7th June 2024

Melbourne Steamship Company Ltd

In 1884 the Melbourne Coal, Shipping and Engineering Co Ltd became the Melbourne Shipping Co. Ltd. then in 1895 the Melbourne Steamship Co Ltd.

The Argus (Melbourne), 8th October 1885 p.10

The Age (Melbourne), 1st January 1896 p.1   The  West Australian gold rush was an opportunity to provide a regular inter colonial passenger and cargo service.

They opened branches in Fremantle, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle. In 1935 the firm was described as in “the front rank of the inter-state shipping trade, and joins a coastwise passenger and freight service with towing, docking and engineering enterprises.” In 1961 the firm was taken over by Howard Smith Ltd.

The University of Melbourne Library, 1962.0008.00177. 1912.

The  manager was David York Syme (not the David Syme of The Age), whose 4th son, also David York Syme, would take over after his father’s death in 1932.

The Age (Melbourne), 21st December 1935 p.18. Along with Cpt. James Reid and Cpt. James McIntyre, they founded the shipping company.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th December 1932 p.10

Maritime Museum, Tasmania, Image Number oai:ehive.com:objects/148937, P_CR_55961. MV Duntroon, 1946.

David junior was chairman of the Australian Steamship Owners’ federation, a member of the Commonwealth Shipping Board, and a delegate to the International Conference of Ship Owners.  As such he was involved in both national and international shipping tregulations, and challenges such as the change to diesel, pillaging and workforce shortages.He was also a commissioner of the Melbourne harbour trust, and a board member of various companies. He was also a long time board member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and  a benefactor of the Mission to Seamen.

NB: There was a earlier similarly named but unrelated Melbourne Steam Ship Company from 1864-1883, owned by Howard Smith.

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