Passengers Ships Voyages Stories Periods Photo Album The Project Links


View DJVU File
Passenger List, "Orient", Nov. 1884

Ship Type single-screw steamer
Builder John Elder & Co.
Place Built Glasgow, Scotland
Date Launched 1879
Registered Tonnage 5,386; later 5,453 (from 1898)

iron-hull coal-burning auxiliary steamer (when built)

Voyages to Victoria
      Nov 1879 - Sep 1909
      Suez Royal Mail Steamers
No Of Passengers
      120 1st-class, 130 2nd-class & 300 3rd-class
Shipping Line
      Orient Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
Sister Ships
      5,400 i.h.p. 60-inch & two 85-inch x 5-ft 3-cylinder inverted compound engines, 75 p.s.i. boilers
      4-mast barque & twin funnels (when built); two pole masts & single funnel (from 1898)
Service Speed
      15 knots
      445.5 ft. (135.8 m)
      46.3 ft. (14.1 m)
      35.0 ft. (10.67 m)

Built expressly for the Orient Line's Australian service, the “Orient” was the largest vessel in the Australian trade when introduced, and the largest steamship built in Britain since Brunel’s 18,914 ton colossus, the “Great Eastern” of 1858. She was considered one of the finest passenger ships of her day and introduced a new standard of comfort for immigrants and passengers bound to Australian. “Orient” was the first passenger ship on Australian run equipped with refrigeration and electric lighting and the first steamship to feature an upper promenade deck. The latter was covered by a canvas awning protecting passengers from rain and the hot tropical sun, greatly extending the possibilities for passenger recreation.
Her keel was laid at John Elder & Co.’s, yard on the Clyde and constructed with eight transverse bulkheads, a double bottom tank aft and a deep ballast tank midships. The hull had a distinctive vertical stem and elliptical counter stern and was plated in iron over the two lower decks and in wood sheathing with iron tie-plates over the upper two decks. Her extensive deck houses and two lower decks provided accommodation for 120 1st-class, 130 2nd-class and 300 3rd-class passengers when built. Initially she was fitted with two funnels and four masts, the fore two square rigged and the others fore & aft rigged. She was the first British ship built to fulfil the Admiralty’s requirements for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser in the event of hostilities breaking out and could be fitted out to carry up to 1,500 troops ‘tween decks at short notice. Her construction cost £150,000.
Originally she was equipped with a single set of three-cylinder inverted compound steam engines, also built by Elder’s, with one 60-inch dia. high-pressure and two 85-inch dia. low pressure cylinders with a common 5-ft stroke. Four double-ended cylindrical boilers provided steam at 75 p.s.i. (5.274 kg/cm2). To provide for her expected long sea legs without coaling stops she had 3,000 ton bunker capacity, as expected for a long distance ocean liner.
On her sea trials, the Orient’s engines were measured at 5,400 indicated horsepower and she reached a top speed of 17 knots, although in service her speed was generally 15 knots. On her maiden voyage the “Orient” reached Adelaide from London in just 37 days 22 hours, establishing a new record for the voyage to Australia.
Early voyages were made outward via Cape of Good Hope and homeward via the Suez Canal, however, from 1883 when the Orient Line gained a share of the mail contract, both outward and homeward passages were via the Suez. From 1884, she was fitted with electric lighting. In 1897, the “Orient” was refurbished and modernised on the Tyne, which included an extensive refit of passenger accommodation, new boilers and triple-expansion engines and a new appearance above deck, with one funnel and two pole masts All semblance of the use of sail power had now vanished.
With the outbreak of the South African Boer War in October 1899, the “Orient” was withdrawn from her regular service and chartered to the British Admiralty as “H.M. Transport No.24”. She returned to her regular Australian service in 1902, continuing until her last voyage in October 1909. The following year she was sold to Italian ship-breakers.

Note: Tonnage given as 5386 tons on Passenger Lists for most early voyages up to 1888, except Dec 1881 voyage when it was listed as 3440 tons (probably net tonnage).
Ian Nicholson, "Log of Logs", vol.1, pp.388-9; John M. Maber, "North Star to Southern Cross", 1967, pp.101-102, 104-105, 117.