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Orient Line History and Ephemera

Established in 1878, and are the contractors with the Commonwealth Government for the carriage of mails between England and Australia. A fortnightly service is maintained from London, calling at Plymouth, Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Port Said, Suez, Colombo, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

Rapid strides have been made in the passenger service, and excellent accommodation is afforded to long distance travellers only able to pay the cheapest fares, the passage having been reduced from 55 to 33 days.

In 1901 the Ophir was selected for her sea-going qualities, and specially fitted for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales when, with the Princess, he visited Australia to open the first Parliament of the Commonwealth.

Advertisement for the Orient Line of Royal Mail Steamers. Australia Today, 1 November 1912

Advertisement for the Orient Line of Royal Mail Steamers. Australia Today, 1 November 1912. GGA Image ID # 1d4249fb60


1899-04-28 RMS Orient

1899-04-28 RMS Orient Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 28 April 1899
  • Route: London (Tilbury) to Australian Ports (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Albany) via Plymouth
  • Commander: Captain A. T. Pritchard, Lt. R.N.R
Front Cover, Brochure from the Orient-Royal Mail Line of Steamers

1906 Brochure - Orient-Royal Mail Line of Steamers

Rare 1906 passenger information brochure from the Orient-Royal Mail Line that carried passengers and mail betwen the UK and Australia, the voyage taking about 33 days each way. Photographs and important passenger information was included.

1947-12-30 RMS Orion

1947-12-30 RMS Orion Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 30 December 1947
  • Route: London (Tilbury) to Sydney via Aden, Colombo, Port Said, Fremantle, and Melbourne
  • Commander: Captain C. Fox, C.B.E
Orient Line First Class Passage Ticket for Passage on the SS Orion, Departing from Sydney for Tilbury Dated 7 February 1948.

1948-02-07 First Class Passage Ticket Sydney to Southampton

First Class Ticket for Passage from Sydney to Southampton on the SS Orion of the Orient Line, voyage to being on or about the 7th of February 1948 for one adult who paid £115 for passage.

1948-02-07 RMS Orion

1948-02-07 RMS Orion Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: First Saloon
  • Date of Departure: 7 February 1948
  • Route: Sydney to Southampton via Melbourne, Fremantle, Colombo, Aden, and Port Said
  • Commander: Captain C. Fox, C.B.E
Front Cover, Orient Line SS Orion Tourist Class Passenger List - 8 October 1954.

1954-10-08 RMS Orion Passenger List

  • Steamship Line: Orient Line
  • Class of Passengers: Tourist Class
  • Date of Departure: 8 October 1954
  • Route: Vancouver BC to Sydney via San Francisco, Honolulu, Suva (Fiji), and Auckland
  • Commander: Captain A. E. Coles, R.D., R.N.R.


Fleet of the Orient Line (1911)

  • Asturias
  • Omrak
  • Ophir
  • Orotava
  • Orient
  • Ormuz
  • Orontes
  • Oroya
  • Ortona
  • Oruba

76,000 Gross tonnage

The Orient Line is the only other company besides the P. & O. under contract with the Commonwealth of Australia for the conveyance of mails between England and Australia. Their latest mail steamers are the Orsova, Osterley, Otway, Orvieto and Otranto, all launched in 1909. They are all practically sister ships, being of about 13,000 tons, and are driven by twin screws at a speed of 18 1/2 knots. The other vessels of the Orient Line are the Orient, Ormuz, Oroya, Orotava, Oruba, Ophir, Omrah, Orontes and Ortona, the first of which was completed in 1879 and the latter twenty years later. They vary in size from 5,850 to 9,000 tons, and although several of them are comparatively old ships, they offer extremely comfortable accommodation to their passengers. The Ophir, built in 1891, was the first twin-screw vessel of the fleet, and she had a sea speed of 18 to 19 knots. She was, it will be remembered, the vessel selected to carry the present King and Queen on their tour of the British Colonies in 1901.

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The Folks Behind the GG Archives

The GG Archives is the work and passion of two people, Paul Gjenvick, a professional archivist, and Evelyne Gjenvick, a curator. Paul earned a Masters of Archival Studies - a terminal degree from Clayton State University in Georgia, where he studied under renowned archivist Richard Pearce-Moses. Our research into the RMS Laconia and SS Bergensfjord, the ships that brought two members of the Gjønvik family from Norway to the United States in the early 20th century, has helped us design our site for other genealogists. The extent of original materials at the GG Archives can be very beneficial when researching your family's migration from Europe.