Newsletter titled 'Kangaroo' and dated 5 Jan 1951. It was distributed aboard the Hellenic Prince during its 38 day journey from Naples Italy to Melbourne from 3 December 1950 to 11 January 1951. The newsletter includes an address from the ship's master P.C.King expressing his indignation at the behaviour of the passengers and making accusations of mutiny. He refers to a Committee of passengers, evidently formed as a delegation to the Ship Master and to a passenger being held in the ship's prison for assaulting the Escort Officer. The newsletter also includes an illustration parodying the cruelty of the captain which must have been produced by a passenger.

This newsletter was used by Savo and Carla Krohnje who immigrated to Melbourne on this ship from Slovenia. They have few fond memories of the journey, describing the shipboard conditions as appalling and overcrowded (1200 passengers accommodated in 200 bunk rooms). Passengers were required to work during the voyage, undertaking cleaning, cooking, mess room duties, and working in the boiler and machine rooms, with payment received in Woodbine cigarettes. Drinking water ran out before the end of the voyage, although stubbies of drinking water could be purchased from passengers working in the machinery room for US$1.00, and a freezer breakdown saw food perish. Passengers were refused permission to disembark at all the ports and when fresh food was finally brought on board at Fremantle, it went to the crew, not the passengers. Sea sickness was also rife as the ship was rarely level due to a malfunction with the pumps.

These conditions resulted in increasing passenger discontent which culminated in a hunger strike and the ship's master accused passengers of mutiny. A letter of complaint was drafted and signed by all passengers and sent to the International Refugee Organisation. On arrival at Bonegilla, they received news that the ship had been inspected and action was taken against the master and the company.

Physical Description

2 page (3 sided) newsletter from the Hellenic Prince, 5th January 1951. Text is typed and the captain's message has been translated into English, German and another language.


These shipboard newsletters provide an invaluable insight into the day to day activities and running of the ships. They tend to be produced by the crew although there have been examples of passengers being selected to contribute and to provide illustrations. They represent the interest passengers had in the details of the voyage as well as needing entertainment during the long journey.

This newsletter is particularly interesting as it supports the donor's story regarding the shipboard mutiny which occurred during this voyage and the ship master's apparently severely autocratic handling of the matter. Immigrant memories of their journeys are generally positive or just occasionally critical of food quality etc but rarely as negative as the story of the Hellenic Prince. This object and the donor's recollections provide an invaluable 'flipside' to the more common journey experiences.

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