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The Blue Funnel Line Far East & Australia

Date: 1950s
Overall: 1015 x 635 mm
Display Dimensions: 1275 x 930 x 55 mm
Medium: Colour lithograph on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Nico Peters
Object Copyright:
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00004861

User Terms

    This vibrant advertising poster was designed by Walter Thomas in the 1950s and printed in England. It features a Blue Funnel Line ship underway at sea. The ship is depicted with its distinctive blue funnel, as well as its black hull and unpainted wooden decks.
    SignificanceThis poster represents the Blue Funnel Line which serviced Far East and Australian passenger runs from the UK until the 1970s.
    HistoryAlfred Holt & Company, better known as the Blue Funnel Line, is one of the most famous British shipping companies. For more than 100 years anyone travelling to any of the major ports of the world could not have failed to see a Blue Funnel Liner - instantly recognisable by their light blue and black topped funnels.

    From beginnings in coastal shipping in 1852, Alfred and Philip Holt established the Blue Funnel Line in 1866 to operate steamers from Liverpool to China. When the first of the company's new ships sailed in early 1866, the Blue Funnel Line established a service to the Far East which it came to dominate. In the 1870s the company expanded, forming a Dutch subsidiary to establish a direct run from Amsterdam to Indonesia, and by 1901 a direct UK to Australia service commenced. By 1911 the company operated more than 60 ships.

    During World War I there was a dramatic reduction in the demand for passenger services, but by the 1930s the company steadily expanded and acquired a number of shipping lines. During World War II the Blue Funnel Line lost more than 40 ships, which were not all replaced until 1953.

    While Blue Funnel Line services were almost always liner routes, the ships served the seasonal 'pilgrim' routes to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, some 55 miles from Mecca. In 1949, the ship TYNDAREUS was converted to accommodate around 2,000 pilgrims, and transported passengers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

    The Blue Funnel Line remained the dominant passenger service in Asia until the 1970s when the company ceased its passenger services and focused on international container shipping.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The Blue Funnel Line Far East & Australia

    Web title: The Blue Funnel Line Far East & Australia

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