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The Fleets

Australian Oriental Line Ltd. 1912-1961, Sydney and Hong Kong

The Australian Oriental Line was formed in 1912 by G.S. Yuill & Co. to take over the services of China Navigation Company in Australia.
The first ship the GUTHRIE was purchased from Burns Philp & Co., but in all three ships proved too much for the newly founded company and she was chartered back to Burns Philp & Co. and sold already in 1913.
The CHANGSHA and TAIYUAN were purchased from the China Navigation Company (John Swire).

The CHANGSHA and TAIYUAN were transferred to Hong Kong Registry in 1920. In 1921 the CHANGSHA and TAIYUAN were by now rather outclassed and the company bought the Russian flag sisters EMPEROR ALEKANDER III (1914) and EMPEROR NICHOLAS I (1915), however the deal fell through because of a mortgage on the ships held by the builders and a lien by French interests.

In May 1924 two new ships were ordered from the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd., Hong Kong and entered service as CHANGTE and TAIPING in 1925 and 1926 respectively. During World War II both ships were requisitioned by the British Government and put in service for the Royal Navy.

In 1961 Australian-Oriental Line ceased to exist due to high costs of new tonnage or refitting the two existing ships, their service being taken again over by ships of the China Navigation Company. Yuill & Co. continued to hold diversified interests outside shipping, especially in the meat and livestock trade.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

  • Routes:
    • Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Thursday Island, Manila, Hong Kong

Funnel & Flag:

Fleet:

Funnel Flag
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Changsha 1886 built by Scott & Co., Greenock | ex- Changsha, 1912 purchased from China Navigation Company, not renamed, 1926 scrapped. 2,269
Changte 1925 built by Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd., Hong Kong | 1939 requisitioned at Sydney by Royal Navy and converted to Naval Stores Issuing Ship. Y1-9, 1946 returned to owner and refurbished, 1961 scrapped at Hong Kong. 4,324
Guthrie 1884 built by Wm. Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | ex- Guthrie built for Eastern & Australasian SS Co., London, 1912 purchased from Burns Philp & Co. not renamed, 1912 chartered back to Burns Philp & Co., 1913 laid up, 1913 sold to White Cross S.S. Co. Ltd. (A. Gallussen) not renamed 1st November 1914 wrecked off Taku Light Vessel. 2,338
Taiping 1926 built by Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd., Hong Kong | 1941 taken over by the Royal Navy, being converted into a victualling stores issue ship, 1947 returned to owner and refurbished, 1961 scrapped at Hong Kong. 4,324
Taiyuan 1886 built by Scott & Co., Greenock | ex- Taiyuan, 1912 purchased from China Navigation Company, not renamed, 1925 scrapped. 2,269

main source: Beancaker to Boxboat, H. W. Dick & S. A. Kentwell, Nautical Assoc. of Australia, 1989.

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Last updated: March 15, 2009 and maintained by and M. Kohli