Monday, 23 April 2012

Australian National Line 1978 - 1985 (Post 5)

Australian Escort (1979)

On 21st. May 1979 I joined Australian Escort in Melbourne as Third Mate (one of two Third Mates carried on this ship). She was engaged in the Australia - Japan container trade. The ports of call were Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Yokohama, Nagoya, Yokkaichi, Kobe, Osaka, Sydney, Melbourne. Each voyage lasted about four weeks so we used to serve two voyages (eight weeks) on and two off (for leave). My first spell ran until 30th. July when I disembarked the ship in Sydney. I joined the ship next in Melbourne on 8th. October and disembarked in Melbourne on 9th. December, from which I had six months study leave to sit for my First Mate's Certificate.

Berthed at Circular Quay, Sydney while waiting for our White Bay berth.
Other container shipping at Glebe Island and White Bay, Sydney.

Passing an outbound ship in Moreton Bay, Brisbane.
Looking back to the bridge from the bow, Moreton Bay, Brisbane.

Lake Hume, one of the company's new bulk ships berthed in the Brisbane River.

The forward mooring crew at stations on the bow.

Berthed at Hamilton, on the Brisbane River.

Me on watch (age 23).

The Deck Cadet on my watch, David Brown, fixing the ship's position on the chart.

The other Third Mate, Dick Lowey, taking his morning sight. The watch lookout in the background.

Another Deck Cadet, Bruce Goodchild,  sanding the bridge teak railings.
Passing the homeward bound Australian Emblem, identical sister ship to the Australian Escort and also employed on the Australia / Japan trade.

One of the seamen being hoisted aloft to perform maintenance.

Three of the ship's engineers hard at it around the swimming pool.
The starboard lifeboat. The ship's safety equipment was one of my responsibilities.

One of the powerful Japanese tugs.

The tug on the starboard quarter.

Australian Explorer (1980 - 81)

On 1st. September 1980 I joined Australian Explorer in Melbourne as Third Mate. She was engaged on the Australia - East Asia container trade. The ports of call were Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Manila, Kaoshiung, Hong Kong, Pusan, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne. Each voyage lasted about six weeks so we used to serve two voyages (twelve weeks) on and two off (for leave). My first swing was until 9th. December when I disembarked the ship in Sydney. My second swing was from 7th. March 1981 until 23rd. May 1981. I embarked and disembarked in Melbourne this time.

Me aboard the ship at Webb Dock, Melbourne.

Australian Exporter entering Sydney, before the Port Botany container terminal was operational. (Photo: ANL).
Shipping in Hong Kong harbour.

Australian Explorer in Hong Kong.
Me on watch.

Australian Venture (1981)

My next appointment was to Australian Venture, a cellular container ship employed on the
Australia / NZ / UK trade. At the time the ship was considered to be large, 249m length carrying 2002 TEU (containers), but these days would be considered to be mid-size. I embarked the ship in Sydney on 1st. July 1981 for one round trip calling at Auckland, Wellington, Port Chalmers, Panama Canal (transit only), Tilbury, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Tilbury and direct back to Melbourne via Cape of Good Hope. I disembarked in Melbourne on 26th. September 1981. While the ship's accommodation was more comfortable than usual, the trade itself had excessively long, boring sea passages for my liking, being a navigating officer.

Australian Venture in the Panama Canal (Photo: ANL).
Berthing at Port Botany, Sydney.

Approaching the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

At the Miraflores locks.

Entering the San Pedro Miguel locks.

One of the electric 'mules' used to keep the ship straight in the locks.

Working cargo at Hamburg.

Hamburg in 1981.

Curiously, the notorious Reeperbahn had become a tourist attraction (during the day at least).

 Sydney Trader (1981)

I was recalled from leave on very short notice to join Sydney Trader in Melbourne on 15th. November 1981 to replace one of her Third Mates who'd been injured and ruled unfit to sail. The ship, like her identical sisters Brisbane Trader and Townsville Trader were engaged on the Melbourne to Northern Tasmanian ports run. Each ship would alternate each day between Melbourne and one of the Tasmanian ports (Devonport, Burnie or Bell Bay) and cross Bass Strait each night. I left the ship in Melbourne to resume my leave on 8th. December 1981.

Sydney Trader berthing at Webb Dock, Melbourne.

Alongside at Webb Dock.

Bass Trader (1982)

I joined Bass Trader in Sydney on 25th. January 1982. She was employed on the Northern Tasmania/ Sydney / Queensland trade. Ports were usually Sydney, Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Burnie, Sydney. Obviously the weather was generally good when we got to FNQ but those ports were entered and left in very rapid succession. I disembarked the ship in Brisbane on 18th. March 1982.

At anchor off Cronulla, NSW, waiting for our berth in Botany Bay.

Four ANL ships at Botany Bay in February 1982. (L-R) Australian Enterprise, Anro Australia, Melbourne Trader, Bass Trader.


  1. Another great series of vintage shots, Tim!

  2. Beautiful captures of all the ships at sea.

  3. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
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  4. Thanks for sharing... I was a deck Cadet on the Exporter and Venture.. mighty fine memories.

  5. Spent 10 years as engineer with ANL with 5 years on the Australian Escort - wish I had taken more photos

  6. Enjoyed reading your Blog.Also collection of your photos,excellent colour quality.Bill Seddon.

  7. Did a few trips with Blue Star U.K.Also other Ships.Had a Uncle Bill Welsby Chief Steward ANL.From Melbourne.Did you ever sail with him?