Thursday, 20 August 2015


Examiner (Launceston) Tuesday 17 January, 1911

Blue Anchor Line.

The directors of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, in their annual report, dated September 30, 1910, state that the five steamers of the Blue Anchor Line, aggregating 30 000 tons, which were purchased by them recently, were taken over at their original cost price, subject to an annual depreciation at the rate of 5 percent for every year they had been at work.

At this rate the cost of these ships worked out approximately at 250 000 pounds. in addition to this sum, the company paid Messrs. Lund, the managing owners, the sum of 20 000 pounds for goodwill and compensation for the loss of management commissions, as the work will no be altogether in the hands of the company.

The directors add that the company have for some years been engaged in the Australian trade by purely cargo vessels, but in a more or less irregular was. The purchase of the Blue Anchor interest will consolidate a policy which circumstances have hitherto prevented from being other than of a tentative character, and will enable the company to participate in the emigration business with Australia, which is rapidly developing at the present time.

The report further states that the company can now enter for business, which cannot be conveniently carried on the by the mail line, and that already considerable parties of such passengers have been contracted for with the Agents- General for the Australian states to be carried, more or less, throughout the whole of next year. The directors have written off the 25 000 pounds paid for goodwill on the steamers, so as to leave the capital of the new business at a moderate figure, and they have also appropriated 59 000 pounds out of the profits as extra depreciation in order to strengthen the Company's reserves.

Addressing shareholders, Sir Thomas Sutherland, chairman of the P&O Line, had this to say about the legacy of the Blue Anchor Line:

'...absolutely sure of the stability of the ships we have bought.'

This rather sad footnote, bringing closure to the Blue Anchor Line enterprise, reveals that although the Inquiry came to the conclusion that the Waratah was reasonably stable when she departed Durban, shipowners, their shareholders, the general public, and generations to come, viewed the Waratah as fundamentally unstable.

The P&O Line capitalised on the Lunds' efficient emigrant / cargo model, servicing the route between the UK and Australia, via the South African coast. One shipowner's loss was another's gain.

Sir Thomas Sutherland.

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