Earlier migrants to Australia, travelling before the First World War and into the 1930s, came by P&O’s Branch Service via the Cape. It was P&O’s only ‘Third Class’ service and being slower and longer, the route was also used for cargo.
The quick route, via Suez, was P&O’s traditional route to Australia, pioneered by the Company from the 1840s when mail, cargo and passengers were transported overland from Alexandria to Suez. The choice of ports was dictated by the need to take on coal and supplies and the Government mail contracts, which dominated the P&O and Orient Line schedules until the Second World War. Traditionally P&O vessels passing through the Suez Canal to Australia called at Port Said, Suez, Aden (now Yemen) and Colombo. For many British migrants who had never ventured abroad, it was an opportunity to experience exotic new cultures, sights and travel along the way.
Victoria Quay, Fremantle in Western Australia, was the first port of call in Australia before continuing down the coast to Adelaide, Station Pier in Melbourne, Circular Quay, Sydney and on to Brisbane.
It was here that new lives began…