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The Eastern and Australian Steamship Company centenary - a Sun Herald special feature

Date: 15 April 1973
Overall: 404 x 305 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the family of Burnham Walker Dun
Object Name: Newspaper
Object No: ANMS1349[012]

User Terms

    Two pages (77 - 80) from a Sun-Herald special feature on the E&A centenary. The article on the first page is titled 'The captain outwitted the pirate junks' and contains a history of the Eastern and Australian Steamship Company, including an anecdote about the liner BOWEN avoiding an attack by pirates in the 1880s. The first page also contains a large advertisement for P&O cruises.
    SignificanceThis item is part of a collection relating to Australian shipmaster Burnham Walker Dun who had a long and eventful sea career, interrupted by a harrowing experience as a prisoner in World War II. The collection is a valuable research source on Australian merchant shipping, covering more than half of the 20th century.
    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:

    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.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: The Eastern and Australian Steamship Company centenary - a Sun Herald special feature

    Collection title: Captain Burnham Walker Dun collection

    Assigned title: E & A centenary - a Sun Herald special feature

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