Folded accommodation and berthing plan for Chandris Lines, SS Australis. There plans feature a photographic image of the ship in blue and show the floor plans of the different decks of the ship. They also note that the ship was fully Air Conditioned.

Built in 1939 as the America to accommodate 516 first class, 371 cabin class and 159 tourist class passengers for the United States Lines, she was used as a US troop ship between 1941 and 1946. Used on the North Atlantic passenger service until 1964 when she was sold to Chandris Lines and renamed SS Australis. Rebuilt to accommodate 2,300 single class passengers, she sailed from Southampton around the world, including Australia. She often brought migrants from Europe to Australia as Chandris Lines had the Australian Government's migrant contract, bringing scores of new settlers to Freemantle, Melbourne and Sydney. The increase in air travel saw a decline in passengers on the Europe to Australia route and in 1978 the Australis was sold to Venture Cruise Line and renamed America. This venture was unsuccessful and later that year she was repurchased by Chandris Line and renamed Italis.

Physical Description

Folded plan printed on white stock in dark blue lettering and lining. Features photographic image of the ship in blue and floor plans of the different decks of the ship.


This collection of shipping memorabilia relating to the Europe & U.K. - Australia and Pacific Cruising voyages of the Greek-owned Chandris Lines passenger ships was collected by Paul Carman who joined the company's Melbourne office as a bookings officer in 1975. Mr Carman was responsible for allocating berths to passengers boarding Chandris Lines ships in Melbourne for cruises or voyages back to Europe. He continued to work for Chandris Lines until the company folded and still works in the cruise industry as Business Development Manager for Victoria, Tasmania & South Australia for the company Creative Cruising.

The Australis began it's life as the luxury liner America destined for the prestigious United States Lines' North Atlantic route between New York and European ports. Designed by William Francis Gibbs (who also responsible for the United States - the fastest passenger liner ever built), the keel of the America was laid at Newport News on 22 August 1938 and the ship was launched by Mrs Franklin Roosevelt on 31 August 1939. When completed in July 1940, the America was fitted out to carry 543 cabin class, 418 tourist class and 241 third-class passengers. Unable to commence duties on its planned North Atlantic route because of the War, the America so was transferred instead to Caribbean cruising. In July 1941 America was requisitioned by the US Navy and converted into a troopship with accommodation for 8175 men. At the same time the vessel was renamed West Point - reputedly because of the fears about the likely adverse publicity that would be created if the "America" was sunk by enemy fire. Over the next five years the West Point visited many ports in Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific, steaming more than 500,000 miles and carrying over half a million passengers. After the War, the America finally got to join the prestigious North Atlantic trade where she served with distinction for 18 years carrying a total of 476,462 passengers on 288 voyages, although she was somewhat overshadowed by her larger and faster sister ship, the United States, which entered service in 1952. The aging America was acquired by Chandris Lines in November 1964 and renamed Australis. She was sent to the Chandris Lines' own shipyards at Piraeus and refitted for the Australian immigrant trade with single-class fully air-conditioned accommodation for 2258 passengers, before departing Piraeus on 21 August 1965 for her first migrant voyage to Australia. At 26,485 tons register and 723 feet in overall length, with a service speed of 22 knots, the Australis was Chandris Lines' largest and fastest ship and became one of the most popular vessels on the route between Europe and Australia. In all, the Australis made 62 voyages between Europe and Australia (the most of any Chandris Lines ship) and will forever hold a place in history as the last ship to carry assisted immigrants to Australia on her final voyage that departed Southampton for Sydney on 18 November 1977.

In 1970 Chandris Lines secured the government contract to transport British migrants to Australia, but over the next few years the number of immigrants carried declined as more and more choose to fly out to Australia. By 1976, the Australis was the only ship maintaining a regular schedule between Britain and Australia and on 18 November 1977, she left Southampton for the final time, carrying among her passengers 650 assisted immigrants - the last to be transported to Australia by any vessel.

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