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Reproduced courtesy of Hilda Farquar-Smith and Robert Dun

Collection of 29 documents relating to Captain Burnham Dun

Date: 1947 - 1967
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the family of Burnham Walker Dun
Object Copyright: © Hilda Farquar-Smith and Robert Dun
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1345

User Terms

    This collection of 29 documents relate to the career of Master Mariner Captain Burnham Walker Dun. The series consists of one affidavit; one disposition document and two records of cross examination of Captain Dun and eight letters in relation to a cargo of rotten potatoes onboard SS NANKIN; and 17 letters relating to the use of heavy lift gear on NELLORE; damage to a cargo of wool onboard EASTERN; fourth officer shortages, steel, customs problems and wives accompanying officers onboard ARAMAC; and the provision of medical aid by ARAMAC. The documents span the period 1947 - 1967.
    HistoryBurnham Walker Dun 1905-1992 began his apprenticeship with the Australasian Steam Navigation Company in 1921 when he was just short of his 16th birthday. After four years in the coastal ships of AUSN he gained his Second Mate's certificate in Sydney and joined the Eastern & Australian Steamship Company (E&A) as Fourth Officer on the TANDA. He served 43 years with this Company sailing to ports between Australia and eastern Asia, retiring in 1967. He gained his Master's Certificate in 1929, at the age of 24.

    In 1942, while he was Chief Officer onboard SS NANKIN, the ship was captured by the German raider THOR. He spent the rest of World War II labouring in Japanese POW camps with the other surviving crew. He returned to Australia in poor health and spent years trying to get compensation. Although he was an Australian resident employed by an Australian company (managing agents Macdonald Hamilton) the ship was British owned and registered, and he obtained only limited compensation. He went back to sea with E&A in 1946, had his first permanent command in 1947 on the second NANKIN, and served in the company's ships EASTERN, NELLORE, ARAFURA and ARAMAC until he retired. During this time he carried cargo regularly to Japan, where he established friendly relationships with his former captors. During his career he made a number of rescues at sea and survived several severe typhoons. On retirement, he became a Nautical Assessor and took part in marine Courts of Enquiry, including the enquiry into the collapse of the Tasman Bridge, caused by the cargo ship LAKE ILLAWARRA striking one of the bridge's piers.

    The Eastern & Australian Steamship Company (E&A Line) began as 4 British and Australian merchants contracted in 1873 to provide a mail service for the Queensland Government to transport mail between Queensland, Dutch East Indies, Singapore and Sydney. Hong Kong and Melbourne were eventually added to the route. In 1880 the contract was not renewed and they ceased mail transportation, evolving into a passenger and cargo carrier. They operated mainly between Hong Kong and Australia.

    Through its history, the E&A Lines carried cargo and passengers, and was involved in trooping and supply in World War I and in World War II. Its entire fleet of three ships was lost in World War II.

    In 1919 the company was taken over by Australasian United Steam Navigation Ltd, although it continued to operate as a separate entity until 1945. At that time, the chairman of P&O also held extensive interest in Australasian United Steam Navigation, and the company became connected to P&O in 1946. Australasian United from there after focused on cargo transportation between Australia and the Far East and continued to operate until 1975 when their last two ships were sold, although from 1983 it continued to staff and operate AJCL containerships.

    SS NANKIN was built in 1912 for P&O and was purchased by the E&A Line in 1931. She was a steel passenger-cargo steamship built by Caird, Greenock and had twin screw, quadruple expansion engine making 14 knots. During the Second World War NANKIN continued to function as a passenger ship. In May 1942, NANKIN was proceeding from Australia to India with civilians and military passengers when it was captured by a German raider, THOR, in the Indian Ocean. The passengers were transferred several times to different ships and eventually arrived in Yokohama, Japan where they were interned in a prisoner of war camp. NANKIN was renamed LEUTHEN and was destroyed at Yokohama in November 1942 due to the explosion of the German tanker UCKERMARK.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Documents relating to events onboard SS NANKIN, NELLORE and SS EASTERN under Captain Dun's command

    Web title: Collection of 29 documents relating to Captain Burnham Dun

    Collection title: Captain Burnham Walker Dun collection

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