Chandris Lines
Chandris Flag

When I started at Chandris Lines the company were operating a Round-World Service, with the Head Office in Athens/Piraeus, but their passenger operations were controlled from London.

The ships routes were based on sailings from Bremerhaven/Rotterdam/Southampton southbound via the Suez Canal to Sydney with the return section of the voyage via the Panama Canal.

At the time (1969-1973) Chandris’s ships were divided up between those which operated the Round-World Service - ‘Australis’ (Flagship), ‘Britannis’ and ‘Ellinis’; Greece/ Australia - ‘Patris’ and "Queen Frederica" and cruising in the Mediterranean/ Caribbean with the ‘Amerikanis’.

The "Patris", formerly Union Castle Line's "Bloemfontein Castle " built by Harland and Wollfe in Belfast in 1950, started off the Chandris passenger shipping arm of the company to Australia in 1959, which up to this time had been running freighters. She carried Greek migrants to Australia and returned to Greece with young Australians coming to Europe and England for working holidays at cheaper rates than those offered by the big established companies such as P and O, Orient Line, Shaw Savill and New Zealand Shipping Co. As such "Patris" was held in special esteem by Mr Chandris.

She was sold for scrap in July 1987

Queen Fredeika Photograph
The "QUEEN FREDERICA" from a photograph
in Ships Monthly circa 1980s

The Royal Helennic Mailship "Queen Frederica"was built for Matson Lines as the "Malola" in 1937, renamed "Matsonia" in 1938, sold to Home Lines and again re-named "Atlantic" in 1948 and "Queen Frederica" in 1955 and finally to Chandris Lines in 1966 as the "QUEEN FREDERICA" . She was withdrawn from service in 1971, after the aquisition of Britanis, and was scrapped in Greece in 1977.

My Wife, Anne, became her 'Secretary' in Melbourne, until the ship was withdrawn when Anne transferred to "Ellinis".

Ellinis Postcard
Postcard of the "ELLINIS"

The "Ellinis" was built for Matson Line as the "Lurline" in 1932 (see below) and retained her name until bought by Chandris Lines in 1963 when she was refitted and re-named. Her operational route was Southampton to Australia returning via the Panama Canal and New York.

My wife was her Berthing Officer's Secretary. On 24th January 1973 we boarded her in New York and returned to Southampton arriving on the 1st March 1973, both ceasing our employment with Chandris Lines on that day.

Lurline Poster 1954
"LURLINE"

The advertisement, opposite, is one of many that was used by Matson Line to advertise the "Lurline". This one appeared in 1954.

When sold to Chandris she was refitted and modernised inside whilst still largely maintaining her outward appearance but with her bow given a more raked and pleasing appearance.



"BRITANIS" arriving at Station Pier
Port Melbourne circa 1972, from a Photograph in the
National Library of Australia, which also appears in
Stuart Bremer's excellent 'Home and Back' published by
Dreamweaver Books, Sydney reprint 1986.

The "Britanis" was built for Matson Line as the "Monterey" in 1932 and retained this name until 1957 when she was re-named "Matsonia". In 1963 she was again re-named by Matson Lines as the "Lurline" as a result of the previous "Lurline" being sold to Chandris in 1963, which she kept until bought by Chandris Lines in 1970 when she was re-named "Britanis", operating mainly on the UK to Australia route via Suez and occasionally round -the-world.

In 1978 she was taken off the Australian run, the Migrant Contract by sea having been discontinued, and was stationed in Greece where she was used for Mediterranean cruising. Later laid up and reportedly rotting in a Greek bay along with many other once fine ships. Photographs of which are prohibited by the Greek authorities...one wonders why!

The "Brittany" was built for the Societe Generale des Transports Maritimes in 1952 as the "Bretagne" and operated under that name for 8 years until bought by Chandris Lines in 1960 and refitted at Piraeus and
re-named "Brittany" being put on the Australian run.

In 1963 she caught fire and became a total wreck at Skaramanga in Greece, being scrapped in Italy. It was said, at the time, that the insurance payout on her enabled Chandris to buy "Britanis" as a replacement.
Postcard of Australis
Postcard of the "AUSTRALIS"
"Australis" started life as the United States Line's "S.S. "America", in 1940 and had a long and distinguished passenger record during peace and war. In 1964 she was put up for sale and was bought by Chandris Lines to become their Flagship with the name "Australis" being put on the UK Australia Round-the-World service. I became her 'Berthing Officer' in Melbourne from 1969 to 1973, and remained so until my wife and I returned to England via Panama aboard her, disembarking at Fort Lauderdale for a few weeks, then, joining "Ellinis" at New York, in January 1973. This fine vessel is now, a wreck, broken in two, her forepart lying on a beach at Fuerte Ventura, a sad end to such a fine ship.
Britanis Photograph arriving Melbourne
The last Migrant Liner "AUSTRALIS" at Station Pier
This photograph of "Australis" alongside Outer West Station Pier is a copy of a photograph in the 'Immigration Museum' situated in what used to be the Customs Clearing House in Flinders Street, Melbourne. I copied this in April 2003 when I visited Melbourne for the first time in 19 years. The original photograph is entitled " The Chandris Liner Australis, the last Migrant Liner". She is also remembered at the entrance to Station Pier on a modern bow-like structure in stainless steel upon which there are many former ships engraved.

Labels ex USA
Chandris Line Baggage Labels

All shipping companies had their own baggage labels. These shown here are typical.

The red 'HOLD' label was used for baggage that was 'Not Wanted on Voyage ' and which was stowed away in the ship's hold. These were cardboard labels with an eyelet at the top for attaching the label with string. It was generally better to fasten them with tacks onto wooden boxes to stop them from coming off.

 

The green and blue labels were for 'Cabin Baggage'. and the examples shown were used on Chandris America ships, or for people boarding vessels for UK and beyond when these labels were given out. The centre label is cardboard, also shown below, together with the reverse side on which the cabin and passenger details were written.

 

The red 'sticky' label - at left - was used out of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand as well as Florida and New York .

 

There were others for 'Baggage Room', which generally consisted of cabin trunks that could be got at during the voyage at times when the Baggage Room was open during each day. This meant that there was a minimum of suitcases and light baggage kept in the cabin.

Baggage  Label Back

Cabin Baggae Sticker

BusinessCard
I still have one or two of my Chandris Lines (Australia) Business cards. The department in Melbourne consisted of two main sections, with the Passenger Department, proper, being on the ground floor, where passengers came in to make bookings and collect tickets etc. Upstairs on the first floor was the Berthing Department, where all the requests for cabins and berths, both from prospective passengers and travel agents, were processed and where the 'berthing books or registers were kept. Each ship had its own Senior Berthing Officer, an Assistant Berthing Officer and Secretary, so it was a small self-contained unit and very efficient.
Vaccination Certificate, Chandris
Chandris Lines, in keeping with many other shipping lines and airlines, issued blank International Vaccination Certificates for use by their passengers. One such is shown above left, and was owned by my late Mother.
(Michael Byard Collection)

Chandris Mediterranean Cruise Brochure 1969Chandrs Med. Cruise Brochure 1969 info Amerikanis souvenir Spoon
Above left: 1969 Mediterranean Cruise Brochure for the"Regina", "Fiesta"
and "Fantasia" and right: Amerikanis souvenir EPNS spoon
(Michael Byard Collection)

 

My Chandris Lines - The S.S. "Australis" Introduction Page
My Chandris Lines - The S.S. "Australis" Page
My Chandris Lines - The S.S. "Ellinis" Page
My Chandris Lines page 2 Fire and Voy 37NB

My Chandris Lines - The R.H.M.S "Queen Frederica" Page

Former Gym Instructor Ken Ironsides great site
S.S. Australis Website

Carol Mavroidakis: "Photographic Memories of Working on Chandris Lines rhms Amerikanis & rhms Britanis in the early Seventies"

Click this link to view Chris Preston's Chandris Lines Staff
and Contacts
through Excel


If you don't have Excel, click here to download a free viewer from Microsoft

Return to Gallery
Home

INTRODUCTION CURRENT OCCUPATIONS MARITIME HISTORIAN OTHER INTERESTS HOME