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ACROSS THE PACIFIC Liners from Australia and New Zealand to North America

285 x 210 mm, 256 pages, 200 b&w photos, 16 colour plates

ISBN 9781877058967, $39.95, Paperback

Peter Plowman

Available: Now

For just over a hundred years there was a regular passenger liner service across the Pacific connecting Australia and New Zealand with the west coast of North America.

This book describes the rather chaotic development of these services into a reliable and successful trade that flourished into the 1970s before the advent of the jumbo-jet led to a rather rapid decline and eventual termination of the trans-Pacific passenger liner.

With his usual meticulous research, Peter Plowman describes the liners that traversed the Pacific and companies that owned and managed them. The main North American ports were San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was the first to instigate regular operations, the route was then taken over by the Oceanic Steamship Company. This in turn became the Matson Line with its famous liners the Mariposa and the Monterey. Some of the liners operated by the Union Steam Ship Company to San Francisco and Vancouver included the Makura, Marama, Tahiti, Niagara, Aorangi and Monowai.

Details of the liners and their fittings are given, their voyages, changes of name and ownership and their eventual fate. The various company mergers and associations are covered (such as that of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand). Some of the liners were requisitioned during the two World Wars. The Niagara was sunk by a mine in the Second World War. This information is supplemented with accounts of crew conditions, union activities and of passenger life on board, in peace and in war. One chapter gives popular novelist Zane Gray’s atmospheric account of a Pacific crossing in 1925.

Illustrated with 32 colour plates and about 200 b&w photographs, diagrams and plans.