and then stores and personnel transport. Arrived Port Moresby August 1943, left December 1945. Capsized and sank 7 km south of Broken Bay, off Avalon, 2 August 1956. Ten lives lost. Carrying 500 tons of coal she listed badly to port for several hours before rolling over when struck by a huge wave
CANOPUS (1) 1,337 gross tons. Lbd: 250'4" x 35' x 5'8". Built by C.S. Swan & Hunter Ltd at Newcastle, England, for the Westport Coal Co., Ltd of Dunedin, New Zealand. Purchased by this concern in 1940, towed to Sydney and repaired, re-serviced and re-fitted to carry 1500 tons cargo for the "60 milers"run. Had a crew of 26 seamen including officers. Gave service for over 19 years. Retired 1959, sold to Hornbeam Steamship Company Limited of Hong Kong and scrapped
AYRFIELD 1,140 gross tons. 682 net. Lbd 239'0" x 34'8" x 15'5". General cargo vessel built as the Corrimal by Greenock and Grangemouth Dockyard Grangemouth for G S Yuill & Co Ltd Australia. 1926 sold to White Steamship Co Ltd Australia. July 1927 sold to Hammond & Co Australia. November 1927 sold to James Patrick & Co Ltd., Australia. Nov 1942 Requisitioned by Australian Government and purchased December 1944 with James Patrick as managers ongoing since November 1942. December 1947 transferred to Australian Shipping Board. Laid up during 1949. Sold 1950 to Bitumen & Oil Refineries (Australia) Ltd., remained laid up. 1951 sold to R W Miller and Co., Australia, extensively refitted at Morts Dock, Sydney into a collier for use on the "60 milers" route. Altered, making two holds from the original four holds. Renamed Ayrfield. 1969 sold for demolition and scrapped
BRANXTON 2,675 gross tons. Lbd: 284'6" x 46"4" x 18'4". Built Cammel Laird and Co., Birkenhead as the Kaimiro (1) for the Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. Purchased 1954 by R.W. Miller for use in the "60 milers" coal shipping fleet and renamed Branxton . Altered from a "six hatch" to a "three hatch". Broken up 1968. Hulk sunk outside Sydney Heads

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TERALBA, KINDUR & MILLERS CANOPUS images courtesy R Priest of the Nautical Association of Australia
TERALBA 2677 gross tons. Lbd: 284'6" x 46'3" x 18'4". Built by Cammel Laird and Co., at Birkenhead for the Union Steamship Co., New Zealand as the Karepo, being a sister ship to their "Kamiro". Purchased in 1954 by R.W. Miller and registered under "S.S. William McArthur Pty. Ltd". Renamed Teralba, and remodelled with her six hatches reduced to three hatches. A larger mast was erected, and the deck was modified. 1959-1969 was dependent on shore based cranes for cargo discharge. Laid up June 1970 and sold for scrap. The hulk was sunk outside Sydney Heads
KINDUR 1,288 gross tons. Lbd: 230' x 38' x 151'3". Built Ayrshire Dockyard, Scotland. Owned by the Newcastle & Hunter River S N Co. Purchased by R.W. Miller and Company in July 1956. On further consideration, R.W. Miller and Company decided that this vessel with its engines situated amidships did not suit their management and administrative ideas at that period of time. It was a "cheap buy", and was quickly sold in Sept 1956 to be broken up. R.W. Miller & Co made "good easy money" in this venture
TROUBRIDGE 1,996 gross tons, 582 net. Lbd: 291'6" x 50'1"x 13'1". She was a ferry ship, built by Evans Deakin, of Brisbane, Queensland. Of twin Polar diesels, 4410 bhp making 14.5 knots. Placed in service in June 1961. She came under the Adelaide Steamship (Operations) Ltd., a subsidiary company of Adelaide Steamship Co. Finally sold outright to the South Australian govt 1972 ending 90 plus years of coastal shipping services by the Adelaide Steamship Company. She became a joint venture between R.W. Miller and Co., and the South Australian Government Roads Department on equal shareholdings of 50% each. Worked the Port Adelaide - Kangaroo Island - Port Lincoln service. This was a very profitable ferry service and 'iconic' to many locals. Replaced by the "Island Seaway" 1st June 1987. The partnership between R.W. Miller and Co., and the South Australian Government Roads Department continued on the earlier basis and shareholding. At this date the R.W. Miller and Co., had become a 100% subsidiary of Howard Smith Ltd. Sold and since, she went to Malta, 1990 and renamed City of Famagusta. Later European Seaways as the European Glory. Then Poseidon Lines, as the Sea Wave. 1995 Turkey interests as the Karden. 2003 possibly under charter to Gibraltar Lines renamed Marwa, registered in North Korea
MILLERS CANOPUS 15,300 gross tons. Lbd: 506' x 68' x 29'. Built by Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd of Sunderland, England for the Drake Shipping Co Ltd,as the Merchant Knight. In late 1963 Roderick W. Miller, with Commonwealth Government approval, purchased this tanker in Japan to enter the petroleum transport trade in opposition to overseas interests. Extensive modifications at Singapore ship yards upgraded the ship's facilities to meet Australian Seamen's standards. Renamed Millers Canopus, and had a crew of 42 seamen, including the officers. Sold mid 1966 to the Luzon Stevedoring Co Phillipines. Renamed Lsoo Vung Tau. No further details known

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All four above images courtesy R Priest of the Nautical Association of Australia
MILLERS McARTHUR 11,744 gross tons. Lbd: 559' x 70' x 30'. Oil Tanker built by Erksborg and Vab, at Gottenburg, Sweden for A/s Hakedal of Norway, as the Bjorsholm. Purchased October 1964 renamed Millers McArthur. Crew of 39 seamen including the officers. 1973, sold to Norse Shipping Co Ltd of Singapore. Renamed Cherry Vigra. Scrapped 1979
R W MILLER 11,741 gross tons. 589' x 70' x 30'. Oil tanker built by Eriksberg Motor Vessels at Gottenburg, Sweden, for Hjalmar Bjorge of Norway as the Storheim. Purchased November 1964 renamed R W MILLER, Had a crew of 39 seamen, including the officers. 1973 sold to Independent Shipping Company Pty Ltd of Singapore. Renamed Cherry Victor. Scrapped 1979
LISA MILLER 2,427 gross tons. 293' x 43' x 17'4". Built at the New South Wales Government Dockyard at Newcastle for the Union Steamship Co of New Zealand as the Karoon. Purchased 1968 by R.W. Miller, renamed the "ELIZA MILLER". During late 1968 and early 1969 was shortened to become a bulk carrier on the Millers "60 milers" coal shipping run. Before all its conversion work was completed, it was renamed LISA MILLER in 1969. 1979 sold to Southern Navigation Co of Kuching, Malaysia, renamed the Southern Cross. 1980 sold to Sing Brun Shipping & Trading Co of Singapore. 1988 again sold, this time to Kuala Lumpur Shipping Co of Singapore. Fate since unknown
RICKY MILLER 2,616 gross tons. Lbd: 311'4" x 44'7" x 19'. Built Grangemouth as ordered by H.F. Lenaghan and Sons of Belfast and purchased on the stocks by the Adelaide Steamship Co., Adelaide. Launched as theMINKARA. Propulsion - 5 cylinder diesel engine. In 1964 sold/transferred to Associated Steamships Pty Ltd., Melbourne. Purchased by R.W. Miller in 1969 and renamed RICKY MILLER. Sold 30th May 1976 to the Maldives Shipping Co of Panama renamed Maldive Carrier. Scrapped 1983

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AMANDA MILLER & ROBERT MILLER images courtesy R Priest
HEXHAM BANK 1st image courtesy of State Library Queensland, 2nd image courtesy R Priest
AMANDA MILLER 39,059 gross tons. 66803 dwt. Lbd: 780' x 109' x 43'. (239.3 x 32.3 metres) Oil tanker built at the BHP Whyalla Ship Building and Engineering Works, Whyalla, South Australia specifically for the R.W. Miller and Co., and was the largest ship built in Australia at that time. Single screw, diesel engine service speed of 16 knots. She was fully controlled by a computer on the bridge. In April 1970 whilst under construction a disastrous fire destroyed the partially completed hull. Damage estimated at $3,000,000.00. The rebuilt "Amanda Miller" was finally launched in February 1971. The ship had a crew of 37 seamen including the officers. She lifted her first cargo, Bass Strait crude oil, in early September 1971. Came under management of Howard Smith Industries. Sold 1987 to the Revay shipping group, renamed Amity Star. 1988 Derby. 1991 Seapanther. 1994 ROBERT MILLER 37,675 gross tons, 67059 dwt. Lbd: 785' x 108' x 43'. (239.3 x 32.3 metres) Oil tanker. Constructed similar in specifications to the "Amanda Miller". Built by Evans Deakin in Brisbane for the R.W. Miller and Co., completed 1974. Single screw, diesel engine. 16.5 knots. Completion had been delayed due to a number of floodings in the Brisbane River. She actually broke her moorings and went adrift on the Brisbane River, only to rescued by the local tugboats and secured safely. (Well done "Smurfie" and crew) Her main engines were computer controlled from the bridge. Crew of 37 seamen, including the officers. Both "Robert Miller" and "Amanda Miller" had luxury accommodation for their crews. Each seaman had his own room, which was carpeted and had air conditioning, refrigerator, toilet and shower. 1985 taken over by Howard Smith Industries Pty Ltd, Melbourne with R W Miller Ltd's holdings. Sold 1987 to Amberpoint Shipping Co., Malta, part of the "Revay" shipping group, renamed Regent Star. 1988 renamed Lisa. 1989 owned by SPEI Leasing SpA renamed Onda Azzurra under Italian flag. 1997 owned by Arundel Shipping Ltd, Malta and renamed Edovia. Scrapping began at Chittagong 9 April 2000
HEXHAM BANK 1600 gross tons. Lbd: 263' x 39' x 16'. Built by Evans Deakin in Brisbane for McIlwraith McEacharn Ltd. Chartered 1974 from that company for some four years for the "60 miler" run. Also used to transport blue metal to Blackwattle Bay, Sydney from Bass Point. On Wednesday 21st June 1978, whilst performing such an operation, at a point near Shellharbour New South Wales, caught fire, which completely destroyed the engine room. The crew abandoned ship without loss of life or injury. Declared a "constructive total loss" and towed to the Jubilee Engineering Yard at Balmain. In December 1978, the fire-blackened and damaged "Hexham Bank" was sold to Goldsworth Mort, who broke it up. The hulk was sunk outside Sydney Heads

There were three other vessels, which strictly were not R.W. Miller and Co., owned, despite the fact that they were registered in the R.W. Miller and Company's name, and all wore the "Miller funnel colours". By 1985 R.W. Miller and Company had become wholly owned by Howard Smith Limited.
No longer are any of the Robert William Miller family involved in this very old company.
The vessels purchased by the group under Howard Smith Limited control, were:


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ERA image unknown internet source
CANOPUS (11) 54,880 gross tons, 94347 dwt. Lb: 230 x 46 metres. Single screw, diesel engine making 14.5 knots. Oil tanker, ordered and laid down 1985 by Samsung at Koje Korea for R W Miller, Sydney. Prior to completion Howard Smith Industries had taken over R W Miller's holdings1996 and so acquired this vessel. sold to Golden Fleece Marine Inc., Liberia renamed Elli. Managed by Liquimar Tankers Management Inc. Still in service
ERA 54,880 gross tons. Lbd: 758' x 151' x 46'. Oil tanker by Samsung Ship Building and Heavy Industries Company in South Korea. Completed January 1987. 1985 officially under ownership of Howard Smith Industries Pty Ltd, Melbourne with takepover of R W Miller. 1996 transferred to Intercontinental Ship Management Ltd. Scrapping began at Alang 25 January 2002
ISLAND SEAWAY 3,536 gross tons, 1,680 net. Built by the "Igloo Engineering Company" at Osborne Port Adelaide. In early 1987, the ferry "Troubridge" required a replacement. This vessel had been operating in a joint partnership between the R.W. Miller and Company and the South Australian Government Roads Department to run from Adelaide and kangaroo Island. A new ferry vessel named the "Island Seaway", on Monday 1st June 1987 replaced the "Troubridge". The service was jointly owned and operated by the R.W. Miller and Co., with the South Australian Government Roads Department up to 1985 when Howard Smith Ltd purchased R W Miller & Co's holdings. 1995 sold to Malta. No further details known


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