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Reproduced courtesy of Lynne Norton

AUSN to Barrier Reef Islands and Queensland ports

Date: 1938
Image: 987 x 636 mm
Overall: 1020 x 658 mm, 0.05 kg
Sheet: 1020 x 658 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Lynne Norton
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00027981
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This poster advertising the Australasian United Steam Navigation Co service to Queensland was designed by Frank Norton. From the beginning of the 20th century, shipping posters highlighted the delights of steamship travel. A ship, either the ORMISTON or ORUNGAL, is anchored close to a tropical island at night. Lights blaze from the steamship's windows as passengers descend accommodation ladders to waiting small motor boats.

    SignificanceThe poster is representative of the early 20th century illustrative style of shipping poster incorporating a ship portrait with details of a port en route. This style gradually disappeared by the late 1940s, to be replaced by more conceptual designs.
    HistoryThe Australasian United Steam Navigation Company (AUSN) was established in 1887 and acquired other competing companies, such as the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. In 1927 AUSN chartered the ORMISTON and ORUNGAL for the coastal freight and passenger service between Cairns and Melbourne. They were refurbished to accommodate 240 passengers in a single class.

    In November 1940, ORUNGAL was transporting passengers and cargo from Sydney to Adelaide and hit a reef and sunk near Barwon Heads. ORMISTON was used for a variety of coastal services after the outbreak of the Second World War and was torpedoed off the north coast of NSW in May 1943, but managed to reach Coffs Harbour. After being repaired she was used as a troop transport for the remainder of the war. Due to a dearth of passenger ships post-war, ORMISTON serviced the Sydney to Hobart route until 1947. Up until 1955, ORMISTON traded along the east coast of Australia and was then sold to a Greek company and was broken up in Italy in 1957.

    During the 20th century, the chairman of P&O also held extensive interest in Australasian United Steam Navigation, and the company became connected to P&O in 1946. AUSN from thereafter focused on cargo transportation between Australia and the Far East and continued to operate until 1975 when their last two ships were sold.

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