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The Fleets

Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers / Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers

Officially named the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers, the company was formed in 1916 with fifteen second hand British tramp steamers, all named AUSTRAL_____. which were used mainly to export Australian wheat and wool from Australia to Europe and the U.S.A. The company also operated 23 ex-German and Austrian ships which had been seized at the outbreak of war in 1914 including five sailing vessels. A quantity of wooden hulled cargo steamers were also purchased from the U.S.A. The majority of these ships were sold when they became uneconomical to run. Five passenger ships named ____BAY were built in 1921-1922 to run between Australia and London and two large cargo vessels FORDSDALE and FERNDALE. In 1923 the line was restructured as the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers but by late 1926, due to the slump in the shipping trade, the company was left with only the seven BAY and DALE ships. However, by 1928 these also had been sold and the company was wound up.

  • Abbreviations:
    • MOWT Ministry of War Transport
    • AUSN Co. Australasian United Steam Navigation Co.

Many thanks to 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.

Funnel:
xxxx.

Fleet:

 
    Sailing Ships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Burrowa 1890 barque, built as Dunfermline for Palace Line, Liverpool, 1911 sold to E. C. Schramm & Co, Bremen renamed Karl Rudgers Vinnen, 1913 sold to F. A. Vine & Co., Bremen, 1914 seized by authorities at Newcastle, NSW, 1915 chartered to Scott Fell & Co. renamed Burrowa, 1917 captured by U.Boat and sunk by explosives off Scilly Isles. 2,902
Canowie 1892 barque, built 1892 as Glenogil for J. Edgar & Co., Liverpool, 1914 sold to Krabbenhoft & Bock, Hamburg renamed Ernst, 1914 seized by authorities at Sydney, 1915 chartered to Scott Fell & Co. renamed Canowie, 1916 wrecked Chile. 2,285
Cardinia n/a barque, ex-German OLINDA, 1914 seized by Australian authorities, 1915 renamed Cardinia chartered to Scott Fell & Co., 1921 wrecked Fiji. 1,915
Carrabin 1892 barque, built 1892 as North Star for A. Boxborough & Co., London, 1898 sold to A. G. Ulster, Hamburg renamed Alsterufer, 1912 sold to F. A. Vine, Bremen renamed Susanne Vinnen, 1914 seized by Australian authorities, 1915 chartered to Western Australian State Sawmills renamed Carrabin, 1917 torpedoed and sunk by U-96 off Ireland. 2,739
Cooroy 1892 barque, built 1892 as Conishead for Bourke & Hunt, Workington, 1898 sold to B. Wince Shone, Hamburg renamed Athene, 1906 sold to Reverie Act. Gesellschaft, Hamburg, 1914 seized by Australian authorities, 1915 chartered to Scott Fell & Co. renamed Cooroy, 1917 torpedoed and sunk by UC-75 off Ireland. 2,417
    Steam and Motor Ships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Araluen 1901 ex- Scharzfels, 1914 seized from Hansa Line, Bremen, 1915 renamed Araluen, 1924 sold to Japan renamed Daikoku Maru, 1925 Ohkuni Maru, 1944 torpedoed and sunk by USS BARB south of Taiwan. 5,513
Australbrook 1909 ex- Strathesk, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australbrook, 1924 sold to Japan renamed Uga Maru, 1944 torpedoed and sunk by USS GUITARRO off Indoor Island. 4,336
Australbush 1907 ex- Strathgarry, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australbush, 13th Nov.1917 torpedoed and sunk by UC.31 near Eddy. 4,398
Australcrag 1907 ex- Strathleven, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australcrag, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Misaki Maru, 1944 torpedoed and sunk by USS BARBEL in South China Sea. 4,396
Australdale 1907 ex- Strathendrick, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australdale, 19th Oct.1917 torpedoed and sunk by U.22, 165 miles from Cape Villa. 4,379
Australfield 1900 ex- Vermont, 1916 purchased from Gown, Harrison & Co, Glasgow renamed Australfield, 1919 sold to Norway renamed Tonstad, 1922 sold to Italy renamed Liberta, 14th Feb.1926 wrecked at Bolt Head, Devon. 4,271
Australford 1907 ex- Strathavon, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australford, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Unyo Maru, 1941 renamed Kenun Maru, 1942 torpedoed and sunk by USS NAUTILUS off Honshu. 4,403
Australglen 1906 ex- Strathord, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australglen, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Ginryo Maru, 1927 renamed Atsuta Maru No.5, 1931 renamed Kohwa Maru, 22nd Sep.1943 torpedoed and sunk by USS HARDER off Honshu. 4,417
Australmead 1912 ex- Kirkoswald, 1916 purchased from Kyle Transport Co., Liverpool renamed Australmead, 1925 sold to Greece renamed Agia Marina, 1947 sold to Finland renamed Aina Maria Nurminen, 1953 scrapped after damage by mine near Kiel. 4,021
Australmount 1909 ex- Strathbeg, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australmount, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Asaka Maru, 1944 bombed and sunk by US aircraft off Takao. 4,338
Australpeak 1906 ex- Strathspey, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australpeak, 1924 sold to W. Stewart & Co., London renamed Carspey, 1929 sold to Greece renamed Evanghelos Neophytos, 1933 scrapped Savona. 4,432
Australplain 1907 ex- Ardanmhor, 1916 purchased from Clark & Service Ltd, Glasgow renamed Australplain, 1925 sold to Italy renamed Andalusia, 1944 in Allied service, 1951 scrapped Trieste. 4,454
Australpool 1906 ex- Strathairly, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australpool, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Miho Maru, 1933 scrapped after grounding damage. 4,326
Australport 1915 ex- Ardangorm, 1916 purchased from Clark & Service Ltd, Glasgow renamed Australport, 1923 to Interstates Steamships, Sydney renamed Iron Age, 1925 sold to Greece renamed Eugenia, 1933 renamed Aghios Nicolaos, Ist Oct.1940 shelled and sunk by Italian submarine MAGGIONE FRANCESCO BARACCA in Atlantic. 3,370
Australrange 1906 ex- Strathdee, 1916 purchased from Burrell & Son, Glasgow renamed Australrange, 1923 sold to Japan renamed Ishikari Maru, 1931 renamed Shokyu Maru, 1942 torpedoed and sunk by USS TRITON in East China Sea. 4,409
Australstream 1899 ex- Daltonhall, 1916 purchased from Oxton SS Co., Liverpool renamed Australstream, 1918 sold to Soc. Maritime Belge renamed General Degoute, 1921 sold to Greece renamed Dimitrios N. Rallios, 1936 scrapped. 3,534
Babinda 1919 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co., San Francisco, 1923 abandoned on fire and sank off Santa Cruz, Calif. 3,000
Bakara 1913 ex- Cannstatt, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Bakara, 1925 sold to Roland Line, Bremen renamed Witell, 1926 to North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1937 sold to Hamburg South America Line renamed Rosario, sunk during German invasion of Norway, raised and repaired, 1945 badly damaged by Allied air raid on Hamburg, allocated to Denmark and repaired, 1948 sold to Finland renamed Albertina, 1950 renamed Kotka, 1956 sold to British MOWT and scuttled with cargo of surplus ammunition. 5,930
Balcatta 1919 wooden hull, 1920 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co., San Francisco, 1921 aground and capsized off Talcahuano, salvaged and sold to Wiegand y Cia, Valparaiso renamed Presidente Alessandri, 1923 abandoned on fire off Tocopilla. 3,109
Bambra 1903 ex- Prinz Sigismund, 1914 seized from North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1915 renamed Bambra, 1925 transferred to Board of Trade, London, 1927 scrapped. 3,302
Barambah 1912 ex- Hobart, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Barambah, 1925 sold to Roland Line, Bremen renamed Justin, 1925 to North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1935 scrapped. 5,923
Barunga 1913 ex- Sumatra, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Barunga, 15th Jul.1918 torpedoed and sunk by U.108 150 miles W x S from Bishop Rock with invalided troops. 7,484
Bellata 1918 wooden hull, 1919 sold to Foreign & Domestic Transportation Corp, New York renamed Xenia, 1921 resold to Commonwealth Line, reverted to Bellata, 1922 hulked at Sydney. 2,959
Benowa 1919 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co., San Francisco, 1923 scrapped San Francisco. 3,093
Berringa 1918 wooden hull, launched as Dahlia, completed as Berringa, 1922 hulked at Sydney. 3,007
Bethanga 1918 wooden hull, 1919 sold to Foreign & Domestic Transportation Corp, New York renamed Petunia, 1920 resold to Commonwealth Line, reverted to Bethanga, 1922 hulked at Sydney. 3,014
Biloela 1920 1931 sold to John Hvide's Rederi A/S, Bergen renamed Wollert, 1932 sold to A/S Norseasiatic SS Co., Oslo renamed Ivanhoe, 1937 sold to Shanghai renamed Yoh Hsing, 1937 sold to Muir Young Ltd, London renamed Cree, 22nd Nov.1940 torpedoed and sunk by U.123 in North Atlantic. 5,596
Birriwa 1918 wooden hull, 1919 sold to Foreign & Domestic Transportation Corp, New York renamed Wisteria, 1920 resold to Commonwealth Line, reverted to Birriwa, 1923 hulked at Sydney. 2,989
Boobyalla 1919 wooden hull, 1920 1921 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co, Seattle, 1929 burned near Victoria, B.C. 3,100
Boonah 1912 ex- Melbourne, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Boonah, 1925 sold to Roland Line, Bremen renamed Witram, 1925 to North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1937 sold to Hamburg South America Line renamed Buenos Aires, 1st May 1940 torpedoed and sunk by HMS NARWHAL near Skagen. 5,926
Booral 1905 ex- Oberhausen, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Booral, 1926 sold to Greece renamed Atlas, 1928 renamed Elphidoporos, 1930 stranded at Civitavecchia and scrapped. 4,322
Boorara 1913 ex- Pfalz, 1914 seized from North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1915 renamed Boorara, , 1926 sold to Greece renamed Nereus, 8th Aug.1937 wrecked Vancouver Island. 6,570
Bulga 1904 ex- Signal, 1914 seized from M. Jebsen, Apenrade, 1915 renamed Bulga, 1924 sold to H. C. Sleigh, London, 1925 sold to Moller & Co., Shanghai renamed Hai Yen, 1932 sold to U.S.S.R renamed Primorje, reported in service in WWII as Naval Depot Ship in Black Sea, 1960 deleted from Lloyds Register, fate unknown. 1,449
Bulla 1905 ex- Hessen, 1914 seized from North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1915 renamed Bulla, 1926 sold to W. Schuchmann, Bremerhaven renamed Weissesee, 1941 bombed and sunk at Hamburg, 1949 scrapped. 5,099
Bundarra 1918 wooden hull, 1922 hulked at Sydney. 3,016
Calulu 1907 ex- Osnabruck, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Calulu, 1925 sold to Austral-China Nav.Co., Hong Kong, 1931 sold to Anglo-Danish Shipping Co., Copenhagen, 1933 Ming Sing SS Co., Shanghai renamed Sung Peng, 1939 scrapped. 4,240
Carawa 1907 ex- Turul, 1914 seized from Hungarian Levant SS Co., Fiume, 1915 renamed Carawa, 21st Mar.1920 wrecked in Galapagos Islands. 3,530
Carina 1907 ex- Greifswald, 1914 seized from North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1915 renamed Carina, 1926 sold to Greece renamed Captain Rokos, 17th Feb.1931 wrecked near St. Thomas, West Indies. 5,486
Cethana 1918 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motorship Co., Seattle, 1933 scrapped. 2,305
Challamba 1918 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motorship Co., Seattle, 1927 scrapped after grounding near Prince Rupert, B.C. 2,368
Conargo 1902 ex- Altona,1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Conargo, 31st Mar.1918 torpedoed and sunk by U.96 in Irish Sea. 4,312
Cooee 1907 ex- Neumunster, 1914 captured by HMS PIONEER from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Cooee, 1926 sold to Finland renamed Bomarsund, 1935 scrapped at Ghent. 4,424
Coolcha 1919 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co., San Francisco, 1923 scrapped after grounding at Albert Head, B.C. 2,403
Culburra 1917 wooden hull, 1921 sold to Pacific Motor Ship Co., Seattle, 1935 Santa Cruz Oil Corp, Tacoma, 1941 scrapped. 2,322
Delungra 1919 1926 sold to Huddart Parker Ltd, Melbourne, 26th Feb.1951 wrecked in fog near Carpenter Rocks, South Australia. 3,346
Dilga 1920 1925 sold to Adelaide SS Co., Sydney, 1953 scrapped Yokohama. 3,308
Dinoga 1920 1926 sold to Huddart Parker Ltd, Melbourne renamed Colac, 1951 sold to J. Paterson & Co., Melbourne renamed Easby, 1956 sold to John Manners & Co., Hong Kong reported renamed Clyde Breeze, 1959 scrapped. 3,341
Dongarra 1906 ex- Stolzenfels, 1914 seized from Hansa Line, Bremen, 1915 renamed Dongarra, 1925 sold to Petrograd Steamers Ltd, Leith renamed Kotka, 1927 transferred to Ben Line, Leith renamed Benvrackie, 1931 scrapped Osaka. 5,553
Dromana 1919 1927 sold to Howard Smith Ltd, Melbourne, 1935 sold to Shanghai renamed Yih Hsing, 1938 sold to Java Cina Trading Co., Amsterdam renamed Beatrice, 1941 seized by Japanese renamed Biwa Maru, 1st Nov.1942 sunk in collision in Java Sea. 3,350
Dumosa 1920 1923 sold to J. Paterson & Co., Melbourne, 1952 sold to Gulf Steamships Ltd, Karachi renamed Mustanseri, 1954 scrapped. 3,351
Dundula 1920 1925 sold to Adelaide SS Co., Sydney, 1953 scrapped. 3,344
Echuca 1921 1924 sold to AUSN Co., Melbourne, 1925 renamed Mareeba, 26th Jun.1941 sunk by German cruiser KORMORAN in Indian Ocean. 3,362
Echunga 1922 1925 sold to Interstate Steamships Ltd, Sydney, 1957 sold to Panama renamed Shona, 1959 scrapped. 3,362
Elouera 1923 1923 sold to Broken Hill Pty Ltd, Newcastle, NSW renamed Iron Prince, 1956 sold to John Manners & Co., Hong Kong renamed Kembla Breeze, 1959 scrapped. 3,353
Emita 1921 1926 sold to AUSN Co., Melbourne renamed Milora, 1935 scuttled after grounding damage near Point Lonsdale, Vic. 3,347
Enoggera 1920 1924 sold to AUSN Co., Melbourne renamed Mildura, 1954 scrapped. 3,359
Erriba 1921 1926 sold to AUSN Co., Melbourne renamed Murada, 1947 sold to Panama renamed Nymphe, 1947 renamed Hellenic Nymphe, 1954 scrapped. 3,345
Esperance Bay 1922 passenger ship, 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1936 transferred to Shaw, Savill & Albion Line renamed Arawa, 1939 - 1941 requisitioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser, 1955 scrapped. 13,853
Eudunda 1920 1926 sold to Burns Philp & Co., Suva, renamed Mangola, 1957 sold to John Manners & Co., Hong Kong renamed Torres Breeze, 1959 sold to China renamed Foochow, 1964 scrapped. 3,352
Eugowra 1921 1925 sold to Broken Hill Pty Ltd, Newcastle, NSW renamed Iron Warrior, 1957 sold to V. B. Bendix, renamed Zeus, 1964 sold to Lee Shek Tung renamed Dorar, 5th Sep.1964 wrecked off Hong Kong. 3,345
Eurelia 1920 1926 sold to AUSN Co., Melbourne renamed Mungana, 1951 scrapped. 3,351
Eurimbla 1921 1923 sold to Broken Hill Pty Ltd, Newcastle, NSW renamed Iron Master, 1959 scrapped. 3,351
Euroa 1922 1923 sold to Interstate Steamships Ltd, Sydney renamed Iron Crown, 4th Jun.1942 torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-27 in 38.17S 149.44E. 3,353
Euwarra 1922 1923 sold to Broken Hill Pty Ltd, Newcastle, NSW renamed Iron Knob, 1955 sold to Panama renamed Clarisse, 15th Jun.1957 sparang a leak and sank in Indian Ocean. 3,340
Ferndale 1924 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 16th Jun.1932 wrecked on Algerian coast. 9,670
Fordsdale 1924 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1934 transferred to Shaw, Savill & Albion Line, 1952 sold to C. Y. Tung, Hong Kong renamed Ocean Neptune, 1954 renamed Pacific Trader, 1956 renamed Atlantic Concord, 1958 renamed Jui Yung, 1959 scrapped. 9,674
Gilgai 1901 ex- Wildenfels, 1914 seized from Hansa Line, Bremen, 1915 renamed Gilgai, 1925 sold to Italy renamed Sursum Corda, 1937 sold renamed Manon, 13th feb.1941 captured by HMS HAWKINS and operated by MOWT. 7th Oct.1942 torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-162 near Madras. 5,512
Hobsons Bay 1922 passenger ship, 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1936 renamed Esperance Bay (2), 1939 - 1941 requisitioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser, 1955 scrapped. 14,343
Jervis Bay 1922 passenger ship, 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1939 requisitioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser, 5th Nov.1940 shelled and sunk by German cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER in the Niorth Atlantic. 14,164
Largs Bay 1921 passenger ship, 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1957 scrapped. 14,362
Mawatta 1904 ex- Germania, 1914 seized from Jaluit Gesellschaft AG, Hamburg, 1915 renamed Mawatta, 1923 sold to Patrick SS Co., London & Sydney, 1928 sold to Noumea, 1938 sold to Mollers Ltd, Shanghai renamed Elsie Moller, converted to salvage vessel, 1941 captured by Japanese renamed Esashi Maru, 1945 sunk off Taiwan. 1,096
Moorina 1906 ex- Thuringen, 1914 captured from North German Lloyd, Bremen off Fremantle by HMS PIONEER, 1915 renamed Moorina, 5th Nov.1915 captured, shelled and sunk by U.35 off Crete. 4,994
Moreton Bay 1921 passenger ship, 1928 sold to White Star Line, London, 1933 sold to Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, London, 1939 - 1941 requisitioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser, 1957 scrapped. 14,376
Parattah 1904 ex- Berlin, 1914 seized from German-Australian Line, 1915 renamed Parattah, 1925 sold to Greece renamed Markakis, 1932 scrapped. 4,196
Talawa 1907 ex- Wotan, 1914 seized from Rhederei AG Oceana, Hamburg, 1915 renamed Talawa, 1924 sold to Japan renamed Talawa Maru, 1924 renamed Ginsen Maru, 1935 scrapped. 3,834
Toromeo 1905 ex- Tiberius, 1914 seized from C. Andersen, Hamburg, 1915 renamed Toromeo,1924 sold to Japan renamed Toromeo Maru, 1924 sold renamed Kinsen Maru, 14th Mar.1933 sank on voyage Melbourne - Yokohama. 4,149

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