Post World War II Migrant Ships: Fairsea

The Fairsea holds an important place in the memory of many immigrants to Australia during the post World War II period. She was the first passenger ship of the famous Sitmar Line and the first non-British ship employed to carry assisted immigrants from Britain to Australia.

The Fairsea was a regular sight in Australian waters and made a total of 81 voyages to and from Australia between 1949 and 1969. In her earlier years, the Fairsea seemed stark and uninviting for some, but after renovations, her later voyages were often remembered with delight and a sense of adventure.

The Fairsea Ocean Liner. 

The Fairsea Ocean Liner
Stimar Lines postcard. Source: private collection of Barbara Healley.

Facts at a Glance

Dimensions: 492 x 69 ft (150 x 21.1 m)
Registered Tonnage: 11,833 tons gross (13,432 tons after 1958)
Service Speed: 16 knots
Propulsion: Doxford geared diesels / single screw
Shipping Line: Sitmar Line

History of the Ship

Originally named Rio de la Plata, the immigrant ship Fairsea was built for the American shipping company Moore-McCormick Line for their passenger and cargo service between New York and the east coast of South America.

However, she never served on this intended route, for upon her launch in 1941 (amidst World War II), she was converted into an escort aircraft carrier and commissioned into the Royal Navy as the HMS Charger. Soon after, she returned to American hands and served for four years in the pacific as USS Charger.

After a brief post war period as a troop carrier, the Fairsea was rebuilt for migrant service in 1949, providing very basic accommodation for 1,800 passengers with the intention of transporting displaced people and refugees from Europe to Australia. She laid in wait for a short time while a contract was obtained from the International Refugee Organisation (IRO), before beginning her life as an immigrant ship.

Children charge eagerly up the gangway of the Fairsea, Bremerhaven, Germany

Children charge eagerly up the gangway of the Fairsea, Bremerhaven, Germany, 1956.
Photographer: unknown. Source: Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

Immigrant Ship to Australia

The Fairsea made several journeys to Australia under the IRO from 1949 to 1951, carrying displaced persons affected by World War II. She departed Naples, Italy for her maiden immigrant voyage to Australia on 11 May 1949, reaching Melbourne on 9 June. She regularly travelled to Australia from Italy carrying refugees and displaced people, but always returned empty due to the restrictions of the IRO contract.

At sea: Ondina De Marchi with her husband and daughter, all from Trieste, on board the Farisea on its voyage to Australia in July 1955.
Photographer: unknown. Source: The Italian Historical Society Co.As.It.

In 1952, when the IRO contract ended, Sitmar took advantage of the lucrative Australian trade and began to offer paid passage to Australia on the Fairsea. She made a number of these trips over the next few years, except for a brief period in 1953, when she was transferred to the Quebec route.

In 1955, the Fairsea was chartered by the Australian Government to transport assisted immigrants from Britain, which she continued to do until an extensive refit in late 1957. The new configuration provided modernised accommodation including air conditioning throughout, an additional deck and new public rooms, considerably changing her external appearance and internal accommodation. The Australian Government charter was renewed and she continued operating as an immigrant ship, also making voyages to New Zealand.

Passenger Experiences of the Journey

Before the 1957 refit, the minimal conditions of the Fairsea were not lost on her passengers – many immigrants remember the large open dormitories and stark surrounds.

Frank Kriesl migrated from Hungary in 1951:

The Fairsea was huge, a converted troop ship with no cabins, just huge big open spaces with triple decked bunks, so cramped you couldn’t sit up straight in them. Men were assigned to one section, women to the other. The toilet and shower facilities were one huge long one … and everywhere you went there was an awful reek of ‘White King’. People threw up because of the smell not just the swell!

Different voyages created a variety of different experiences. For some passengers, the journey on the Fairsea was an adventure.

Doreen Hakowski (formerly Sillett) migrated from England in 1956:

The Fairsea – our home for 5 weeks, was the best part of my early life. I had been born in an air-raid shelter in London, so only knew destruction around me. My trip was very exciting. We had lovely meals, dances, entertainment, deck games, swimming and many other pastimes. We stopped off in Aden and rode a camel through the streets. I can't even remember feeling sad at leaving my home country, England.

Her Final Voyage

In 1969 while west of Panama, a fire broke out on the Fairsea, completely damaging the engine room. The decision was made that it was not economical to repair a ship that was already 28 years old and so on 9 July 1969, the Fairsea left Balboa bound for the shipbreakers at La Spezia, Italy.

Further Reading

Baty, S. 1984. Ships That Passed – The Glorious Era of Travel to Australia and New Zealand. Reed Books Pty Ltd. Frenchs Forest.

Plowman, P. 1992. Emigrant Ships to Luxury Liners. New South Wales University Press. Kensington.

Stodden, K. 2003 (October). Appendix A – Tally of Voyages. Prepared for the Ship Reunion Lecture. Immigration Museum, Melbourne.

Comments (392)

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Michael A. Zapletal 1 April, 2009 06:58
I shipped back to Europe in April 1960 on Fairsea when I was 6.
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Tamara Schreiber ( Lorenz) 5 April, 2009 14:08
I sailed out on the Fair Sea in 1955 i was 5 yrs old to Australia and sailed back to our home country Austria in 1965 was a great voyage back
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Margrit Cleall 23 April, 2009 12:31
My mother, Paula Holona, then 21, sailed on the Fairsea from Bremerhaven on 3rd December, 1952 and arrived in Sydney on 8 January, 1954. She remembers singing Christmas songs to all the little children that she taught songs to. She had a wonderful time on board.I have photos and postcards of her journey listing ports of call. Contact me if you want more info. Thanks
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hans van dyk 5 January, 2013 15:59
Hi Margrit, I came out to Australia on that very voyage. I have obtained a diary of another Dutch family who were also on board, would love to see if we could exchange some info.
Discovery Centre 23 April, 2009 14:26
Margrit, you would be very welcome to share this migration story with the museum by contributing to the "Share a Story" database. This can be done on computers at the Immigration Discovery Centre located on the Immigration Museum's ground floor.
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Zenon Pilsyk 25 April, 2009 05:54
I arrived in Melbourne on Fairsea from Italy on 9 or 8 June 1949
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Helga Nikolic 22 August, 2012 23:50
I was also on the Fairsea, boarding in Naples in 1949
Amy 28 April, 2009 21:12
My grandmother arrived on the Fairsea in OCtober 1952 from the Netherlands. It carried all eighteen members of her family to Melbourne.
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lilian haverhoek 15 August, 2012 14:22
i arrived in melbourne in 1952 in july with my parents and3 brothers at the age ofnearly nine.
Mary Acton 7 May, 2009 00:58
My dad arrived in Australia on the Fairsea in 1951. His name is Rafael Pertovt and he was born in Slovenia/Yugoslavia. I have tried to find his name on passenger lists but have had not luck. I would appreciate any help. He has a reserved a name place on the History Handrail of the Immigration Bridge which will be completed in 2013. I am also trying to find the passenger list for my uncle, Joseph Pertovt who arrived in Australia on the Cyrenia in 1956.
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Lynda Kelly (nee Upton) 7 May, 2009 08:57
I was 9 years old when I travelled with my mum and dad on the Fairsea from Southampton to Melbourne in 1961. We then travelled overnight by train to Adelaide where we lived for the next 6 years. We returned to England in 1967 on S.S. Iberia.
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Discovery Centre 7 May, 2009 12:07
The National Archives of Australia is the central repository for Australian Commonwealth Government records and holds information on naturalisation, military service and immigration. The National Archives website features online indexes to records in their collection, and can be searched by name, year and/or ship's name.
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loretta malcolm 4 January, 2014 23:11
do you have any other suggests other than the national archives website. i'm trying to find the name of the ship that my husband arrived in 1966/1968 from scotland via the suez canal to sydney.
Terry Brown 29 May, 2009 03:15
As a 14 year old I travelled from Southampton to Sydney February 5th 1960 to 11 March 1960
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Sophie Smith 31 May, 2009 17:59
To Mary Acton, My Grandomther was also on the Fairsea in 1951 and I found her name on the National Immigration archives Here is the link bellow: http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/ResearcherScreen.asp just type in the name, Good Luck!
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Michael Burgess 10 June, 2009 16:22
I was surprised to read that the Fairsea underwent a refit from October, 1957 to April, 1958, My parents, together with myself and four siblings travelled from Southampton, England to Sydney, Australia, on the Fairsea. We departed Southampton on Saturday, 7 December, 1957 and arrived in Sydney on Sunday, 12 January, 1958. I have a copy of the travel documents which were given to my father for the voyage. In addition, I have a copy of the first two pages of the ship's passenger list for that voyage, which were obtained in connection with the research I am doing for my family history. It would appear, therefore, that a mistake has been made relative to the dates for the refit. I am able to provide copies of the documents mentioned if desired. Regards, Mike Burgess
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Sue Grant 8 May, 2014 22:28
Is Barbara Jean Ainsworth listed on the ship I would love to know
Peter 11 June, 2009 18:02
We came to Aust on the Fairsea in 1958 leaving Southampton on 8 August 1958 and arriving in September. We came through the Suez and stopped at Aden. Incidentally the Gibb Brothers (Bee Gees) were alos on the ship. We were lucky as a family and were allocated to Cabin F (on the Captain's Deck) which was pure luxury compared to the lower decks.
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Caroline Hall 4 November, 2012 02:56
Hi Peter: This is an extremely important question as there has been considerable controversy over when the Fairsea had her major refit. When you were on board - did it have a swimming pool? Please respond to my email at hamburgismyhome2@yahoo.ca Thank you very, very much, caroline
Victoria Nasao 4 November, 2013 20:40
I was on the same ship as the Bee Gees...my name then was Vicki Wade...I was 10 and my sister Sally was 11. I remember French girls that did not speak English cannot remember the cabin but I remember the bad storm we had, a monsoon I think where everyone was a bit nervous....I remember the BG's playing their guitars and playing at the concert!!!!!
Denise Keen.. nee Dorey 24 September, 2014 14:25
Hi Peter I was also on the same ship I have a photo of myself with the bee gees I was Maurice's girlfriend and I was 8 years old at the time ( started Young ha ha)
Discovery Centre 14 June, 2009 14:58

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comment - there certainly seems to be some discrepancy here. Please feel free to attach scanned copies of your documents to the following enquiry form, or alternatively, you can bring them in person to the Immigration Discovery Centre at the Immigration Museum so that we may resolve this discrepancy.

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Norma Kershaw 18 June, 2009 22:36
I had my eighteenth birthday on board the Fairsea. I arrived to Australia on the 24th May 1960.Although I had an asthma attack every morning until a lovely yung women shared some of her medicine until my mother could buy some at Boot's chemist in Aden, I enjoyed the rest of the tripvery much. It was all very exciting.
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Paul Trangmar 20 June, 2009 16:43
Further to comments above from Michael Burgess re: the likely discrepancy of dates (in text above)stating that FAIRSEA was in extended refit from October 1957 to April 1958: Although these dates also show on another internet site refering to FAIRSEA, it is possible that they actually apply to the final stage of a major conversion made to SITMAR fleetmate FAIRSKY, which completed in May 1958. My research appears to show that FAIRSEA arrived in Sydney from Southampton (a 5-6 week voyage)on 26 October 1957 also on 12 January 1958 (as per Mr Burgess's comments) and again c. 1 April 1958. FAIRSEA's major refit of the 1950s took place in Italy from 1 April to 30 June 1955 at the Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico shipyard, Monfalcone. The vessel emerged with vastly improved accommodation, facilities and external appearance, much of which would be retained for the rest of FAIRSEA's career.
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caroline hall 2 November, 2012 19:27
Dear Paul: I am greatly interested in what you said. I am writing a book about my father on this ship. I need to verify where you received that information. Peter Plowman is an expert and has written many books and is wrong on this point. Could you please give me a credible source for this information. I can't tell you how very much I would appreciate it. Thank you, Paul
Maureen Walsh nee O'Hara 7 August, 2013 22:04
I write as I left Southampton in Dec 1955 with my family bound for Melbourne via the Suez Canal arriving in Melbourne 10th January 1956. The ship had a pool and had undergone a refit and was apparently on a maiden voyage after the refit. I celebrated my 8th Birthday in the voyage with an Italian crew who were wonderful to all the children on board. Accommodation was with men and older boys in dormitory style, with wives and daughters sharing cabins on upper decks. It was a great time with Christmas, New Year and equator crossings celebrated by all. I hope this might clarify when this refit took place.
peter terhorst 26 June, 2009 14:15
I and my family arrived in Sydney Jan 1953. On board was the family Groenewegen, I was nine at the time. Rietje's family went on to Brisbane and mine left in Sydney I would like to trace my friend Rietje. Groenewegen. Anyone knowing her whereabouts or any other information please contact me on peterefth@westnet.com.au. thanks
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Myke 10 July, 2009 00:29
Greetings, re MV Fairsea. We arrived in Fremantle from Southampton on the 28th March 1958. The ship had recently been refitted. I would say that a mistake has been made with the dates...
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John Schindler 20 July, 2009 20:24
I boarded the Fairsea in Sydney in 1965 as a 19 year old wanting to travel the World by myself. I got off in Naples. I remember when the ship hit the wharf in Singapore when we were lined up to get our visas. I still remember some of the wonderful tunes played by the Italian band eg: Non ho Leta Fond memories of travelling in a bye gone ago. It's all 747's now. Greetings to all those who still remember the "magic" John from Brisbane.
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Eveley Dryden [nee Brooks 25 July, 2009 17:43
I was 14 1/2 .I sailed with my parents & two brothers ,we set off from Southhampton on the Fairsea on July 22nd & arrived in Adelaide on August 22nd 1961.I really enjoyed the journey but my poor mum was ill every day from the smell of food & the swell of the sea.
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dorothea williams 25 January, 2013 13:32
i also shared the same voyage to australia i note that the schedule in the victoria museum for this voyage has the wrong dates for departure from southhampton 22nd july and arrival in adelaide 22nd august
Rod Harrison 30 July, 2009 16:37
My family travelled on the Fairsea in 1960. According to the National Archives entry we left Plymouth on 20 March 1960. I was only 5 at the time and one of four children.
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Norma Kaershaw 3 July, 2014 19:40
I thik I would have been on the same ship as you. But I;m sure we left from Southampton. I believe the archives are wrong. My sister agrees with me.
Brenda Smith 2 August, 2009 16:20
I emigrated from England to Australia on MV Fairsea in 1961 and have been here ever since! I recall that we missed a monsoon in the Indian Ocean by 1 day, but it was still a very rough crossing and we were all glad when we put our feet on solid ground in Adelaide, our first port of call.
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Annette F 18 August, 2009 19:35
My parents and five children came to Australia from England on the Fairsea arriving in September 1958. I was three but I remember the playroom/toyroom had a huge ships steering wheel...well, huge to a three year old. My mum said it was the best holiday she ever had.
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Trevor Kenny 12 May, 2013 21:00
I was on the same voyage with my parents and older sister,we boarded on my eleventh birthday 5-8-1958 but it was delayed because the were doing repairs to the side of the ship.But after reading departure times on some of the pages here,it seams we departed on the 8th,I might be wrong,but I didn't think we were in drydock for 3 days.
Nadia Impey 23 August, 2009 11:14
This is a message for Mary Acton. I have been searching information on my Uncle - who was also from Yugoslavia. If you try the national records (www.naa.gov.au) and type in the surname, your family members are listed. I hope this helps.
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Tartaglia 25 August, 2009 16:03
Iam do some family history and iam looking for my farthers arriveal Giuseppe Tartaglia departing fron Italy to australia in the 1960's
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Discovery Centre 26 August, 2009 12:12

The best place to start researching an ancestor's arrival in Australia is the website of the National Archives of Australia, which features a Record Search tool. Good luck!

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George Drew 7 September, 2009 15:33
I arrived with my family late March, 1960 ex Southampton via Fremantle(to Brooklyn Migrant Hostel) near Melbourne. I was 20, and we were on "A" deck, men and women separated. I remember copping the tail end of a typhoon in the Indian Ocean where many passengers were horribly sea sick (I had overcome my early one-off bout by then).I thoroughly enjoyed my Ten Pound ocean cruise!
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Linda Austen 14 September, 2009 13:20
I left Southhampton at the age of 2 on the 4/7/1960(yes I have memoriies of rockin and rollin). My father was Tony Albert Gaydon Austen and my mother Maureen Marjorie Austen. Got caught in the storms and a few died because of it..most people got severly dehydrated with sickness and my Dad and the captain were the only ones to go to the dinning rooms at one stage. I was put in crache which i escaped to top deck and caught before being sweep overboard. Still have the documentation of the trip. Regards Lindy
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Michael Jamieson 4 November, 2013 19:18
I also was on that sailing (14 y.o.). Did you know that the vessel broke down twice in the Indian Ocean. We struck monsoonal weather shortly after leaving Aden and the ship took a hiding almost all the way to Freemantle. Despite that, I have very fond memories of the ship.
Geoff Ford 1 October, 2009 22:24
I have just read the comment from Peter, posted on 11 Jun 2009, and am totally mystified ! Our family of two parents and three young children travelled on that same voyage and we were accommodated in Stateroom "F" which, I agree was sheer luxury compared to what most had --- 4 bunk-beds, a cot, triple-mirrored dressing table, chairs, wardrobes and en-suite toilets and shower gave us a very comfortable environment. We found it difficult to talk to others about their families being split up with fathers separated from mothers and children. I wonder where Peter was? He wasn't in our cabin ! And yes we enjoyed listening to the young Gibbs when he entertained us from the foc'sle, guarded by his father and out friendly big bosun. Our cabin neighbour, a dentist, removed an impacted wisdom tooth from that bosun, using some antibiotic medication that I had.
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Eddie Bond 14 October, 2009 08:03
I sailed from Southampton in November 1955 (18 years old)and arrived in Sydney January 1956. Terrible train trip to Brisbane where I still live. Great memories of the voyage and the ship.
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Maureen Walsh nee OHara 7 August, 2013 22:12
I too was on the Fairsea arriving Melbourne 10th January 1956. Great memories and adventures with Italian crew and lifelong friendships to this day. Must have been such an enormous challenge for our parents but so lucky to have two very different life experiences in Scotland and Australia and all the love and friendships in both countries. The Fairsea was somuch part of whom I am today.
Terry clark 15 February, 2014 14:50
Eddie, I came up on that terrible train trip to brisbane a few years later. I am trying to find out where we stopped for breakfast. It was very early ,freezing cold and high ,possibly kyogle. Can you help me . Thanks .
Pat Miller nee Darling 23 October, 2009 12:03
Itravelled on the fairsea arriving Sydney september 1958 Iwould like to know the exact date of arrival in Sydney I also remember the Gibb brothers being on the ship.
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Rosina Till nee Sinclair 25 October, 2009 05:59
I was on the Fairsea in July 1961 I had my 9th birthday on board and kept a kind of diary which I am now incorporating into a book I'm writing. Over the years a lot of my childish scribbles have disintegrated and I have a lot of blanks to fill in like the timeline between ports of call and the reason for us not being allowed ashore at either port in the suez canal. I would appreciate help here
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Michelle 25 October, 2009 08:04
My great aunt and her family travelled on Fairsea in May 1961 when they moved to Australia. Anyone who has info about them or photos please get in touch. Amelia Bailey, her husband Arthur (he was australian) and their 4 children - Paul, Janet, Rosina and Margaret.
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Discovery Centre 26 October, 2009 13:27

Pat - the best place to confirm the arrival dates of ships to NSW is via the National Archives of Australia who hold the shipping lists for such arrivals. Please contact them.

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Margrit Cleall 2 November, 2009 15:55
As I live in Sydney, can I email you my mother's migration story? - refer Brigitte (Paula) Holona, who came on the Fairsea Jan 8, 1953.
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alvina Palomba 2 November, 2009 19:24
I boarded the Fairsea on New years Day 1967 with my friend Margot to see the world. After Singapore an engine broke down so it took us much longer to reach Europe than scheduled. However nobody on board minded too mush as we were all having a fantastic time. The staff and crew were excellant and at that time we thought the food was terrific! This also was one of the last cruises to go throught the Suez canal before the 6 day war in June closed it off to all ships. We got off in Naples to continue our adventures carrying with us memories of a now bygone era! Just a footnote to this in 1969 I met my husband on board the old Fairsky during another trip - Antonio Palomba - who also was a purser on board the old Faisea for many trips. Does anyone have similar experiences?
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David Carr 19 September, 2012 19:59
I was aged 5 years old when I left Sydney Harbour on the Fairsea it was November 1967 and a real party atmosphere with streamers everywhere? Could you please help me confirm dates and places we stopped. I believe we stopped in Panama, Jamaica, Lisbon and Southampton.I remember spending Christmas on the ship. We passed through some very stormy and treacherous seas as I remember, with all chairs and tables being fastened and secured.
Joost Helbers 4 November, 2009 00:27
My parents and my 2 brothers and sister and myself migrated to Australia on the Fairsea leaving Amsterdam on the 14th of Feb. 1953, arriving in Australia (Fremantle) 23 march 1953. We disembarked in Melbourne 4 days later to be taken to Bona Gilla camp (Wodonga aria) finally setteling in Adelaide South Aust. I was 9 years old.
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Discovery Centre 6 November, 2009 11:16

You can include your family's immigration tales through our Share a Story database. You can email the Immigration Discovery Centre at idc@museum.vic.gov.au and we will send you a form on which you can write your story. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Miranda Robson 18 November, 2009 16:51
I believe my father travelled on the Fairsea sometime between 1955-1958. He was a child immigrant from Britain to Australia. He went to Fairbridge Farm School in Molong. His name was Derek Robson. So I am also trying to find passenger lists so as I can establish the year the year he travelled. So any information on how to find this would be appreciated.
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Discovery Centre 19 November, 2009 11:21

The National Archives of Australia is the central repository for all Australian Commonwealth Government records and holds information on naturalisation, military service and immigration. The National Archives website features online indexes to records in their collection, and can be searched by name, year and/or ship's name.

 

 

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martin 20 November, 2009 20:56
My mother Nel travelled from rotterdam to Ausralia in 1952 with her family of her mother, father brother and sister. She is now in her 80s and remembers the trip very well. her maiden name was vander el. its a long shot but does anyone remember them?
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Helen 24 March, 2013 18:02
Hi Martin, my parents and two brothers also traveled from Rotterdam on the Fairsea. According to my Dad(now passed away)they departed on June17th 1952. He has written a short story about migrating to Australia. It may be of interest to your mother Nel.
john caruana 24 November, 2009 23:00
Passenger list on SS Cyrenia arrived in Melbourne Apr 1949.
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Discovery Centre 26 November, 2009 11:17

Hi John - see earlier responses from the Discovery Centre for advice about searching for passenger lists via the website of the National Archives of Australia. Cheers!

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Robert D J Bakker 30 November, 2009 19:28
Dad, Bertus Johannes Bakker,mum Gerardina Catherina Bakker nee Oort and I, Robert Dirk Johannes Bakker arrived here on the Fairsea March 15 1953. I have a copy of a small part of the passenger list where I was Listed as "and son".After Bonegilla Hostel and Norlane Hostel,we settled in Geelong. I still am friends with three other passengers from that trip, named Kevelham and Nieuwenhof and Hay. A fiftieth anniversary lunch was held in Geelong where 8 passengers turned up from that trip to swap stories.
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Joost Helbers 29 December, 2012 14:14
Hi Robert, I too arrived on the Fairsea but I think you have your dates wrong. We left Amsterdam Saturday 14/2/1953 and arrived in Fremantle on the 23rd of March 1953 (I think) I would have to look at my naturalization papers which I can't find at the moment. I remember having an argument with my brother Robert about when we arrived, he told me that Australia regarded our arrival in Australia to be the date of our first port of entree, which was Fremantle. We than arrived in Melbourne 4 days later. My father and my eldest brother went to Adelaide S/A after 4 weeks ending up in Finsbury Hostel. My mother and the rest of us than followed 2 weeks later ending up in an army camp called Woodside in the Adelaide hills about 50 kilometres from Adelaide. we were seperated for about 10 weeks in total.
Hans Balfoort 20 June, 2013 22:24
My familly also arrived on the firsea on the 15th march(Fremantle) and then in Melbourne on thr 18th march 1953
maria murphy 8 December, 2009 12:22
my mother,brother and i,travelled on the fairsea in 1960, from australia to england ,my dad died in tasmania in 1958, we now live in ireland.
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Jessie Marson (Toma) 8 December, 2009 22:45
My grandparents Michal and Amelia Toma, along with my two aunties Krystina and Irene departed Bremerhaven, Germany on the 18th of April 1950 and arrived at Station Pier, Port Melbourne Australia on the 23rd of May. They then went to Bonegilla from this time until the 29th of September. After this they resided in Mildura Migrants Camp. Both of my grandparents are now deceased however if anybody knew them or has any information to share I would really like to hear about it!
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marilyn hawkins 19 December, 2009 19:23
I arrived in Sydney September 1958 on the Fair Sea. I remember falling down the stairs going through the Suez canal, (every one was told to stay in their cabins because of the big seas) but I cracked my head on a bolt on a deck chair. Waking up to a ship doctor stitching my head.I still have the 2 inch scar to day. I also remember the dinner plates sliding of the tables, every one being sick as we were on lower deck below water line and the boat people climbing the side of the boat in Aden to sell us their wares and our mother and father terrified we would be stolen. They locked us in our cabins. I also remember the ships porter who remembered my birthday and gave me a present that he bought in Aden.Fantastic child hood memories that are part of me.
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Trevor Kenny 12 May, 2013 02:50
Marilyn I remember all of what you said about the rough seas and Aden,Portsaid and going through the Suez.I got on the boat on my 11`th birthday,5-8-1958,with my sister 15 and my parents,we were late leaving because the were fixing damage to the side of the ship.My parents were friends with the Gibb family.I was friends with their son Barry we self taught ourselves to swim by using the rails that went around the inside of the pool,we were in there most days sometimes with his twin brothers,we got off at Fremantle,the carried on to Brisbane,our mothers kept in touch for a time by letter.Of course Barry and his brothers went on to be the Bee Gees and even though they had a number 1 hit in Australia with Spics and Specs in 1963 or 4 and I was a fan,I didn't realise it was them until the came back to England later and became famous.T.V. didn't appear in Perth until 1960,and people used to stand in front of electrical shops and watch Test Patterns etc.I can remember doing the same and watching Crusader Rabbit.It was some time before we could afford one,and even then it was just ABC 2 and Channel 7,just 3 hours or so at night.Bonanza,Wagon Train and 77 Sunset Strip,they were the highlights.I agree,great memories.
Ronald Wilson 24 December, 2009 13:43
I traveled on the Fairsea from SouthHampton to Melbourne, Australia in 1958 when I was 8 years old with my Parents two older Brothers.
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Vanessa 2 January, 2010 09:14
My mum her husband and 2 young sons came back to England from Australia on the Fairsea (Southampton), docked on 3rd December 1960. I was named after the V on the funnel :)..yep i was conceived on board :). An Italian crew member being over attentive..and the reason my Mum and her husband got a divorce...So the Fairsea has played a huge part in my life :)
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Lucille 5 January, 2010 03:10
I travelled to Australia on the Fairsea in 1963 with my parents and four sisters. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who made that voyage (we arrived in Melbourne in July 1963). Particularly anyone who had negative experiences.
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Janet Gill 13 April, 2014 12:01
Lucille I feel you must have your dates wrong as we left Southampton in July 1963 on the Fairsea and arrived in Melbourne in September. My brother Paul had his 10th birthday on the ship in August.
ian Stansfield 14 January, 2010 02:21
i came back to the Uk in 1967 aboard the fair sea with my mum and dad and 7 brothers and sisters. We arrived back in the Uk sept 1967. I was 7 on the ship with my twin sister. i can remember the film nights eating two breakfasts the life boats the swimming pool the warm weather and doing a fancey dress night and the laeving presents. oh happy days. Any body who was on the ship comming back could emails me ian
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molly trivers 20 January, 2010 16:45
My husband Eddie and I joined to Fairsea at Southhampton Nov 67 and arrived in Sydney Jan 68. We have been back to the UK several times since, but this is home now.
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Steve Ryan 21 January, 2010 12:28
I arrived with my family (father, mother & 1 sister) from Southhampton, UK in January 1966. Arriving in Perth and then heading across to Melbourne. After 23 years I'm now researching a little history about our journey.
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Stephen Ives 22 November, 2013 07:06
Hi Steve, I was on the Fairsea which departed Southampton at the beginning of January 1966, I was 8 years old at the time and was travelling with my Dad, Mum and four younger sisters. You must have been on the same voyage, how old were you?
Maxine Wright 9 April, 2014 23:54
I also was on the Fairsea with my parents and 2 sisters and two brothers i was only 6 year old
Alwin Tamosius 3 February, 2010 01:03
I travelled on the Fairsea with my parents from Melbourne to Naples in May 1958. I was seven years old and still remember the four week journey as one of the most significant events in my life. My parents, originally from Eastern Europe, were returning (to Germany, and eventually to the U.S.) immigrants who failed to settle in Australia. My memories of the ship were of great fun and adventure, a magical place for a child. By today's standards the accomodation in tourist class was quite modest, but the food and service was exceptional. The Italian crew were fantastic as was the mediteranean cuisine - there was a different menu every day of the voyage. I also remember seeing flying fish off the Cosos islands, the exotic harbour in Colombo, with that city's contrast in post colonial affluence and abject poverty; visiting the bazaar in Aden and going through the Suez Canal. I believe we were one of the first civilian ships allowed through the Canal following the war. We passed closely to numerous partially sunken vessels. I remember the banks of the Canal lined with local men, mooning the ship! An officer on the bridge had to shout to them that the ship was Italian, not British! This is a great site and I thoroughly enjoy reading about the experiences of the many people who were lucky enough to travel on this wonderful ship. I am saddened to learn about the manner of it's ultimate demise in 1969.
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Jim Allison 20 April, 2014 17:09
Greetings Alwin, I have only just found this site so the comment is a little out of date! I originated in Glasgow and my parents, myself and a younger sister left Southhampton on the Farsea and disembarked in Sydney bound for Brisbane and I think we had been at Freemantle on 28/03/58. I was only 3 1/2 at the time so my memories are nor as clear as yours although I did apparently have a bad hanit of throwing my toys into the ship's wake and trying to get into the pool unsupervised! If anyone has any other information on the Fairsea voyage to Australia immediately before the Bee Gees please let me know. Thanks Jim
Roger Brown 14 February, 2010 15:52
I came out to Australia in the early part of November on the Fairsea,one trip I will never forget or my 11th Birthday on Board somewhere near Alexandria,my Mother loved the trip as she was Italian which made things easier.
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Paul Trangmar 16 February, 2010 01:21
Further to Pat Miller (nee Darling)'s request of 23/10/2009 (page 4): The following link at National Archives Australia suggests that MV Fairsea arrived at Sydney on 11 September 1958 http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/Items_listing.asp?S=22&F=1&O=0&T=I&C=20
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Valerie Swanson (nee Ward) 17 February, 2010 19:46
I arrived in Aus on 24th May 1960 leaving Uk on 20th April and had my 15th birthday on board. Mum,Dad,my three sisters and a brother all enjoyed the trip which was a great adventure. We came to Brisbane via Fremantle,Melbourne,Woolloomooloo and stayed about 6 months at Colmslie migrant hostel in Brisbane where you could walk down to a beach on the Brisbane River and fish off the pier. Used to catch the workers bus with Eric a German migrant who occupied a room down from us and his German friend who used to play the clarinet down on the pier while we fished..what memories. Great then and things only got better. Sorry Rod Harrison but you must have your dates wrong, you couldn't leave uk on 20th March.....it must have been April....you were probably on the same ship run as us.
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Rob Musgrove 18 February, 2010 16:05
My parents Bernard & Joan (Now deceased) brothers Jack, Colin & Crispin plus my grandmother Alice (Deceased) came to Australia on the Fairsea arriving 31 August 1956. We have home movies of the whole trip including the crossing of the equator celebrations. My dad produced and performed in the ships concert. 2 of my brothers Jack & Colin and myself won the ships talent quest singing Cool Water and also performed in the concert. Someone out there might remember. So many memories from that trip.
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peter bowers 13 September, 2012 13:04
we arrived in sydney 4th Sept 1956. must have been same trip. I would appreciate any copies of photos and memoribilia. I have written a book and would like to include these with my story.I was 14 when we left england. hope to hear from you soon. cheers. Peter.
Katherine Szymanski (nee Meyer) 25 July, 2014 08:57
Rob, My Father was on that voyage I believe, with his parents and three sisters. Any chance of a copy of the film? We are celebrating 60 years in Australia this August, and this would be a lovely surprise for the surviving family members. Katherine
Czesia Piccinin (nee Kocz) 21 February, 2010 14:28
My parents and my two siblings arrived in Port Melbourne from Bremen in Germany on the Fairsea in August 1950. My mother tol me they had a party for me to celebrate my first birthday on 19 July 1950. from Port Melbourne we were taken to Bonegilla in Victoria.
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francois egregyi 26 June, 2014 09:13
I was on that same boat (I was 4 at the time but I remember going through the Suez canal and the Indian ocean)! Would it be possible for you to tell me when the boat left Bremen, what were the ports of call, and when it arrived in Melbourne? I would really be gratefull because my parents (both dead) never told me that.
Samantha Field ne Doris Durbin 28 February, 2010 17:04
I travelled to Australia on the Fairseain 1963, arived in September. I was with a group of Barnados Children immigrating to Australia from the UK.
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Danny Brown 2 March, 2010 16:44
I am a Boy Scout leader, and while I was researching my family's scouting history I came across something interesting. My uncle told me that he sailed on the Fairsea in 1957. He was going to the World Jamboree in Birmingham, England. He left from Montreal, Canada and sailed to Plymouth, England. I recently got some old files from my Aunt that had to do with our scouting history and inside was a map of all the cabins on the Fairsea from that trip my Uncle went on.
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Rik Dillon 3 March, 2010 14:26
I emigrated in 1959 when I was 6 aboard the Fairsea. We left Southampton (I think) and docket in Sydney in October. I would like to know the exact dates. Can you help? My parents names are Norbert & Ethel Dillon and my brothers are John & Michael. Rik Dillon
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Elizabeth Roberts 6 July, 2014 08:59
Rik by now you may your answers but I was on the same voyage and my youngest brother George Nicol was also 6 years old so you may have played together. We did leave from Southhampton and arrived on the 10.10.59 that may have been Fremantle. But it could also be the date we arrived in Sydney. I scanned most of the messages and yours was the first from this voyage. I was 19 and sick for the first 2 weeks, however my Mother thought it was the best holiday she ever had. I have lots of good stories regarding that trip. Now my Grandchildren are asking me questions about where I came from for school project. I also have another brother who was 16. I would love to find the passenger list for this voyage but do not seem to be able to locate it.
Discovery Centre 3 March, 2010 16:42

Hi Rik - the best place to confirm the departure and arrival dates of your migration journey is via the National Archives of Australia (NAA). The NAA hold the passenger and shipping lists for migrant arrivals to Australia. You can search for records online via the NAA’s RecordSearch. For additional information you can contact the NAA directly.  

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Allen Jenkins 8 March, 2010 17:29
I arrived in Melbourne with my parents and younger sister on the Fairsea on 20th May 1960. It must have been the same voyage as Valerie Swanson. I didn't take much notice of the departure date, but I recall the journey took about 5 weeks. We were segregated into male/female, sharing cabins with 8 or 10 bunks each. No family cabins for us assisted Migrants. After a couple of weeks at the migrant reception centre behind the Exhibition Buildings, we were sent to Brooklyn and then Holmesgelen Hostels. We spent the next 18 months or so in half a Nissen hut, before moving to Tasmania and finaly back to Victoria. I loved it here from the start and never wanted to go back. Nor did my parents, once they got over the shock of living in a tin hut instead of the nice timber cottages we were shown in the promotional films. I quite liked the hostel lifestyle (I was 12 at the time). All meals were taken in the canteen, usually over a spread of hours for each meal. The food was nourishing, if a bit boring. There were plenty of friends to play with and good recreational facilities. There was also the luxury of three (2,7,9) TV channels, instead of only BBC - our TV didn't have ITV. Anyhow, my interest was was aroused by the fact that our 50th anniversary in this country is coming up on 20th May and it's interesting to read or hear from others from the same voyage.
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Bill Morris 9 March, 2010 17:41
My family left Scotland in April 1960 and arrived in Melbourne on a wet night on 21 May 1960. I was five years old. I remember the journey vividly, including Port Said, the Suez Canal and Aden. In the middle of the Indian Ocean, we passed the Fairsky on its return journey to UK with dissatisfied immigrants. Some called out to us "You'll be sorry". But we weren't!
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Dianne Ohlmus (nee Cottle) 15 March, 2010 16:19
Fairsea and other ship records can be found here http://www.findmypast.co.uk/passengerListPersonSearchStart.action I found my name on the Fairsea October 1956 Southhampton to Sydney Australia
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Renate vin Fahland 20 March, 2010 17:39
Nobody seems to know abot the unlucky migrantship "Skaubryn" ,left for Australia March 1958 Bremerhafen,got burned out in the indian ocean,south of Sarcota, 31.3.1958. I was on board with my late husband and little daughter. We all got safed. I wonder if that event is somewhere marked as history,? Renate
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Renate Zacharias 17 April, 2014 04:28
I was just on-line to check for the freighter/turned migrant ship called 'Scowbreen' by my deceased father. Skaubryn was shown and gave history of sailings, refittings and later burnt-out in 1997, and scrapped in '98.
Renate Zacharias 17 April, 2014 04:30
I was just on-line to check for the freighter/turned migrant ship called 'Scowbreen' by my deceased father. Skaubryn was shown and gave history of sailings, refittings and later burnt-out in 1997, and scrapped in '98. p.s. there were two (2) skaubryn's!
Discovery Centre 23 March, 2010 11:56

Renate, this event is briefly recounted by Peter Plowman in his informative book Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977, which includes an article about the Skaubryn. What a dramatic experience, for you and your family!

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Julian Beer 28 March, 2010 08:47
I sailed from Auckland in the Fairsea on 13th January 1962 to see the world, with two mates from Opunake, Taranaki, New Zealand. We sailed north of Australia. First stop was Singapore, then Colombo, Aden, Suez Genoa,and finally Southampton.. 6 weeks journey, ticket cost 85 NZ pounds($160 in today's money), the cheapest you could buy on that sailing. Wonderful memories.
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Roswitha Pohl (nee Schenk) 28 March, 2010 09:21
We travelled on the Fairsea on Jun 24, 1953 and arrived in Quebec City on July 3, 1953. It seems that all the other trips on this ship were to Australia....does anyone know why it travelled to Quebec on that voyage?
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caroline hall 2 November, 2012 10:29
Hi Roswitha: Pls reply to my email. I am still trying to figure Fairsea out. I have a partial shiplist from the ICEM for Baptist World Organization who sponsored many refugees & ethnic Germans that were displaced. Your name is not on it, but the records show 1/2 passengers arrived on Thurs. July 2 at Montreal. The other 1/2 arrived at Quebec on Friday, July 3. http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000000223.pdf I am desperately trying to figure out the reason for this. Do you remember your family being quarantined or delayed 1 day for any reason? Do you still have landed immigrant stub to show you arrived at Quebec Port of Call? Thank you so very much. I really appreciate your help. God bless you!
caroline hall 2 November, 2012 11:09
Sorry Roswitha: I have just one more extremely important question. Did you see a lot of icebergs or just a few? I can't tell you how much it means to me. I think my father was on your ship. His name was Klaus Hans Wolter. Thank you so much.
Ernst lange 28 August, 2014 03:41
Hi , I arrived in Quebec and then in Montreal , on June the third , it was Quean Elizabeth's Coronation about that time. have you any pics of the decks and the super structure ? I build model ships as a hobby .was there a spare propeller on the fantail of the ship , sure would like from you ,Best regards EFL.
Discovery Centre 29 March, 2010 13:26

Hi there, Roswitha. The Fairsea actually made six round trips between Bremerhaven and Quebec, from 1953, before being returned to the Europe-Australia run. On these Quebec trips the vessel offered accomodation for 40 first class and 1400 tourist class passengers. Perhaps there was a temporary surge of demand on transatlantic routes, during this period?

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Rod Martin 13 April, 2010 09:38
I have just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary (11 April) of my arrival at Station Pier, Port Melbourne. I revisited the pier on that day to reminisce. I arrived on the Fairsky, along with my parents and sister. They have all gone now, so there was a tinge of sadness as I stood there, remembering one of the most exciting times of my life. We docked at around 9 am on a sunny morning in 1960 after a trouble-free voyage (apart from the inevitable bouts of sea sickness!)via Port Said and Aden. I was thirteen at the time, so I remember the whole episode vividly. Accommodation was better on the Fairsky. We were in sex-segregated four-berth cabins. Unlike Allen, we had a home to go to in the town of Myrtleford. What a culture change, though! To move from the east end of London to a small country town. I naturally became the 'Pommy bastard' at school. I loved the difference, however - even though there was NO tv, and even though we had to put up with a 'dunny' in the back yard for the first couple of years. My mother was always harping on about going 'back home' until she revisited the UK in the seventies. We never heard any more about 'home' after that! For my part, I spent five happy years, going to a small country school, roaming the bush with the dogs, picking tobacco in the summers, swimming in the local river, following the town's football team across north-eastern Victoria, and chasing girls across the same territory! Vive la difference!
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joanne boyle 24 April, 2010 22:48
I am currently doing a album on my husbands history. I am seeking any pictures anyone might have of the Fairsea around 1960. He come to australia through the assisted migration scheme, departed plymouth 20th April 1960.
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Kathleen Quirk 25 February, 2013 14:31
My grandfather-in-law travelled on the Fairsea from Brisbane in 1960 but I'm looking to find out the exact date probably around June I have some photos taken on the day he left and can email them if you send me an address
Ron Campbell 5 June, 2013 02:53
I was on the Fairsee on that date. We eventually returned to the UK.
Julian Beer 25 April, 2010 13:52
My comment 28th March re ports of call. Remove Genoa, replace with Naples. Sorry. Had a huge storm in the Mediterranean Sea,almost no-one on deck,on my 20th birthday! I believe even the ship's captain was seasick. Our first mail drop was at Thursday Island, off North Australia, about 3am. We had actually booked to travel on the Castel Felice, but it was withdrawn near the end of 1961 for refurbishment, & we were instead allocated cabins on the Fairsea. We were moved from D deck to B deck without extra charge, with only the 3 of us in a 4 berth cabin. One news sheet distributed during our journey advised that Peter Snell had just broken the world mile record at Cooks Garden, Wanganui.
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Helma Miller 26 April, 2010 14:07
We left Bremerhaven in May 1956 to immigrate to Australia on the Fair Sea. I was just 6yrs old but remember Naples and going through the Suez canal and Port Said. We arived in Melbourne in early June of 1956. The Fair Sea will always have a special place in my life as it brought us to this great country.
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Manuela Rechsteiner nee kalkbrenner 20 April, 2014 01:32
Hi Helma. I am thrilled to have found your comment re the Fairsea. I was on the Fairsea as a baby on the same trip as you. Both my parents are deceased and I do so wish I had asked them more about the trip.do you still live in Melbourne?
Rowen Faulkner 26 April, 2010 19:56
Looking for my grandfather, he came over on the fairsea in 1959, all i have to go on is his name is william ahern,
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Discovery Centre 28 April, 2010 10:55

Hi there Joanne - A really great place to search for images online is Picture Australia, an online image database through which you can search the image collections of many of Australia's main archives and cultural institutions.

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detlef helmut kaehler 9 May, 2010 18:07
hi i am trying to find passenger list for 1957 approx may my mother and i were on this ship fairsea on our way to australia can you help pls regards Detlef
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Dianne (Cottle) Ohlmus 26 May, 2014 12:46
Hi Detlef try this site... Findmypast.co.uk
Discovery Centre 10 May, 2010 12:08

Detlef, see above for comments from the Discovery Centre giving advice about finding passenger lists and other immigration documents via the website of the National Archives of Australia. Hope this helps!

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john hayes 13 May, 2010 16:16
arrived in melbourne november 6 1967 as a £10 pom from england on board the Fairsea, Came via Cape Town as the Suez was closed
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Lisa Rake 13 November, 2013 16:19
I was most probably on the same ship as my family left Southhampton on 4th Oct 1967 and arrived early November in Adelaide. I was only 21 months old. I don't remember it. If you have any photos, you could email them to me. cheers, Lisa
Alison Parris 17 May, 2010 20:35
My father Ken Gyles sailed on the Fairsea. He departed Southampton on 05/12/1955 and arrived in Melbourne 10/01/1956. He settled in Williamstown and worked as a clerk for the railways in the Newport workshops. He worked hard and became a Chartered Accountant and later built his own home at Glen Waverley. We all returned to England in 1972 aboard the SS Ellinis thanks to a work offer he couldn't refuse. My sister & I have since returned to live in Australia, and funnily enough I live 10 minutes away from a family who also sailed on the exact same MV Fairsea voyage as my father! What a small world we truly live in.
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JESSIE BLUNDELL 11 August, 2014 16:44
Hullo Alison, reading your notes i also was on the ship leaving Southampton on 5th December 1955 i was 14 years of age and travelled with my father,mother and younger brother, we eventually travelled to Sydney and then around 1959 moved to Wollongong where i married and had two children still live there it is great to read all the notes on the ship i remember it with fondness as i had never experienced anything so exciting.
Stephanie Corney 29 May, 2010 13:40
Hello all, I travelled to Australia with my parents and 3 siblings on the Fairsea. We departed Southhampton on 14 September 1964 and arrived in Melbourne, via Freemantle on 14 October 1964. I was 9 years old. I am fortunate to have a significant amount of the original documentation related to the journey. Documents include correspondence related to the application and final approval as well as the papers of welcome as Australian migrants from the Office of the High Commissioner for Australia. I also have on board paraphernalia including a School certificate of attendance, Very nicely presented separate Adult's and children's menus. I have the certificate presented to passengers upon crossing the equator. and much more. Although I have been in possession of them since my mother's death in 1994, I have only discovered these documents in very recent time when I finally opened a box of what I thought were old statements and bills etc. How lucky was I? I remember my parents talking about a man named Colin Daddow, who I believe was an Austalian tourist on the same voyage as us. I believe he gave them a coffee table when they first arrived in Australia. That coffee table always took pride of place between their living room armchairs. They would spend the the evenings holding hands across that table until my Father died in 1993. They spoke very highly Colin even to the end of their lives, saying how instrumental he was in their orientation to Australia. I would love to make contact with him or any of his family members. I've probably rattled on enough for now. Look forward to reading more posts.
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pauline freer 6 October, 2012 17:07
I to was on the Fairsea in 1964. My husband John Freer was the Sea King Neptune passing the equator. I have photos of John acting as the King with the doctors wife as his queen. I was a teacher for the very young. Had a wonderful trip, although at the beginning was very sea sick, as was plenty of others. Regards Pauline
Marlene Jackson, nee Fenech 14 June, 2010 23:51
My family travelled on the Fairsea from Malta to Australia in 1954. My mother remembers the wonderful food that was served in the dining rooms.
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Yvonne and Ken Bird 20 June, 2010 16:40
Trying to contact a Scottish Couple John and June plus 2 children who travelled on the Fairsea with us in 1967.Arriving in Melbourne in Nov of that Year. Would be so lovely to make contact.
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Franziska Kelly (nee Kissling) 21 June, 2010 09:21
In September of 1951 my parents and I left Bremerhaven, Germany for Quebec, Canada on a converted warship named the Fairsea. Is this the same ship that took passengers to Australia as mentioned in all of the above comments?
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Discovery Centre 21 June, 2010 14:52

Peter Plowman's book The Sitmar Liners Past And Present does indicate that Fairsea was used as an immigrant ship to Quebec. Although he does not mention 1951 specifically, it did travel there a number of times in the 1950s and it seems likely that this was the same ship on which you sailed.

 

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Leon & Bill 26 June, 2010 21:50
My brother and myself would get on to the top deck on windy days and run around with our coats spread open like the wings of a albatross. We were lucky not to have been blown overboard. We were 7 & 9 years of age on our way to Fremantle from Southampton - 1961.
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Anna Lanigan 12 February, 2013 00:04
I can really relate to this one!! I remember spending lots of time up on the very top deck...seems to me that was where the boat rocked the least. We had rough seas all the way over except for the Great Australian Bight which was like a mill pond. I remember all the chairs in the lounges being tied up. I remember all the lads who came out as part of the Big Brother Movement. But most of all I remember a pact with another young girl..I think her name was Norma. On the deck we found three plastic daisies that clipped together. We kept one each and threw the third into the Indian Ocean ..a friendship pact!! I still have mine to this day. We arrived in Melbourne on January 8th 1961 having been one of the last ships to come though the Suez Canal before civil unrest closed it for years. From Station Pier we had a taxi ride to Spencer Street Station then a long long train ride to Bonegilla Migrant Camp ...dad being Italian and Mum English they were employed within weeks by David Fairbairn Federal Minister for Air to work in the house and garden at Dunraven. We used to walk a mile from our house to school in England now we walked over a mile to the property gate to wait for a bus to Holbrook Central School. What an adventure!!!We've had a couple of delightful school reunions recently that have reinforced the early experiences I shared with my three sisters though sadly a freeway bypass now slices through our walk to the Dunraven gate. That's progress...wow Leon and Bill I started by sharing your antics on the deck and got carried away. All the best fellow travellers. I hope the Museum organises another Fairsea reunion day.
Olga Holodnow 15 July, 2010 14:02
I am trying to locate a passneger list for the Fairsea that sailed from Bremerhaven on 18/4/1950 according to the National Archives of Australia but have not ahd any luck. Looking for my father's name - Piotr Tychomirov. Any ideas on where I can search for more passenger lists? Olga
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Discovery Centre 16 July, 2010 15:02

Olga, the National Archives of Australia is the organisation responsible for keeping this historic list. Copies of the list can be made by contacting this organisation via their website.

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Christa Stegemann (nee Fischer) 20 July, 2010 15:50
My parents and I traveled from Bremerhaven to Quebec City in June 1953 on the Fairsea. Is anyone out there who was on that ship at that time? I would like to get the passenger list for that voyage. How do I go about it?
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Discovery Centre 21 July, 2010 12:00

Hi there, Christa. The passenger lists for voyages to Canada are kept by Libraries & Archives Canada. To obtain one, you need to apply to the Canadian Geneology Centre.

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Ian Williams 21 July, 2010 13:24
On board the Fairsea my parents, brother, sister and i cast off from Southampton on March 1968 to migrate to Melbourne Australia. I have great memories of the boat, its crew, the activities - pool and equator crossing, stopping off at the Canary Islands, Cape Town, Fremantle, i had my 9th birthday in Adelaide on route, and finally stepping off in Port Melbourne. My early birthday present was a telescope purchased on-board prior to Canary Islands. After a near death experience 16 years ago, i took up sailing for some strange reason. Also somehow related is that i have lived in Adelaide for 29 years. The 5 week voyage has certainly played a big part of my life to date.
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Norman Andrews 23 April, 2014 00:10
Hi Ian I was on that trip with my mum & dad I was 8 years old ,I can remember the ship breaking down out at sea a great adventure
Jan (Janet) Goldsack 22 July, 2010 22:59
I travelled on the Fairsea in January 1962 from Sydney to Southampton and loved every minute of it. In my early twenties, I had left England in 1961 to marry my penpal whose whole family had emigrated there already, but despite all our combined efforts I couldn't shake off the dreadful homesickness that I'm sure many must suffer with. The Faisea was my salvation, returning me to my family and home, so I was bound to enjoy the journey. I quickly made friends with a family also returning to England, there were three sons called Colin, Peter and Freddie and we often played poker. The ship went across to Auckland first and the swell at the Heads caused some to be sea-sick. The trip through Indonesia to Singapore and the across the Indian ocean to Colombo was magical with wonderful sunsets, flying fishes, dolphins and gliding gently past tiny tropical islands on route. Life onboard Fairsea was just one round of pleasure compared to the ship I had travelled out on the previous year, that was the Groote Beer. On her, I shared a cabin with five other women on double bunk beds, whereas on the Fairsea I shared a 4-berth cabin with one other girl, luxury! After the fun of 'crossing the line', I remember I got my first taste of Baked Alaska with the chefs and waiters parading their flaming desserts while we all clapped in time. Once we left the sheltered waters of the Suez canal, we were hit by a Mediterranean storm that would last all four of our days travelling through it. It was so bad, the sun deck was strung with ropes to use as hand-rails to hold on to and help pull yourself along! The few of us who ventured into the dining area had to stop the crockery from sliding off the tables more times than not. We were very relieved to finally leave the Med. In contrast, the Bay of Biscay was like a mill-pond. It was very interseting to read other people's comments about the Fairsea and prompted me to write about mine, bringing back lots of good memories.
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Toby Pierpoint 25 July, 2010 00:02
I travelled to Britain on the Fairsea in late 1967 after my mother had a hankering to visit 'the rellies' and I was dragged along. I'm intrigued by the ship's origins but a little perplexed as well. I remember looking at the plate, near the prow from memory, that clearly said ' Built at Norfolk Navy Dockyard' - I assume in the US. (The locating of the engines in the midst of the cabins certainly was consistent with a military vessel , as were the incredibly steep stairways.) How did she wind up being first commissioned as a British ship ? Part of Lend/Lease ? Any info appreciated.
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Discovery Centre 26 July, 2010 15:16

Hi Toby. The infosheet above probably will answer most of your questions. After being converted to an aircraft carrier she was given to the British Navy under the Lend-Lease agreement in March 1942 but returned to the American Navy later the same year. You can find out more about the ship and it's history in the references above.

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Michael McMillan 29 July, 2010 23:02
I left Southhampton as a ten quid tourist on the Fairsea in 1967, 4th of May, I had crossed from Belfast to Stranraer the night before in a gale, then on rail to Southhampton, I believe we were about the last passengers to board. We came through the Suez Canal, things were dangerous in Port Said, just prior to the six day war, we also got diverted from Aden to French Somali becuse of some unrest in Aden. Wonderful memories of the trip, arrived in Australia 19 years old, with no money, but full of hope. I am still here, married to a lovely Aussie, farming in Central NSW. I do manage a trip back to Ireland every few years, on my Australian passport. I have a photograph of MV Fairsea on our lounge room wall.
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Kathy 11 October, 2013 23:33
Hi Michael, we were on the same ship. My older sister played Cleopatra as we crossed the Equator. I was only 12 at the time. Great memories though. I just remember being so jealous as my sister was 18 and had such a great time with the crew.
Michael McMillan 18 December, 2013 16:21
Hi Kathy, delighted to hear from a fellow passenger, I was a 19 year old Northern Irish lad who thought that Australia had more prospects than NI at that time, I feel that it was the right way to go, have had a great life here, most of my family followed me here, we are now a fairly large extended family of Irish/Australians, I do mansge to get up to the UK every few years to see my other family, two sisters still live there. You are right about the crew, good looking Italian men of the world, made it a bit tough for us mere mortals to catch a girls eye.
Clive Woosnam 10 August, 2010 21:05
I've just seen Stephanie Corney's message written on the 29 May. She obviously attended school on the Fairsea on the way to Australia. I was also on that same voyage as an immigrant to Sydney, and was co-opted as one of the teachers of the ship's school. As I was a high school teacher, most of the children I taught were eleven years and above, but there were days when I taught whoever were there, so I may well have taught young Stephanie. There were so many children running wild on that voyage that it was nice to gain some recognition from them - when they ran across the shuffleboard court if they saw I was playing they would screech to a stop and apologise for disturbing my game. It wasn't a good ship though. I was told it was the only unstabilised ship doing the journey to Australia, and sea-sickness was rife. The swimming pool was deep but there were only two feet of water at the bottom. Even so, the ship rolled so much even in apparently calm conditions that waves often smashed the little children from one side of the pool to the other until they were rescued by their parents. Clive Woosnam
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Bianca 18 August, 2010 12:57
This day today the 18/08/1950 My grandma and my pa had been on the Fairsea from post world war 11 from Germany. I beleive it was a excitement to come to Australia and also hard toleave everything behind as so many people had lost everything
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Paul Trangmar 19 August, 2010 09:03

On Youtube there is a "moving slideshow" re: a MV Fairsea voyage NZ - Europe Feb 1962 which might interest Julian Beer and Jan Goldsack (above) who both mention they travelled same voyage. Try searching for: site.http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fairsea+ship+denmark&aq=f

 Also, further to Toby Pierpoint's observations (25 Jul 10) and Discovery Centre's reply re: Fairsea's origins. The partially completed passenger/cargo or "combi" liner MV Rio de la Plata (which along with her 3 sisters if completed as such would have been the world's first fully air-conditioned "combi' ships) was originally built and engined by Sun Shipbuilding at Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. The vessel was requisitioned for war service before completion and converted at Norfolk Navy Yard, transferred to UK Royal Navy as the escort aircraft carrier HMS Charger (for a matter of days) then reverted to US Navy control as USS Charger. The ship's main wartime duty was as an aviation training carrier, usually based in the relatively safe waters of Chesapeake Bay. Many British and Commonwealth naval aircrew were trained from USS Charger, before transferring to the operational fleet. Reportedly, part of Charger's wood-sheath decking (possibly from decks under the installed flight deck - which was totally removed at war's end) was retained on "boat deck" when the ship later became MV Fairsea (1949). When my family migrated UK-Australia (voyage 77SB Jan/Feb 1964) I was just 9 and didn't notice the Norfolk Navy Yard plate that Toby Pierpoint later found, but I am delighted to hear about it now. Thank you!

During our family's life-changing voyage I was very lucky to visit the engine-room with my father, who had befriended the Italian Chief Engineer. The ship's rare (UK designed/US built) Sun-Doxford diesels were to me a fascinating mass of huge noisy "steel stallions" in full gallop, while a purply-brown oil mist pervaded the stifling air. Strong fuel odours sometimes scented the decks outside the forward lounge, while fresh daily baking whiffs were a much more welcome feature. However, Fairsea's food was good as I recall, with particularly good soups and ice-creams, although powdered eggs and milk were less popular features to most. This plainly "special to me" hard working / high capacity migrant ship was kept sparkling clean, with paintwork and brass also highly maintained by her proud crew. Powerful memories even after 46 years, of which these are a few.

Tailpiece: Of the original 4 in class, just one other of Fairsea's original sisters survived WW2, later serving as the French Navy's light carrier FNS Dixmude. She was finally returned to the US and disposed of, in 1967, just 2 years before Fairsea.

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Paul Trangmar 24 August, 2010 19:06

Re: my last contribution (19 Aug 2010): I regret to advise that I made a significant error re: the ship's original builders (second paragraph). In fact all 4 vessels of the "Rio" class were built and engined by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co at Chester, Pennsylvania.

Further reference to various reliable sources also suggests that, when USS Charger was decommissioned in 1946, Navy structural fittings were removed and the vessel was returned to original owners, Moore-McCormack Line. Sold in 1947 to the Vlasov Group (of which SITMAR was a subsidiary), the United States government required that any necessary re-conversion work on such ships would have to be given to American shipyards. In 1947 the future MV Fairsea thus had structural improvements made by Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Peter Plowman's superb book "The SITMAR Liners Past and Present" (Rosenberg Publishing, Dural, Australia 2004) gives more details of this ship's full life as a SITMAR liner. At least until early 1964 (when I voyaged), MV Fairsea carried a prominent reminder of her colourful past in full view to any who cared to study the spare anchor. Carried on deck, centrally forward in the bows between the two employed anchors this reclining, smartly grey-painted "GI" was cast showing, in large type "U.S. Navy, 1941".

For those interested, besides having Incoming Passenger Lists, there are excellent photos re: MV Fairsea, including some of passengers and crew (and of many other migrant liners) on the Australian National Archives website.

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Bronia Taylor 2 September, 2010 11:26
My family (Trochimczuk) sailed on the Fairsea leaving Bremerhaven 18/4/50 arriving Melbourne 23/5/50. We stayed at Bonegila then Mildura. I was 4 yrs old and have some memories, train overnight to Bonegila and attending kindergarten in Mildura. Have had no luck tracing passenger records or any details for either hostel. There is a record of our departure but no arrival records. Would appreciate help.
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Discovery Centre 2 September, 2010 14:49

Hi Bronia, for information regarding passenger lists, you will need to contact the National Archives of Australia, information can be found here: http://www.naa.gov.au/.  Information about Bonegilla Migrant Hostel is available through this website http://www.bonegilla.org.au/

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Steve Poyser 6 September, 2010 06:37
Trying to locate, or find any information relating to Ida Süli (Hungarian national) who departed Southampton on the Fairsea on 20th June 1959. Although bound for Sydney, cannot find any mention on passenger lists. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Discovery Centre 6 September, 2010 14:45
Hi Steve - The National Archives of Australia maintain passenger lists and all records of arrivals to Australia after 1923, but as you've discovered, not everything is online. Only about 10% of their records are available online so far, as it is a volunteer project involving millions of records! You might like to try making a request through their Making Australia Home project - contact details are on that page.
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robert mcallister 14 September, 2010 00:13
i left southampton in feb 1960 on a horrible journey arrived in sydney march 1960. we were 28 young chaps crowded into 3 small cabins at the bottom of the ship. 1 chap colapsed and split his head open and spent time in hospital. then i colapsed and was carted off to hospital so the people who loved it good luck to you but i hated the ship
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andy 18 September, 2010 12:06
I am writing in regard to one of your other writers lucille that travelled on the fairsea in 1963 I also travelled on that ship as a young boy i was wondering how i go about trying to contact some people who were on that ship and also i was wondering do you have any information on that ship as well tanks in Advance Andy
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Frank 3 July, 2013 09:18
My wife and her family travelled from Southhampton departing on the Fairsea on 28 February 1963 and they travelled to Sydney. Did anyone here travel on that ship and if so do you know the date it arrived into Sydney around early April 1963. The family were the Grice family Leonard, Joyce, Vivian, Tony and Susan.
Discovery Centre 22 September, 2010 12:19
Hi Andy. There are quite a number of discussion or message boards out there dedicated to Fairsea and other Sitmar ships & their passengers. You should do a web search under 'fairsea discussion board' or 'fairsea message board' and you will come up with some options. If you would like to contact a specific person who has left a comment on our site, please contact us through our Ask the experts section and we will pass on your details to the person.
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Joan O'Malley re Moore 3 March, 2014 14:34
I sailed on Feb 28th from Southhampton to Sydney with my parents two daughters and husband arrived in Sydney on the 3rd April 1963 I remember as it was the day after my 19th birthday. My memories of the trip are on the whole very good with dances movies the pool bars on top deck as well as ballroom, really great crew who were just wonderful with the children. Fancy dress night, crossing the line ceremony . We crossed the "Line" on St Patricks day the 17th March, we chose to have the girls christened on this day the crew put on a lovely afternoon tea for us. The God parents were a couple we had made friends with Frank Barns and his wife they got off at Melbourne and we lost touch sad to say. I think her name was Eileen Barns really neat couple. I remember getting a bit of heat stroke going through the Suez just lapped up the sun a bit too much. We arrived in Sydney and were sent via train to the "camp" at Fairy Meadow unlike others we found it so hard there hardly anyone spoke English, we did not stay long in there it was alive with cockroaches which with the children really worried me. Spent few months near Woolongong before settling in Brisbane. Arrived in New Zealand 1965, loved it and have been here ever since. Nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren all born here. Will always have part of my heart in England
baldur lindner 29 September, 2010 08:13
i arrived oct 19 1951 with the fairsea at quebec canada from bremerhafen it still looked like a troop carrier my bunck # was 1313 since then my lucky #
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Susan (Skilton) Vincent 7 October, 2010 23:50
I migrated to Australia with my parents Bob & Evelyn Skilton and brother Robert on "Fairsea" in 1958. I remember the young Gibb Bros (Bee Gees) entertaining passengers. My mother and I shared a 12 berth cabin and my father and brother shared an 8 berth cabin. For a 9 year old it was an exciting time. I also remembered the Suez Canal - Port Said & Aden. Memories of the Italian crew, the food, the meal sittings, cheap chocolate prices, rough weather and much more.
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tina 18 October, 2010 17:47
we arrived in adelaide in 1966 we travell on the fairsea from uk i was wondering if there was anyone who got photos of that trip we landed in february 1966 went on a bus to the hostel thank you
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Stephen Ives 14 November, 2013 10:23
Hi Tina, I was on the same voyage, eight years old at the time, we departed Southampton at the beginning of January 1966 arriving at Adelaide in February 1966, we initially stayed at the Finsbury Migrant Hostel and I attended Pennington Primary School, we eventually moved to Moe in Victoria as my Dad struggled to find work.
Moira McGarrity (nee Reid) 28 October, 2010 22:11
I am looking for the McKinnon - reid family that arrived in melbourne from the u.k. in july 1960 on the fairsea ship
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John Wood 5 November, 2010 00:58
I sailed from Sydney to Southampton via Aucland,Singapore,Aden & Naples in 1965.I paid £185 for a single berth.A great trip and the movies I took bring back some very happy memories.
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Sonja Paradis 12 November, 2010 15:33
To Zenon Pilsyk who travelled on the Fairsea 9th June 1949, I would like to make contact with you. My late parents travelled on that ship from Naples as Displaced persons. My brother who was 4 months old at that time passed away on the voyage over along with another small child. I would love to know if you remember my parents or can tell me more about the journey. Father was Franz Paradis mother Erna, brother Gerbhard.
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William Alley 13 November, 2010 13:30
My father was the Captain of the SS Louise Lykes.Capt.W.E.Alley and his crew came to the aid of the MV Fairsea adrirt at sea with a blown main bloiler and towed her 1000 miles to Balboa Panama.Please send me any info about this.
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Caroline Wolter Hall 4 September, 2012 16:04
Dear Mr. William Alley: I would be so completely grateful if you could confirm for me that the captain of the MS Fairsea was German Captain Brücke. Everyone is my family is gone & I am writing my memoirs for my children. My father sailed from Bremerhaven to Quebec's Port of Call in 1953. Unfortunately, Bremen destroyed all passenger lists (confirmed) and Québec will not release any info(privacy act). It's very important to my story. Alexandre Vlasov (Russian émigré) founded (owned) the (S.I.T.M.A.R)Società Italiana Trasporti Marittimi - he officially formed the shipping line on December 6, 1955 when her route was strictly from Bremerhaven to Australia. A child born on the ship was Italian! But I need to know if Captain was German please? God bless you indeed for helping me. Thank you with all my heart. caroline
Olivia Thompson (Hely) 20 March, 2014 21:13
Hi William Alley, I was on the Fairsea in early 1969 en route to UK when the Louise Sykes towed us to Panama after a fire in the engine room. We had many days & nights drifting before your father's vessel was successful in towing us. I have only just come across your post from November 2010. I have all the newspaper articles from this incident. I originated from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Please let me know if you would like me to send your newspaper articles of the incident. Kind regards Olivia Thompson (Hely)
Kristy Saunders 16 November, 2010 16:49
I am searching for travel records of my father's trip to Australia on the Fairsea. He arrived in Fremantle on 01/01/1963 from the UK. Please send any information you have of this voyage.
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Discovery Centre 17 November, 2010 10:01
Hi there, Kristy. See comments above for advice about individual passenger records kept by the National Archives of Australia.
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Discovery Centre 18 November, 2010 12:56
Hi William, that's a great personal story about the incident mentioned above in the infosheet! There is actually quite a lot of information online about this incident, which can be found by using the search terms 'Fairsea "Louise Lykes" Panama'. In particular, Peter Plowman's book The Sitmar liners past and present gives a good account of the event, as well as the fate of Fairsea. We hope you enjoy reading these references.
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Lois Sedelaar 27 November, 2010 00:32
I, with my girlfriend was on the Fairsea in 1969 when Louise Lykes came to our rescue and towed us to Balboa. I have photos of the first view we had of her coming to our aid.
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James Dale 3 December, 2010 20:16
I came to Australia in March 1963 on the Fairsea. I have a diary, mostly filled in by my father, Frank. Heh, Heh, exracts. March 1st 1963 Sailing down English channel towards Bay of Biscay. March 2nd In Bay of Biscay. Very sick. (Me. I'll skip some other seasick days). 4th March Monday Better now. Dashing around ship (dead great). Saw coast of Spain. Going to Gib. Passed Gib. ( Me again, Jackline and Michael wrote their names on these pages. They would be children on the boat. Are you out there?) Tuesday 5th In Med. Going along N Africa coast. Getting warm Bought sun hat. Wed 6th Seasick Chidren cinima show Mam sick Thur 7th Cold in Med Off Libiya Meal times 7 to 9 B 10.30 lunch 5.30 dinner Fri 8th In med off Egypt Port Said arrive 6.0 o'clock. Left 11.30 Down Canal Sat 9th Down canal into Bitter Lake. Stopped for 4 hours to let North Bound Convoy Through Down rest of canal to Port suez. Lot more ships Sun 10th very hot saw some Porpoise Mon 11th Red Sea Hot More Porpoise Tue 12th "" "" (Me, Hey that's what's in the diary) Wed 13th Arived Aden during night Thur 14th Aircrft Carrier Helicopters, lots more ships, watched men in small boats selling things. Left Aden 1.0pm Fr1 15th Saw coast of Afria Last land before Aust Very hot. Sat 16th Flying fish V HOT Sun 17th Sailing south Crossed equater 5.30pm Flying fish Pete, Helen Dad sick. Tue 26th Arrive Fremantle Sun 31st Arrive Mebourne. e Fishermans Bend Hostel (Me again. I think my mother wrote that bit the handwriting is different). Frank wrote in ALL CAPS. which is SHOUTING on the internet so I toned it down for the gentle reader. But I tried to get most of the format as original. The diary is getting a bit oldish but if the museum wants it I am willing to sell it for $000,000,000 so long as they can store it away from the damp/humidity. I would prefer not to have it rather than it was lost. But I like having it so if nobody wants it. That's fine. James Dale Proud to be the son of Frank
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Frank 3 July, 2013 09:31
Hi James My wife and her family "Grice" Leonard, Joyce and kids Vivian, Tony and Susan travelled on the Fairsea departing UK 28 February, 1963 and disembarked in Sydney. Do you remember them ? and would you know the date the ship arrived in Sydney ?
Andrew 12 December, 2010 14:08
As a seven year old we came via the Canary Islands and Cape Town on the Fairsky. A much longer trip than via the Suez. I Clearly remember the voyage, especially the segregated areas of Cape Town and the trip up Table Mountain. Our stop in Perth was beautiful. I also remember the crossing the line ceremony after a visit to the very smelly Las Palmas (Canary Islands) and an equally smelly Broadmeadows Military camp on Camp Road. We lived for weeks in a baking Nissen Hut in February - March following our arrival in Melbourne on St Valentines day 1968.
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Anna Lee Boulton 12 December, 2010 16:49
My mother, Frieda Boulton (nee Hanzelik) sailed with her parents (Sebastian and Maria)and 3 sisters (Anna, Eva, and Helen) on the Fairsea in May 1953 from Bremerhafen, Germany to Montreal, Canada. Is there anyone out there who was on the same voyage?
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caroline hall 6 August, 2012 21:18
Adolf von Seefried, who is still living at a youthful 82-years-old was on that ship. He lives in Sutton West,Ontario. He is no relation to me. I met him by providence. I am writing a book and can tell you there are no ship passenger lists period. Unfortunately, Bremen threw them away and Quebec will not release any due to privacy act. I would be grateful if anyone can tell me the name of the Captain, which I think was Brücke (German). The ship was owned by Alexandre Vlasov, a Russian émigré,founded S.I.T.M.A.R. and sailed under under Italian flag. It seems to be only one arriving at Montréal port on the long Victoria Day weekend in 1953. I'm trying to ascertain the other trips arrived at Québec City port.
elizabeth [Bette Rae] Higginbotham. 17 December, 2010 17:53
I have very fond memories of the MV Fairsea. Aged 19 I had the time of my life, even five of us teenage girls were almost loured away in Pt Said, crew members turned up with side arms and ordered us back to ship. I had a friend Anna Pate. We crossed the equator on Christmas day 1955, and the Captain got dunked. I now have a home on the nth rivers and have 2 g/grannies. I would like to hear from any others o that cruise. Ti Amore.
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Caroline Wolter Hall 4 September, 2012 18:09
Dear Elizabeth [Betty Rae]. Can you remember if the Captain was German? I am writing a story and can't remember where I read he was German. I would be so very grateful if you would be kind enough to answer this for me. God bless you indeed! Thank you so much. caroline
Andreas Gunther 21 December, 2010 18:51
Greetings, just had a look at the site. I came to Australia on the Castel Felice in June 1960 with my parents. I am trying to find the Ports of call en route. Think Aden and Colombo were two but was wondering if you could tell me the route travelled. With thanks Andrew Gunther
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john davies 23 December, 2010 21:41
we departed southampton in febuary 1965 my late wife and two sons my wife was seasick the whole voyage but we still enjoyed our trip if there is anyone who came onat samne time please contact me
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John 29 December, 2010 07:48
My Dad who is Greek came on the Fairsea. See the image. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitchens_international/4687576912/
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Richard Lawrie 29 December, 2010 12:23
I traveled with my Mom, Dad and six siblings from Sydney to Southampton on the Fairsea in 1968. We'd flown out from England 3 years prior on some kind of work promotion my father had from the Aussie Govt' and this was our trip back home. I guess things didn't work out. I still have clear memories today of that trip that took 5 weeks and 2 days. A big equator crossing party, fancy dress for kids, school work for kids being mandatory. I always thought I learned how to swim on the Fairsea, because I made it from one end of that little pool to the other. Truth is the ocean motion helped me across the pool. My dad would trough his beer glasses over the side because he wasn't bothered about returning them to the bar, probably not all the time but I remember that. I was sick from Sydney to Auckland and it rained in Auckland the day we visited "One Tree Hill". After Auckland life was fantastic, Papeete was a kids paradise back then. I remember trying on some multi-colored swim trunks at a local store after docking, for my brother who was sick on board and some local girls peeking in on me through the curtain,; don't remember being embarrassed. My older brother and I hooked up with some local Tahitian kids on a home made raft and dove in for urchins or something that lived under water. The Panama canal was brown as I recall. Curacao was hot with monkeys and big toads. Lisbon had the best orange juice and it drizzled in Southampton. Odd memories but fantastic memories. My father took dozens of photographs of the trip which I have today in slide form. I need to get them digitized. I also have a vague memory of the Fairsea transporting a person across a line in mid ocean to what I believe was the Fairstar or Fairsky, probably some emergency, who knows when your 9 years old.
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pauline ellis 23 February, 2014 13:17
i have enjoyed reading all the stories, I to traveled in 1968 from Auckland, with parents Peter and Erina. Brother Patrick, Sisters Margaret,Kathleen,Bernadette,myself aged 7.us ladies in one cabin and Patrick and dad in another cabin on a different floor.there was an older man that shared with them and i became his gofer running down to his cabin to retreave things for him. he brought me a shell necklace from tahiti .i remember sloppy kisses from the tahitian ladies who loved my long blond hair.the giant turtles on some other Island and huge big bananas as big as me from some other place. (we took a big bunch of those with us to our uncles place in Ireland, thats where we were moving to).Panama cannal, flying fish, dolphins,equator party, school, food,running around the ship with loads of kids,ect: it was a fantastic time . the time spent living in Ireland on the adventures went until we returned to nz by plane (3 days to get back )september 1969. dad could not get work in Ireland and had to work in England leaving mum with 5 kids on her own in Ireland. glory days to be sure.
Max Lerk 6 January, 2011 02:20
I am looking for Mrs. P.F. Bakker-Lerk, who should habe travelled bij Fairsea in 1951 from the Molukken to the Netherlands. Her date of birth is 23 september 1921. She should have a child, born 14 november 1948. Who can help me to identify these persons?
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Vivien Slater 10 January, 2011 18:19
Seeking Passengers that travelled on the Fairsea's Last voyage. My Parents left Fremantle,Western Australia on Christmas Day 1968 .. the ship then set sail for Sydney and onto Brisbane where it picked Passenger up before sailing off to England. A week later the engine room caught fire and they were adrift in the Pacific Ocean for a number of days .. people were sleeping on the deck due to the stifling conditions inside the ship with no air conditioning working. My father was very sick, and this is the reason my mother was taking him back to England where they had five married daughters and one married son and all their extend families. My Father had been discharged from Royal Perth Hospital after suffering his second heart attack .. and these were brought on by him having a Stroke some months earlier. It was while the Ship Doctor was seeing to my Father that he was called away to see to the Captain who had died suddenly. They were eventually towed into the Panama City (Balboa), where my Father was placed in the Hospital and my Mum into a Hotel where they stayed for three weeks until my Father was well enough and strong enough to fly back to England ... the rest of the Passengers flew to England when they were towed to Balboa. I would like to hear from anyone who was on that Ship .. I have been fortunate to contact three people who were on that Fateful ship, so if anyone knows or knew of anyone who was on the Fairseas Last Voyage in 1968 /1969 please contact me.
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Olivia Thompson 23 December, 2012 15:38
Hi Vivien, I was on the last voyage of the Fairsea in 1969, boarding in Brisbane (aged 21 and bound for a working holiday in England). The ship went on to Tahiti, then approx 1,000 miles off the Galapagos Islands a fire in the engine left the ship disabled. We floated on a very calm sea for several days, and the 2nd tug sent to us managed to tow us successfully into Panama. We spend almost a week in Panama City until the Sitmar Line flew us to UK. It was very exciting for us young ones, but probably not for the older people or those with children. The Captain committed suicide prior to arriving in Panama, and we stood on the deck and watched his coffin taken off. They didn't tell us it was suicide until afterwards. I have all the local paper (Brisbane's Courier Mail) cuttings from these incidents which my parents kept for me. No one knew for more than a week that we were OK as no contacts sent from Panama got through. I'm 65 now, and remember all this as though it was yesterday. I married an Englishman, brought him home to Qld, and we now have 3 children & 3 grand-children. If you would like to email me, I would be delighted. I have never come across anyone else who was on the ship, and most these days don't even know about it. Olivia
Michael Martin 8 August, 2014 06:03
Hi Vivien, My wife and I wereon that Trip. Ido remember a gentleman being nursed by I presume his wife who had suffered a heart attack.I remember lots more if you care to reply 8
bruno & marianne muschinski 13 January, 2011 17:24
left bremen in 1954 for melbourne with their two children thomas & regine aged 2 & 5 and arrived on 12.6.54 and are still living in melbourne.
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Annette Kleinert 13 January, 2011 21:47
I am so pleased based on your advice in the above emails I have been able to find records for my husband who as a 6 year old travelled on the Fairsea to Australia from Germany with his parents. We lost all his family records when our house burnt down 20 years ago. So this has provided some info, and likely some pictures of his family. thank you!
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Discovery Centre 14 January, 2011 13:49
Annette - Thank you for that lovely feedback! We are really pleased you found the information on this page useful.
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James McCuskey 20 January, 2011 11:03
I am looking for information as well as the passenger list on Fairsea which travelled to Australia on the 8th August 1958 Southampton and arrived in Melbourne in September to add to our family tree. Regards James Arrived…….. September……………Melbourne
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Paul Creek 31 January, 2011 17:53
My parents met on the Fairsea after leaving England late 1957 arriving in early 1958
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George Pluecks 1 February, 2011 03:22
Having recently seen a museum on the TitanicI started thinking more one my own experience crossing the ocean.I was six years old when my parents and younger brother and I left Bremerhaven,Germany to Montreal,Canada July 9, 1957.I new that my parents had a picture of the Fair Sea in a photo album and was surprised to see that it was the same post card that you feature in this article. Along with the postcard they also had the Passage Contract. It's unbeleivable that a family of four could travel "Tourist" for $630.00.Mind you that was a great deal for immegrants back then.It is good to read up on the others that used this vessel and what happened to it .Thankyou George
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Joe Deguara 5 February, 2011 16:23
As a 12 year old my mother and 3 sisters emigrated to Sydney IN oCTOBER 1954 AND ARRIVED IN SYDNEY 22 NOVEMBER. To us seabling was a great adventure, a day out of Malta the ship was dircted to Greec to pick up refugees from an earthquake. The poor people had absolutly nothing except the cloths on their back, and they took everything they laid there hands on. The Italian and Maltese Immigrants got on together well, but for some reason the Greeks could not asimilate. A day after we left the Suez Canal all hell broke loos between the Italians and Maltese against the Greeks. The captain stopped the boat and treathened to take the whole lot of us back where we came from. After that every one quitened down and no other problems had arisen. They were the days.......
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Caroline Hall 9 February, 2014 20:00
Joe: I realize it's been a while since you've written, but I would sincerely love to know if you recall a swimming pool being on board the MS Fairsea in November 1954? I would be pleased if you emailed me, as it's hard to find my way back here. 
Andrew Mcneill 12 February, 2011 19:52
Hi there i travelled on the fairsea with my parents in 1963 i had my 3rd birthday on the ship is there anyone that boared that ship for Australia
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Janet Gill 13 April, 2014 12:24
Hi Andrew,Our family of 7 came out on the Fairsea in 1963, leaving England in July and arriving in Melbourne in September. My brother Paul also had a birthday on board on August 14, he turned 10. When we arrived in Melb it was pouring rain for the first 3 days and us kids thought we had come to the wrong place.. We also got a certificate for the Crossing of the Equator and we got the ships crew to autograph it. Any info I can help with let me know, cheers
Gerd Koeller 20 February, 2011 14:22
As Helma Miller above I too sailed on the Fairsea from Bremerhaven in May 1956, and also went ashore in Naples although I have no recollection of doing so, unfortunately I was ill and had to stay aboard in Port Said while my family went ashore. We arrived in Melbourne also however I think the time was early July, the is a photo in the national archives of the vessel berthing in Melbourne in July 1956 so Helma I think that is the date. I too was 6 at the time.
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Roland Meyers 20 February, 2011 20:56
I came out to Australia in 1958 (September, arrival 6 October Sydney on the Fairsea ) I would like a passenger list if possible.
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Discovery Centre 21 February, 2011 16:44
Hi Roland, please see our quick guide to passenger lists for further help with your enquiry.
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Lesley Silvester 9 March, 2011 14:42
I came to Australia in 1961 on the Fairsea. I didn't want to come at the time but am so glad we did now! We left Southampton on 27 Feb 1961. Does anyone know the date the ship arrived in Fremantle? There was a lovely man on the quay who bought lots of icecreams for the children, a lovely welcome.
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Lynda Kelly 29 March, 2013 09:46
Hello Lesley. I was on the Fairsea on the same voyage as you. We went to live in Adelaide; so disembarked at Melbourne(I think that was 30th March) and had to catch an overnight train to Adelaide where we stayed for almost 6 years before returning to England.
Discovery Centre 9 March, 2011 16:28
Hi Lesley, you would need to contact the National Archives of Australia to find out the exact date, unless someone already has the answer and responds to you here...
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Sylvia McNeall 10 March, 2011 17:48
Immigrant Ship to Australia "The Fairsea departed Genoa, Italy for her maiden immigrant voyage to Australia on 3 December 1949, reaching Sydney on 30 December." This statement is incorrect. My family immigrated under the post WWII Australian Immigraiton Scheme, under the auspices of IRO. We departed from Naples on 21 September and arrived in Melbourne on 19 October 1949. My father kept a daily diary recording the weather, winds, seas, longitudes/latitude etc. The arrival was also recorded in a Melbourne newspaper (I think it was The Age) under the heading "Ship Movements: Today -" together with other ships on 19 October 1949. "Fairsea, Naples, OEPP (Melbbourne)- I have a copy of the clipping. other dates are also recorded on a website on the Fairsea/Sitmar Line.
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Karen Bijkersma 25 July, 2013 16:36
Dear Sylvia, My mother was a young girl on the same voyage from Naples to Melbourne, arriving 19 October 1949, travelling with her parents and younger sister. I am writing a family history and would be very grateful for any information you have about the voyage. Would it be possible for you to please email me at karenbijkersm[at]hotmail.com? Many thanks, Karen
Gwen Mehta nee Bramhall 20 March, 2011 04:24
I sailed on the Fairsea in June of 1967 to visit relatives in Sydney. I was 19 and had the time of my life. I remember it was just before the 6 day war and we could not tie up in Aden so went to Djibuti instead what an experience since we just made it going through the Suez Canal. Can anyone else remember that voyage? Would love to hear from you
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Kathy 11 October, 2013 23:49
Hi Gwen, yes, I was 12 back then. My sister Janet was 18. It was such a great time. I remember being kept in our cabins during part of the voyage (I wasn't sure if it was because of the trouble brewing with the 6 day war or whether it was because there were people climbing up the sides of the ship trying to sell stuff from the boats). Because of that trip I have a great love for the sea, travel and just about anything 'Italian!" LOL!!
Michael mcMillan 11 December, 2013 21:42
Hi Gwen and Kathy, I was on board the same voyage,I was 19 years old and a ten quid tourist, loved the whole experience, I do remember a lot of seasick people, the trouble at Port Said as the ship was attacked by a hostile crowd, we were ordered below as bottles landed on board, our excitement when we spotted Fremantle and the pleasure of my first Aussie milkshake. Now a farmer in Central West NSW.
David Savage 1 July, 2014 16:41
Hi, Yes I remember that voyage in 1967 I was only 7 at the time but have fond memories of it all. I attended the school on the MV Fairsea with my sisters. We settled in Perth for a few years. I now live in Canberra with my family. All the best David
John Dommett 23 March, 2011 14:05
I was a young boy 10yo when my family and I took the final voyage of the Fairsea ... My father was a violinist who played concerts on the ship, and was just about to play to commemorate the crossing of the equator when the ship's engine caught fire. I have some old pictures of the ship being towed by the Louisa Lykes, and us towing the tug boat sent to rescue us, but who also needed rescuing ... my recollection was that the time we were 'drifting' was far greater than a few days, but time and my age could have 'expanded' that memory.
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Karen Loane (Shaw) 1 April, 2011 22:49
Hi My father Robert Shaw with wife Marian ( Yates) and My sister Susan ^yrs old and Myself Karen 4 years old travelled to sydney on the Fairsea departing May 1963 and arriving June 1963. I don't remember much but we travelled with our dear friends Terry and Brenda Hernen with their Kids Terry Jnr David and Janet. we where all from Oldham we settle on the East Hills hostel until we coud find other accomadation. Brenda and terry now reside in Adelaide does anyone have any photos or recall our happy tribe.
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Margaret Brugel 14 April, 2011 04:21
Could someone please tell me if they know about a Fairsea departing from Sydney to Bremerhaven in May 1955? My mother and sister were on board on that ship after emigration to Australia had failed. They returned to the Netherlands together. Thank you.
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brenda white 14 April, 2011 06:38
this is a shot in the dark but here we go i am looking for my brother ( graham garrat smith ) he sailed to ( fremantle WA) from southampton in 1956 he was on his way to fairbridge farm school pinjarra he was 5 years old . he might also be known as billy my mother used to call him that name when he was a small child...he was born in southampton on the 5/10/1957
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Discovery Centre 15 April, 2011 15:40
Hi Brenda, you should start with the website Fairbridge Kids 'the web presence of The Old Fairbridgians' Association of Western Australia'. You also might want to try posting something on the message board of the National Museum of Australia's blog INSIDE: Life in Children's Homes. Please be aware that this site can be disturbing but it might help you find someone who knows him. Also the National Archives of Australia should have his immigration records, which might give you some clues. You should consider contacting them to find out more information.
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Discovery Centre 15 April, 2011 16:05
Hi Margaret, you should try the National Archives of Australia as linked in the answer above. They do have selected outgoing passenger lists for people leaving Australia.
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Lyn Bailey 16 April, 2011 10:24
In 1964 I arrived in Australia aged just 10years, on the sister ship of the Fairsea, the Fairstar. am interested if anyone else out there remembers this ship and what ever happened to her. It was whilst on this ship I learnt to swim and experienced many wonderful moments as a child especially going through the Suez Canal.
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Mervyn Baker 24 April, 2011 09:58
Searching for a missing relative by the name of victor Henry baker who was aged 30 (he was born in 1925 in Wales) when he left Southampton on 5/12/1955 for Australia on the ship fairsea, He arrived in Melbourne on the 10th January 1956 been searching for many years if there is anyone out there with any information please contact his nephew Mervyn Baker on SearchingForVHBaker@fsmail.net
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Richard Gauld 25 April, 2011 11:10
Following on from the comments by Michael Burgess. Our family left Southampton docks on the Fairsea bound for Australia on 26th February 1958. We stopped at Port Said, Egypt but were not allowed to leave the ship. We then proceeded to Aden where we were allowed to disembark. Our next port of call was Fremantle, another point of disembarkation and our final destination was Melbourne on 2nd April 1958. The ship then sailed on to Sydney. So the dates in the Museum Victoria records for the refit need to be revised.
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Discovery Centre 27 April, 2011 09:56
Hi Mervyn, have you tried to obtain his immigration & naturalisation records through the National Archives of Australia? This may give you some clue as to where to look to trace him.
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Discovery Centre 27 April, 2011 10:22
Hi Richard, thanks for your response. It doesn't appear that Michael ever got back to us as requested but we've sent your comment to our curatorial team who will look into this.
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Paul Nicholson 23 May, 2011 07:24
I sailed on the Fairsea with my Mum Dad and older Brother Peter in 1956 as we were part of the £10 emigrant scheme. We stopped at Adelaide. We cmae back in 1958. We wnt back to Australia in 1965 (July I think, I was only 12 so do not remember the date. We came back in Dec 1968. My brother came back to England a year earlier. I came back with Mum and Dad and we were on the ship at the time it caught fire just after leaving Tahiti. Although at 16 years old it felt like an adventure, it was quite frightening. It was sad about Captain Cardia, committing suicide. He was a very friendly man and a good Captain. I made friends with some Welsh children their surnames was Evans but I have lost touch with them. I think the girl was called Gaynoe and one of the boys was called Arwyn. It was an eventful journey.
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ian goodes 28 May, 2011 06:54
i to went out on the Mv Fairsea aged 7 where i had schooling on borard , and i got a certifiate . for attended shcool going out to Australia, has some eles got one e mail me thanks
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Alexandra Malby 29 May, 2011 22:19
Fairsea trip from the UK to Australia in 1965. My mother come over with her parents and 9 siblings. The surname - Maxwell - I have noticed that Paul Nicholson may have been on the same trip. My mothers name is Mary Maxwell and she was 10 years old on the ship. I think she said the dates were left UK in July 1965 and arrived in Australia 28th August 1965. I was only looking on here asv my daughter was doing a project on her Nana, and was amazed, now I am interested in finding out more and suprising my mum, with lots of info.
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Bryan Nolan 31 May, 2011 20:22
My family and I travelled from Manchester to Melbourne via Fremantle on the Fairsea. We left England in May 1963 and arrived in June. Reading all the above messages, this ship sure made a lot of voyages. How many in 1963? It must have been backwards and forwards without much of a break! I have fond memories of the voyage, being only 5 at the time. The guys diving for money at Port Said, the dolphins and the flying fish. I remember a party when we crossed the equator and got a certificate. We arrived and stayed 2 years at the Preston Hostel. My mum hated it but I loved it. Imagine family of 6 staying in those crummy corrugated cramped huts? How did we do it? Would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences.
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Julie Croman 5 June, 2011 09:42
I have a photo of my mum aboard "Fairsea" at a dining table with a lot of other people. She was pregnant with me at the time. I was made in England and born in Australia.
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Anthony Bates 7 June, 2011 22:33
I travelled to Australia on the Fairsea with my mother ,father and sister in December 1957. I have a photo of me receiving a xmas present on xmas day from Santa
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Mark Crohan 8 June, 2011 22:15
I am writing a book on The Bee Gees' time in Australia I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who travelled out on the Fairsea with them or anyone who has some interstibg photos of the ship.
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Mark Crohan 8 June, 2011 22:34
To the administrator Hi I Live in Melbourne and i'm writing a book onthe Bee Gees time in Australia including a whole chapter on their journey out to Austrlia on the Fairsea in 1958. Could you possibly pass my email addrees onto Susan (Skilton) Vincent who wrote to you on 7/10/10 and 'Peter' on 11 June 2009? It would be greatly apprecaited and a copy of the book when its published would be donated to the museaum?
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Paul Trangmar 11 June, 2011 05:17
In response to Lyn Bailey's request (of 16 Apr 2011) for information on Fairsea's younger fleetmate Fairstar: After a year's major conversion from the 1957-built British troopship Oxfordshire, Fairstar's first migrant voyage to Australia left Southampton on 19 May 1964, Captain Jorge Petruscu commanding. In late 1974 Fairstar became a full-time cruise ship. Based out of Sydney NSW for the next 22 years, the very popular Fairstar was finally withdrawn from service in early 1997. The vessel was re-named Ripa for her final voyage, arriving in Alang India for demolition on 10 Apr 1997.
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John Stevenson 17 June, 2011 06:31
I went to Australia and disembarked in Sydney before travelling on to Glouster NSW in March 1964 with my sister and parents. My best Memory is that I had my 9th birthday on board the ship. My mother and sister both suffered from seasickness on the way over. We also went via suez canal
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Lya 18 June, 2011 11:22
Along with my parents I was on the Fairsea at the age of 7. We arrived in Melbourne in October 1952. I have several photos of us during our time on board the Fairsea.
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Rod Harrison 26 June, 2011 11:28
My family left Plymouth on 20/4/1960 (I think) on the Fairsea. We travelled via Suez to Perth, then to Melbourne. We then took the Overland train to Adelaide, Have been here ever since. I was five when we boarded the ship. We spent a few months in the Finsbury / Pennington migrant hostel while my parents established them selves in a new business. I remember my father would not let any of us off the ship in Aden. He had been both a Royal Navy sailor and a merchant seaman for many years and was concerned about the abduction of children in such places. I know about the Fairstar but I seem to recall there was also a sister ship called the Fairsky. In fact I have a vivid memory us passing it going in the opposite direction somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Both ships leaned precariously to port due to all of the passengers lining up along the rails as we passed. Does anyone remember this or have I been imagining things for all of these years?
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Linda Johnson nee Coker 3 July, 2011 17:20
Aged 13 my parents and I emigrated to Australia on the Fairsea. We left Southampton on 20th September 1957 so clearly Peter Plowman's book incorrectly states that she was being refitted from July to December 1957. I have just finished typing up the log my Mother kept of her journey together with some photographs. I wonder if there is anywhere I should send a copy as it is an interesting part of British migrant history. I obtained a copy of the family on the passenger list from ancestry.com
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Megan Morgan 27 July, 2011 01:28
My Australian mother married a Welshman in 1958 and in 1968, my brother Gareth Morgan and I (he aged 8 and me aged 3), left Sydney in the September of that year on the Fairsea to immigrate to Wales. I have very vague memories of the trip but my parents and brother tell of wonderful stories - celebrations for crossing the equator and dinners and games. Three months later, we return to Australia on the Angeline Lauro.
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Helen McCoach 27 July, 2011 21:05
"She regularly travelled to Australia from Italy carrying refugees and displaced people, but always returned empty due to the restrictions of the IRO contract." No! She did not ALWAYS return 'empty'. I returned to the UK in November 1953 as a 1 year old along with my mother and older brother.
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Discovery Centre 4 August, 2011 09:57

Hi Helen,

Prior to becoming part of the Sitmar line, Fairsea was under contract to the IRO to convey refugees and displaced persons to Australia. Under this agreement she was to operate three IRO voyages from Naples to Melbourne via the Suez Canal commencing on May 11, 1949, but she had to return to Italy without any passengers on board whatsoever.

She was not at this stage regarded as either an immigrant ship or part of the Sitmar line. It was not until December 1949 that Fairsea  began her role as an immigrant ship on the Sitmar line and was able to take on passengers for the return journey to Italy and become the Sitmar Liner she was intended to be!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitmar_cruises

http://www.ssmaritime.com/sitmar3.htm

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Marion MacPherson 27 August, 2011 03:50
I was 11 years old when the family immigrated. We sailed from Greenock Scotland with the family of 7 in Aug 1957 on the Fairsea to Montreal Canada. Best thing we ever did , to start a new life .
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Charli 1 September, 2011 17:58
I am doing a Humanities Immigrant project and my grandfather took the Fair Sea from Holland to Australia, and I was wondering if anyone has a copy of the route the ship took or something similar? This would help soo much and is greatly appreciated!! thanks!
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Kathryn Hack 6 September, 2011 02:26
I have been trying to find a passenger list from a crossing from Bremerhaven, Germany that docked int Quebec, Oct 1951? Where/how can I find this?
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Elizabeth Melito 6 September, 2011 04:13
My parents Adam and Maria Trenkl were passengers in the spring of 1953. They travelled from Bremenhaven, Germany to Montreal, Quebec. Do you know how I could get a copy of the passenger list?
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Victoria Wade (Vicki) 14 September, 2011 22:44
I arrived with my sister and parents to the shores of Australia on the ship Fair Sea in September 1958. I also remember the Bee Gees, I was the same age as Barry Gibb...from memory there was also a singer that played the guitar named Bobby ...I remember some french girls that spoke no english but we seemed to , as kids, be able to communicate ...I also remember being caught in a monsoon and being very scared. We came through the Suez Canal....I believe Red Simons the TV personality was also aboard the Fair Sea that voyage, he mentioned it on the telivision once.
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Kae Nicholson (nee Thurlow) 19 September, 2011 19:42
I was 13 in 1959 When with my Mum Dad and Brother Charlie we came to Melbourne , The voyage was rough and I was sick most days but it was still enjoyable,to see such a lot of the world and still love travelling to this day...
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John Christiansen 21 September, 2011 14:30
I, with my parents and my sister, was on the Fairsea voyage which left Southampton on 5 August 1958 and arrived in Melbourne on 7 September 1958. In your "History of the Ship", you state that USS Charger spent four years in the Pacific during WWII. However, this is at odds with other publicly-available information (such as The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships) which state that the ship spent all of the war in Chesapeake Bay, apart from two ferry voyages to destinations in the Caribbean in 1942 and 1945.
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manfred christl 22 September, 2011 14:09
passenger list fairsea arr australia sept 1959 thank you
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Sue FOUQUES née Bacon 23 September, 2011 18:32
Hello Gwen, I also travelled out on the Fairsea, leaving Southampton on 4th May 1967. We made a side trip overland to visit Cairo and the Pyramids. While on board I helped to organise "schools" for the younger ones, and participated in lots of shows. I was 20 and travelled with two other girls - Sally and Jackie - who I had met in London. We shared our cabin with a Mrs. Bracegirdle who was travelling to Australia with her son. I stayed in Sydney for five years and then moved to Adelaide, where I met my French husband. We subsequently lived in Canada for ten years and I am now an antiquarian book seller in the Loire valley, France.
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Kathy 11 October, 2013 23:57
Hi Sue, I attended some of the schools on the May/June '67 journey. I was 12 at the time. My sister Janet was 18 and played Cleopatra while crossing the Equator. I know she dined with the captain and the doctor and I was really jealous :( So many great memories though.
Discovery Centre 24 September, 2011 15:32
Thanks everyone for so many wonderful comments. Recently we've published a new website based on the Station Pier exhibition that you all might be interested in. For those who have commented on some of the accuracy of this page, recently we've done a bit of updating based on your comments. Thanks so much for being interested in our immigration history and providing feedback on our information.
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Jim 29 September, 2011 00:05
I was a teenager passenger on the last voyage of the Fairsea ex Sydney, enroute (via Panama) to the UK. After the fire which destroyed the engine room, some days out of Tahiti, my recollection (in the main) is of disgruntled passengers, hapless and helpless crew, and days of uncertainty whilst the ship's owners haggled over the cheapest tow to Balboa. Those days of drifting took their toll on everyone, not least the poor Captain, who, sadly, chose to end his life on board. I hope, somewhere, there is a fitting tribute to this man, who clearly was caught between a rock and a hard place.
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Gill Greer (nee Knight) 4 October, 2011 06:52
I sailed from Southampton on 1st April 1966 and arrived in Sydney 5th May 1966, after a fun five weeks. Married a musician in the RAN Band 1969 and had a daughter in 1971. Sadly had to return to the UK later that year, but have been back numerous times to Oz - just love it.I would love to hear from anyone who sailed on that date with me.
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Jennifer Iles 27 September, 2012 04:16
I was on the Fairsea that landed in Sydney 5th May 1966. I was 12 at the time and was travelling with parents, plus a brother and sister. The family was split up with my brother sharing a room with three other men. I remember the rough seas around the Bay of Biscay and how hot it was sailing down the Red Sea. Although I've read in other sites that the ship was fitted out with comfortable cabins, the one that we were in was pretty bleak. I made some nice friends on board but we were pretty relieved to finally be able to get off when we arrived in Sydney. I left Australia a few years later.
Michael McMillan 7 October, 2011 21:52
Interesting reading all the stories about our journey, only noticed one other person who was on my voyage, Gwen Mehta, I am sure you will remember Port Said George, and the trouble at Port Said with the locals.
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June Moore 10 October, 2011 12:39
I travelled from Southampton 1961 to Australia with my husband and three children for 10 pounds . I had a very good trip, but a lot of sickness on board, stopped at aden and Fremantle.I now have 11 grandchildren,20 great grandchildren, and 1 great great granchild, so I think I have done my share of populating Australia,which has given me much pleasure.I would love to hear from anyone who was on the same boat I travelled with my brother-in-law and his 5 children.We started off in Adelaide, after a year we moved to Melbourne
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Jane Herriot (nee Creaser) 19 April, 2014 17:41
I've just found out that we arrived in Australia on the Fairsea in March 1961 at Freemantle with our final destination listed at an address in Blacktown, Sydney! So I assume that we arrived there early April as a previous post mentioned arriving in Adelaide on 30 March. I know we stayed there for a year or so before moving across to the Clare Valley in South Australia. Our family consisted of my father Donald, mother Margaret, me - (Jane), brothers Mark and Paul and my sister Susan who was only a few months old. If anyone has memories or photo's they could share, I would be extremely interested in corresponding. We went back to UK in 1966 (just in time for the world cup!!) then lived in Scotland. I am now living in Perth, WA and 3 of my siblings live in Victoria... I have loved reading other peoples stories even if they are a couple of years old.
Anna Lee Boulton 13 October, 2011 02:00
Hi Elizabeth Melito, do you know when in Spring 1953 your parents arrived in Montreal, Quebec? My mother, Frieda Hanzelik (now Boulton) and her family arrived in early May of that year. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and would like to be in touch. Also, did anyone find a passenger list for the Fairsea when Montreal-bound?
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Danah Laßka 13 October, 2011 07:09
My uncle John ( Hans Lahska ) travelled per Ship FAIRSEA departing in 1956 under Australian German Migration Agreement. Who nows anything about him or his travelling in 1956 ? Please let me know !
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maria onzen 15 October, 2011 11:52
would like to fineout of anyone on the fairsea feb 1962 for australia melb. bonegilla
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Andrew Cosham 26 October, 2011 02:41
I travelled on Fairsea from Southampton to Adelaide with my parents and older brother, in 1962 or 63, I remember having my birthday, 14 April, on board. On this particular voyage there was an outbreak of measles amongst the many children on board, this started after leaving Fremantle, so while the rest of my family went to an immigrant reception centre in Adelaide, I and the other children were taken straight to a hospital to be kept in quarantine until we were no longer infectious. By the time I was released from hospital my parents had bought a brand new house. Does anyone have any further information on this particular arrival in to Australia?
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Maggie Buse 28 October, 2011 21:27
I travelled on Fairsea leaving UK on 31st May 1968 - we could not go through the Suez canal at that time so our first port of call was Gran Canaria, followed by Cape Town and that was it until we reached Fremantle. We also had a terrible storm between Cape Town and Australia - I did worry for the safety of this tiny ship! I was upset one year later to hear that the captain had committed suicide after the ship had caught fire - very sad. Anyone else on that voyage?? I was only 21 years old - memories eh?
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Karl Reinders 3 November, 2011 08:34
have you got any record of a Jack Stazie arriving in aus between 1949 to 1953 he would of travelled with a Karel reinders
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Discovery Centre 10 November, 2011 14:20
Hi Karl, you will need to contact the National Archives of Australia for passenger lists.
Cornelis Blankenzee 6 November, 2011 18:14
I am trying to find out the date The Fairsea docked at Station Pier, Melbourne I think very early of January, 1953. My father, mother and brother Henri migrated to Australia that year sailing from Rotterdam, Holland. From memory I was nine years old and remember the ship calling at Fremantle before we disembarked at Melbourne. Our family were also firstly accommodated at Bonegilla Migrant Hostels. I believe the Fairsea berthed at Sydney on 8 January 1953 on this voyage. Thank You
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Discovery Centre 13 November, 2011 16:06
Hi Cornelis, Fairsea docked in Melbourne on 4 January 1953.
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Colin Daddow 13 November, 2011 18:17
I am commenting on Stephanie Corney's comments. I am Colin Daddow junior and I am sure that my father went on a ship to Europe and back in 1964. He lived in Adelaide and I still have photos from his trip. Feel free to forward my e-mail address to Stephanie Corney.
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joy huntley 19 November, 2011 02:59
I am trying to trace Heath family crossed to australia on £10 passage in 1964, can anyone help
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Rod Harrison 21 November, 2011 21:28
Joy Huntley. My wife travelled from England in 1964 on the Fairsea. She was one of three children in the family. Name was O'Reilly from Preston.
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Jean Salmon (now Bradley] 24 November, 2011 20:37

I sailed on the Fairsea from Southampton in November 1958 - arriving in Sydney in the December after 5 weeks. I was chosen as equator queen - spoiled for a couple of days - even had a dance with the captain. I am trying to look for my old friend pat deuse (not sure about spelling). Pat and i moved to Bondi Beach - then pat went back to either Dunfermline in Scotland or maybe to England. I have been in Australia for over 53 years now and would love to know how pat has fared over the years. Big brother movement was on our trip - bringing young men out to Australia from Britain. Had lots of fun with these young guys - lots of laughs. Jean Bradley

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Joan Perry (nee Martin) 28 November, 2011 22:52
My family left the UK in 1966 on the MV Fairsea. My parents John and Netta Martin, along with children, June, John and Joan. Arrived Oct 1966 in Adelaide. Have never been back to UK. Awesome fun on the Fairsea, I was only 15!
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Michael Ellen 1 July, 2014 12:15
My wife, myself and our baby son also left on that trip from Southampton to Sydney where we still live. We were shocked to see our cabin was down in the bowels of the ship where the ship side sloped inward down to the deck. We had a double bunk setup where I had the top one. There was a small hand basin and the baby had to sleep in a basket on the floor. The floor area was so small that I had to get the wife to slide the baby under her bunk so I could get down from my bunk. This particularly upset my wife as although I was a ten pound pom she had to pay full fare as she was Australian. A bad pgastric virus ran through the ship with many affected. We had a "Bonny-bouncer" for the baby which we hung from the awning frames on deck. To the amusement of the passengers, as he bounced and the ship rolled he would dance from one side of the deck to the other. I still have the fancy menus and crossing the equator certificates. We landed in Sydney Oct. 1966 and although we have been back to the U.K. For visits we still live in Sydney although retired.
Pat Bishop 9 December, 2011 18:59
My family came over on this ship from Southampton in 1961, arriving in Adelaide during August. I turned two years old a few weeks later. Having an Irish mother and an English father meant that I was then condemned to a life of almost perpetual sunburn, at least until viable sunscreens were invented. After arriving, we lived in some reffo-centre in Pennington. Back in those days my father had to work for the Australian Government for two years as part of the assisted passage agreement.
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Kurt Mueller 18 December, 2011 17:23
My father was lucky to snag the chance to get to Australia when another family in our village in Germany decided not to go.We boarded FAIRSEA at Bremmerhaven in Dec 1953, and arriving at Port Melbourne at the end of January 1954. My father, Alfred, played Father Christmas. The children were separated from the parents at meal time and according to mum, had a very monotenous diet so she would sneak me into the main dining room and share hers with me. Dad was in one of those cargo hold dorms, while mum my sister and I shared a cabin with another lady and her baby. I had my first Coca Cola on that ship.
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Karl Boening 25 April, 2013 21:27
Hi Kurt, we also were on that voyage leaving Germany on December 4 1953 arriving in Melbourne January 9 1954. Train to Bonegilla, transfered to Benalla after a few weeks, then onto Norlane. Would love to be in contact to find out more. Mum is still alive and will be 91 this year.
Damo 4 January, 2012 13:45
I am trying to find out what date the Fairsea arrived in Adelaide in 1967. It departed Southhampton on 27 July 1967.
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Discovery Centre 5 January, 2012 10:38

Hi Damo,

You can search the National Archives of Australia as a guest using the 'keyword' option to find records of passenger lists and their arrival dates. Simply insert the ship name in square brackets, ie "[fairsea] passenger list" in the search box and narrow the dates.

I have emailed you with the results that I found.

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Gwen Mehta nee Bramhall 20 January, 2012 04:55
Hi Sue and Michael Yes I do remember the trouble at Port Said. I also took the overnight tour to visit Cairo and the Pyramids. I also remember the heat when we visited Djibuti, I had a terrible nose bleed!! What memories, how I wish we could repeat them!!
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yvonne munday 22 January, 2012 00:04
we left southampton 10 may 1961 and arrived in 13 pyrmont 1961 my parents jane and joe muday and they brought out 7 children with them, there was big brother eddy then kenneth and ronald then myself the twin valerie and alan then jeanette,we were christened on route to australia
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Ian Baistow 27 September, 2012 12:12
Hi I arrived with my Mum & Dad and older brother on the 13th June 1961. Sounds like we were on the same boat the Fairsea.
WILLIAM GRIBBIN jrn 25 January, 2012 11:03
MYSELF AND MY FATHER BILL DEPARTED ON FAIRSEA'S LAST TRIP.WE WERE GOING HOME TO UK TO JOIN MUM ANDMY SISTER WHO HAD GONE ACROSS6 MONTHS BEFORE US.I WAS 17 AND SPENT A LOT OF MY TIME UP AT THE BAR DRINKING,I REMEMBER WE USED TO BUILD CASTLES ON THE TABLES WITH THE BEER CANS AND THEN KNOCK THEM DOWN.ANYWAY A GROUP OF US WERE AWAYS PLAYING AROUND. ANYHOW A FEW OF US WERE SITTING IN THE BAR NEAR STACK WHEN I NOTICED THE PAINT WAS BLISTERING AND THE TOP WAS HEAVY IN SMOKE WE ALL HEADED OUT SIDE TO FIND A LARGE AMOUNT OF THE CREW HAD LIFE JACKETS ON I HURRIED TO FIND MY DAD HE WAS STILL ASLEEP ON HIS BUNK WE THEN WENT TO THE DECK WERE WE WERE TOLD BY ANOTHER PASSENGER THE FIRE WAS OUT,WE COULD NOT GO TO OUR CABIN BECAUCE THE FUMES.LATER THAT DAY WE WRE ALSO TOLD THAT THE CAPTAIN HAD DIED OF A HEART ATTACK,SO WE HAD NO ENGINGS AND NO CAPTAIN. THE THE WAS GETTING AROUND THAT MENT ANY SHIP NEAR US COULD SALVAGE US DAY LATER WE NOTICED A LARGE SHIP OF OUR BOW,WITH THE WORDS IN LARGE "LIKES LINE "IT HAD ARRIVER TO TOW US I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME THE WIRE SNAPPED AND NEARLY TOOK ONE OF THE CREW WITH IT.WE ALSO HAD AN OCEAN GOING TUG OUT THERE BUT IT BROKE DOWN WE WERE TOWED TO BALOA WITH THE TUG BEHIND US IN TOW.WE THEN FLEW BY FRANCE TO UK. I H0PE YOU ENJOYED MY TIME ON THE " FAIRSEA "HOPEFULLY THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE OUT THERE THAT I NO, GRIBBO
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Robert Spittles 27 January, 2012 01:09
My parents and three brothers arrived in sydney in july 1965 on mv fairsea, i was three years old.My brothers and i all came down with the measles and were quarantined for about 10 days.Even at the age of three i have vivid memories of the journey.I recall escaping many times to look about the ship much to the consternation of my parents.Ihave photos of myself wearing astripped t shirt and cowboy hat we moved into a new house in smithfield western sydney which remained the family home until 2006
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Phyllis 30 January, 2012 22:30
Our family came to Australia on the FAIRSEA on the assisted passage scheme. Our family name is LOGAN and we came from BELFAST Northern Ireland. We left Tilbury docks at Southhampton on 6August 1958 and arrived in Melbourne on 7 September 1958. We still have the document of identity that our family traveled on. I also still have my certificate that was presented to us when we crossed the equator. I was 12 and the eldest of 4 children. I still can see when we traveled through the Suez canal the little boats that threw ropes up on the ship so we could buy goods. I also remember soldiers standing on the banks of the canal. We got off the ship in Aden and I recall seeing camels, lots of sand and it was really hot. The ship encountered a monsoon in the Indian Ocean and one minute all you could see was sky and the next minute because of the swells all you could see was the ocean on either side. I also remember seeing the flying fish. When we arrived in Melbourne the family stayed at a small hostel at the Exhibition Center in Melbourne for about one week then by bus to the Brooklyn Migrant Hostel on Millers Road Brooklyn. We moved to Werribee in March 1962 and still live here. We also still have many friends from our stay in the Hostel. Best move my dad made was bringing us to live in Australia.
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Alastair 2 February, 2012 14:07
I sailed from Southampron in 1956 arrived Melbourne the opening Day of the Olympics and drove with cousin to Canberra to start work at Govt Printing Office. Sailed back to UK when my Dad was ill in 1960 again on Fairsea supposed to go via Panama Canal but rerouted after we left Wellington NZ to Suez Canal. Returned To OZ on the Sydney in 1963 and have been here ever since. I just loved the Fairsea it has great memories for me.
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Terrie Allen 5 February, 2012 14:05
I was on the last sailing of the Fairsea I remember being told that the ship's engine was on fire we were about to cross the equator. So it was to be a big party night, instead we spent the night out on deck, unable to go down to our cabins. Six days adrift after a failed attempt by a tug to tow us. finally towed into Pananama Canal and then air lifted to UK.
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June Webb 8 February, 2012 10:42
I came out to Australia in 1960 on the Fairsea, leaving Southampton on 17 September and arriving in Brisbane sometime round mid-October. I was only nine, but remember the journey well. It was all so exciting to see Aden and Port Said and I explored every inch of the ship with friends I made on board - even places we shouldn't have been, like where they threw out the refuse into the sea! We had a lovely Italian steward, Geno, who helped us with any problems we had and attended any sea-sickness. I remember hating the greasy Italian food and asked for egg and chips as soon as we landed! Lovely memories. Would love to hear comments from anyone who was on the same journey in September/October 1960.
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Peter Schwenke 11 February, 2012 10:44
We came 1958 with the Castle Felice, to Australia. Could you please tell me What was the name if the ship which burnt down.Between 1955-59. Thank you Many Regards Peter
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angela smith 11 February, 2012 17:03
we left southampton on the 17th Feb 1967 arriving in Sydney march 25th 1967 on the MV FAIRSEA . MY PARENTS RON AND WIN SMITH MIGRATED AS TEN POUND POMS WITH THEIR THREE CHILDREN DAVID ANGELA AND JULIE. I CAN HONESTLY SAY IT WAS A FABULOUS TRIP WE HAD A BALL . EVERYTHING WAS CATERERD FOR. THE ENTERTAINMENT FOR ALL AGES WAS FANTASTIC . WE HAD A FABULOUS NURSE BY THE NAME OF EILEEN , SHE LOOKED AFTER ME AS I HAD A BAD CASE OF SUNBURN AFTER SWIMMING IN THE TOP DECK POOL WHILST CROSSING THE EQUATOR . WE MET A FAMILY CALLED THE OAKS , THEY WERE FROM WALES . I CANT REMEBER WHERE WE BERTHED ON OUR ARRIVAL AT SYDNEY. IF ANYONE COULD PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS INFO THAT WOULD BE GREAT . I HAVE AN ALBULM FULL OF PHOTOS FROM OUR TIME ON BOARD THE FAIRSEA , I CAN HONESTLY SAY I HAD A FABULOUS TIME AND MADE SO MANY FRIENDS , ALTHOUGH WE ALL WENT TO DIFFERENT STATES AND NEVER REALLY KEPT IN CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER.. I LOVED THE FANCY DRESS PARTIES WE HAD . I WASNT TO KEEN ON THE FOOD , BUT I WAS A VERY FUSY EATER , ILIVED ON THE BREAD ROLLS , THE CREW WERE GREAT WE HAD A FELLOW WHO LOOKED AFTER MY SISTER AND I WHILST MY PARENT WENT TO THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT , HE WOULD BRING US A GLASS OF HOT LEMON AND BREAD ROLLS . I DO REMEMBER THE BAY OF BISCAY BEING VERY ROUGH PLUS GOING THROUGH THE SUIZ , WE WENT ASHORE IN EGYPT THAT FOR ME WAS A LITTLE FRIGHTENING AS I LOST SIGHT OF MY PARENTS AS YOU CAN IMAGINE I SCREAMED THE PLACE DOWN . WE WENT TO A PLACE CALLED DJUBTI THAT WAS AN EYE OPENER.. LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANY ONE ON THE SAME VOYAGE .... ANGELA
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Michael Cherry 30 October, 2013 22:45
Hi Angela - I came out on the same voyage on the Fairsea ... but better still I know the Oaks family, I was son Peters Best Man at his wedding.I was 18 on that trip and was with my family. We berthed at Woolloomooloo Please contact me .... Mick
Pat Mortimer (Bennett) 1 April, 2014 07:58
Hi Angela, I was on the same voyage and agree had a great time. I was 15 then and sort of in-between age groups, too old for the schools that was held and too young to go to the bars. I remember it was very rough coming around the bay of Biscay and al so Djubti - we didn't ventur off the ship there, it looked too scary!! I notice the message after yours from a Michael Cherry and he mentioned Peter Oakes, I knew/met Peter on the trip and have a small message he wrote in the back of an address book I had at the time. We got off in Melbourne and are still here now. It's nice to look back on these younger days. Pat
Discovery Centre 12 February, 2012 10:56
Hi Peter, Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977 by Peter Plowman makes reference to the Skaubryn burning in March 1958 whilst crossing the Indian Ocean.  The fire broke out in the engine room and all 1288 passengers were evacuated onto lifeboats.  The fire destroyed the midships and forward part but left the stern almost untouched.  It sank on April 6th after an unsuccessful attempt to tow it back to the Port of Aden in Yemen.
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John Davis 13 February, 2012 09:55
I left Melbourne on the Fairsea on a cold winters day sometime in early August 1966 to start a working holiday in the UK. It was so rough crossing the Bight we hardly made any progress for quite a few days. I was by myself, but soon made friends. Originally I was in an inside cabin with a young Dutch guy, but a new friend bribed a steward and got three of us into a four berth outside cabin with porthole. Boy, did that make a difference to the trip. I had a fabulous time on the Fairsea. Dancing & partying every night, sunbaking, deck tennis all day, waiting excitedly for the next port to come up. We stopped in Singapore, Colombo, Aden, Port Suez with a day trip to Cairo. The ship got held up in the Suez Canal, and the group of us who went to Cairo had to walk around Port Said all night in the heat until it turned up early in the morning. I got robbed in Naples soon after. I remember a large group of disgruntled returning English migrants on board the ship for whom the Oz experience had been a disaster. I will never forget the emotion on their faces as we sailed past the Isle of Wight. I felt sorry for them in their disappointment and what a failure Australia had been for them. How lucky we all are to have travelled at a time when a five week ship voyage across the world was the cheapest way to go. So relaxing, moving through the various climates, wonderous sights, friendships etc Writing this, the wonderful memories are flooding back. Cheers to all ex Fairsea-ers. John
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margaret liddle mclaughlin 21 February, 2012 05:35
my family of 4 traveled to quebec from greenock scotland arriving 27 june 1957 going to toronto it was a dream of a lifetime to be part off of such a time I have fond memories as my parent are gone now and my twin brother also has past but I still think off those days they cant be replaced my brother saw the fairsea in alcopolco mexico in the eighties he wanted to go on but they said no also I heard it went on fire at one time in the caribean is that true
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Discovery Centre 21 February, 2012 10:39
Hi Margaret, thank you for sharing your story with us.  The final paragraph above states In 1969 while west of Panama, a fire broke out on the Fairsea, completely damaging the engine room. The decision was made that it was not economical to repair a ship that was already 28 years old and so on 9 July 1969, the Fairsea left Balboa bound for the shipbreakers at La Spezia, Italy, so to answer your question, yes there was a fire on the Fairsea and it headed to the wrecking years in 1969.
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David Lynam 28 February, 2012 09:35
I was one of a family of six children all under 12 years old on the ill fated Fairseas last journey in 1969. We were an Irish family returning to Dublin after having lived in Australia for 4 years.I was 10 years old at the time so my memory is a bit vague of the whole situation. We were flown from Panama to London then on to Dublin.
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Roger Farley 21 March, 2012 21:20
My wife and three children migrated to Australia on the ten pound scheme, we departed Southampton on the Fairsea on 4Th May 1967, our youngest son had his 1st birthday on board, the trip was really quite unpleasant as I discovered that I was a terrible sailor suffering from seasickness most of the trip, but the mediteranian sea was very calm and we had a lovely 10 days during this stage, the suez canal was still open,so we just managed to get through before the canal was blocked, the Red sea had a huge swell and remember vividly being tossed around our cabin, again sessickness hit me in particular very badly, Freemantle was a delight to see and go ashore and feel the solid ground underfoot, we carried on to Adelaide where we departed the ship and went to the Glenelg hostel, we spent 10 weeks there before moving into out first house in Australia, we love this country and now have 9 aussie granchildren, we have been back to England several times but alwy=ays glad to come back home again.
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Uwe Alfred Jordan 22 March, 2012 16:27
So happy to have found this site to day ! I left Germany with my Parents from Bremer Hafen to Melbourne on board the MS/Fairsea on Dec.4th.1953 (my Mothers Birthday) I was 17 young and had to leave all my friends and all my friends of my canoe club behind ! Prior to embarking my Parents and I were assembled at "Bremen Lesum" assembly camp for imigrants. On the first day there we walked through the camp wen by chance a Familie from my home town Hamburg walked towards us ! ! ! They were Mr and Mrs Walter and Elfriede Sager with daughters Elke and Heidi went to the same school and class as my Cousin Helga and I knew both Girls as well. We asked each other on which shipp we would be sailing and found it was the same one and the same departure date and destination, Hurrah ! Whilst attending our first eavening meal on board my Mother became aware that a few tables from us sat a man she recognized as having gone to School with as a young girl. It was "Fritz Less" with Wife and Daughter Monika, one more surprize ! Next day one more surprize! To find a Schoolfriend of Mother's named "Anita" to be also on board bound for the same destination Melbourne Victoria. Fate can be so wonderfull ! After sailing to and briefly stopping at Genoa Italy, Pireaous Egypt, Aden Yemen and Colombo India before crossing the Big, Big, Ocean's for Australia! Having crossed the Equator and celebratet Christmas twice; (due to the many Greek Emigrants that boardet in Pireous}we arrived at Fremantle WA. our new World ! I would just like to add some more wonderfull strange litle happenings ! "Heidi Sager" represented Australia at the 1960 Rome Olympics in Canoeing and Sister Elke representing Austraia at the European Canoe Championships held at Essen Germany ( both Girls had joined the Fairfield Cane Club here in Melbourne) after finding that I managed to have instant friends and social connections. "Elke Sager met Helmut Riethmueller" in Hamburg wilst over in Germany and He and I once were coached by the same trainer back in Hamburg years before ( I had joined the Essendon Canoe Club in 1957 having been a paddler in Hamburg before emigrating) Elke Convinced Helmut to come to Australia and they were married here and they had tree Children: Mark and twins Karen and Scott. "Heidi Sager" married "Jim Beard" a Commonwealth Games Swimmwer and they have Five Children. " One more stange and wonderful story " ! Before marrying, Heidi and Jim discovered having met briefly before back in Germany wen Jim was traveling through Europe with fellow games competitors in a Comby Bus and asking for directions, both never knowing they would one day become Mr.and Misses here in Good Old Aus ! Sadly Heidi and JIm as well as Helmut have since passed away and I miss them all, plus we have all lost our Parents now.
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Karl Boening 25 April, 2013 21:40
Hello Mrs Jordan, I was three and a half when we left Germany on the same voyage. I am trying to find others to fill some gaps in our history of that voyage. Mum and dad were 32 with three children in tow, mum will be 91 this year. Would like to hear from you.
Jean Williams 31 March, 2012 12:30
It is great to have found this link with my history. I sailed from Southampton with my family May 1958, I was 16. I am now the mother to 3, grandmother to 15 and great-grandmother to 4 Australians. The trip on the ‘Fairsea’ was a lifetime highlight which I thoroughly enjoyed. There was a bad storm in the Bay of Biscay and many were very sick and some injured. I was one of the lucky ones and enjoyed a very very quiet time on deck, the storm was very exciting and a bit scary. All the furniture was tied down, the deck had all canvasses up, the ship rolled a lot we had no stabilisers. Very few turned up for meals, only half a table. I got kicked out of our girl’s cabin because of my enthusiasm with the storm. I would love to have contact with others that travelled on the ship.
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Mike Griffin 7 January, 2013 14:37
Hio Jean My family & I were on that voyage if it was the one that stopped first in Fremantle. I was 8 at the time and remember a bad storm in the Bay of Biscay. We disembarked in Melbourne and went to Tasmania where our sponsors lived.
Ingrid Duinhouwer 2 April, 2012 01:49
My great-uncle Leen Duinhouwer (later Len Dale), his wife Anna Sara Maria Moerman and their 4 children Nicolaas Leendert , Clazina Anna, Albert Jean and Annie came by Fairsea from Rotterdam to Adelaide in october 1952. I found the records of the arrival, also some documents for Nicolaas (Nicky). But I can't find anyone else of the family on the National Archives website. Does anyone have any information about those persons?
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Discovery Centre 3 April, 2012 15:45
Hi Ingrid, not everyone is listed on the NAA index, perhaps contact them directly for more information and assistance.
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patrick moore 8 April, 2012 22:47
i turned 11 2or 3 days after arriving in melbourne on about the 15th or 16th of march 1965 with my dad eamonn my mum barbara ,and sibs. teresa and brendan (brendan always used to say he'd buy everyone a bike "when we got to australia" ..he was about 3 or 4 lol
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Luba Bowden 11 April, 2012 14:02
My parents, four brothers and myself Luba nee Koznedelew migrated on the ship FAIRSEA from Naples to Melbourne arriving in Australia 9 June, 1949. I would like to make contact with other passengers who might be able share memories of their experience(s)on the above ship. I remember going through the Suez Canal and the small boats coming along-side to sell their goods. As many of our parent generation have passed away, I am hoping their children or grandchildren may read this note and come forward with their stories.
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Ingrid Duinhouwer 12 April, 2012 04:05
Unfortunately our family lost all contact with the family-members in my posting, so I'm not able tot contact them...that's wy I posted this message ;-)
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Discovery Centre 12 April, 2012 11:17

Hi Ingrid,

Sorry for the confusion, we were suggesting to contact the NAA directly to see if they have records pertaining to your friends that are not listed on their website. Currently the NAA does not have all of their recordslisted on-line - try using the Making Australia Home Project to see if you can obtain the records you are after. Or hopefully they will read your post!

CHARLES FENECH 12 April, 2012 15:31
My family migrated to Australia in 1954 on the Fairsea Dominic and Mary Fenech with there two children Marlene and myself Charles I spent most of the journey in the ships hospital as i was only 8 months old and had fallen ill.
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David Grosz 14 April, 2012 16:54
Olga Holodnow was looking for information on her father, Piotr Tychomirov, who she said had departed from Germany on the Fairsea in April 1950. He did in fact arrive in Australia on 23-May-1950. I can't see any other information on him other than I believe he did apply for citizenship in Australia.
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Discovery Centre 22 April, 2012 10:23

Hello David,

We have done a quick search of the National Archives of Australia (NAA) and located a record of you father Piotr Tychomirov who arrived in Melbourne per FAIRSEA 23 May 1950. This record held by the NAA contains papers and documents relating to you fathers immigration. The NAA will scan/copy these documents for you at a cost. You will need to go to their website using the search function find your fathers record and the select the ‘Request Copy’ option on the right hand side and follow the prompts.

Olga Holodnow 5 October, 2012 16:22
Hi David I have seen you request for more ingo regarding my father Pyotr Tychomirov. Many thanks for this. I have requested the documents relating to him. Hopefully I will receive these soon. Once again many thanks Olga
Achim Graber 17 April, 2012 08:01
There are two people who posted on here that they arrived in Quebec in July 1953 - Roswitha Pohl (nee Schenk) and Christa Stegemann (nee Fischer) My parents and I came across on that same voyage. My mother would like to get in touch with those individuals. She has pictures from the voyage which my father and I enjoyed, but she ended up being seasick for much of the trip and spent the days on a deck chair with blankets over her. Wonderful memories.
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Terence Elliott 20 April, 2012 01:03
My Father Terence Elliott was a storeman and travelled from Southampton to Melbourne Australia on the 26th February 1958. He recently passed away and I found this information from his passport, amazing.
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Discovery Centre 24 April, 2012 11:02
Hi Coreen, The National Archives of Australia certainly holds records of crew arriving in Australia, so perhaps try The National Archives in the UK for British bound ships.
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Martin and Carmel Belsey 25 April, 2012 08:12
Responding to you Vivien Slater...I (Martin Belsey)boarded the Fairsea in Brisbane on her last voyage in 1969 and met Carmel Gordon later that day when she boarded.Carmel and I have been together ever since. We have fond memories of the Fairsea and that voyage, we met many interesting characters. I remember we drifted for a while in calm seas after the fire, eventually the tug "R Pace" came to tow the ship but engine / fuel related issues prevented that and the "Louisa Lykes", empty, after delivering munitions to Vietnam, I believe, took up the tow and delivered both the Fairsea and the R Pace into Panama. It was regrettable and we were saddened that the Captain (Capt. Cardia) was rumored to have taken his own life after the fire. We remained on the upper decks for quite some time as the CO that was used to extinguish the fire was in the below decks atmosphere and prevented us from going to the lower decks. I do not remember any panic and most everyone took the events in their stride, we played cards and poker dice a lot (Leonard (the dice) Dommet, a musician, was well regarded by the group of fellow travellers we met up with). Also remember an aged lady, handbag dangling off her arm, walking the decks singing Gracie Fields songs to entertain us, definitely not the Titanic! I remember The Americans in Panama were terrific and we visited a US base and I remember being impressed with the base facilities including of course the PX. We were airlifted to the UK shortly after arriving in Panama, and missed out on visiting Lisbon where the ship was scheduled to call on that voyage.With friends (Mal and Terri)we made on the ship we travelled around UK, Europe and Scandinavia. We still have some pics taken on that voyage which we have transferred to electronic format, mostly ships and sea!
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Lyn Bailey 26 April, 2012 21:22
I travelled on the sister ship Fairsky, from southhampton on 22 April 1964 arriving in Melbourne at Station Pier on 22 May...from there we went to the immigration hostel in Nunnanwading....I learnt to swim on board the ship and made many friends...best memory is coming through the suez Canal and doing shopping at Port Said.....
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Peter Alfred Arthur Medlicott 6 May, 2012 14:10
Very interseted to come across this "Fairsaa" post. Like SUE FOUQUES & RODGER FARLEY" left Southhampton on the 4th May 1967.I have a diary type item which records all the 12.00noon positions from there to Adelaide 3 June 1967 after previously arriving at Freemantle on 30th May1967. We had visited Port Said (13/5/67) and via the Suez and arriving in Djbuti some three days later. No land sighted until we arrived Freemantle after there. We have lost contact with the people on that voyage except Lynne Christine YATES along with her father CHristopher and mother Barbara and the other Yates kids- Phillip,Anne Francis and Stephen. I also remember the HOGANS an Irish family with two boys and a girl whose names I dont recall. There was also a Srilanken couple aboared I dont remember their name either the Yate's family went on to Sydney and where put up at Cabramatta and eventually moved to Whyalla (South Australia) where Lynne and I meet, although she was on the "Fairsea"along with us. I married Lynne in 1969 and we now have two kids. Chris Yates died in 1988 but Barbara is still living here today at Whyalla, I could go on for an age. Another family were the Sloss family Bill(who was my best man at our wedding)and who had relations in Whyalla about our time in Australia, which Barbara and to some degree still hanker for "Home" My parents were Leslie and Freda Medlicott. I would be happy to give anybody from that few weeks on the"Fairsea"details of our daily position throught the voyage. Thanks for reading my diatribe
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Sue Crouch (nee Hallam) 5 October, 2012 22:01
I also travelled on the Fairsea on this trip with my Dad Percy, Mum Iris, Sister Linda, and Brothers Bruce, Keith and Simon. We also went to Cabramatta Hostel and my parents bought a house in Cabramatta.
Michael McMillan 9 November, 2012 21:37
Hello Peter, nice to meet a fellow traveller, I would be interested in your 12noon position diary, we are starting to find a few fellow passengers on this site, I was in a cabin 444 with six English lads.
martiena bekker 17 May, 2012 17:58
My family and I, came out on the 'Fairsea'. on the 18th of March 1953. My father's name was Johannes Laurentius Wouters Bekker, my mother's name was Martina Elzelina Bekker (nee van Rieksdijk), my brother Johammes Jacob Bekker, and myself Martiena Bekker. We left Rotrerdam on the 14th of February, 1953 and arrived on the 18th of March, 1953. The ship's refrigeration broke down cruising over the Indian Ocean, it was so hot and uncomfortable in those dormitories, (men on one side and women on the other),and I couldn't sleep, my mother took me on top deck to sleep on the sofa, an officer told her that was not allowed, and my mother said simply, "She is staying here" and I slept on the top deck. We were taken to Camp Bonigilla for approximately 3 weeks. I remember living in 2 of those small units, and going for meals in this large hall. The food was pretty good, but we were always amazed at the complaints from some other Dutch people, we had just come out of a terrible war, and we were grateful to be safe and well cared for. One of my memories is that, we asked for a picnic basket and we had this beautiful tin of corned beef, bread and some other goodies, we sat along the banks of the river and had a picnic, (my first. The units were small but comfortabe. I remember my mother had bought out a whole lot of coulorful handkerchiefs from Holland, and one of the first things she did was sew them together to make a wall hanging, and it certainly brightened up the unit. I also remember the first time a boy had found a watermelon, and we had never seen one before. Coming straight out of the war, we thought it was a bomb, we were all standing around it, wondering what it was. Now looking back that was so funny.After 3 weeks my mother and father managed to get farm work in Holbrook, my mother did houescleaning and my father milked the cows, he had only done office work back in Holland, so it was certainly different. I would cath the bus each morning to go to school in Holbrook.It was a wonderful experience all around, ansd today feel very blessed to have all of these experiences.
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Alison Burns (Nee Bailey) 18 May, 2012 23:43
I was on the Fairsea out of Southampton Feb 1960 and arrived in Melbourne early March.My parents Bryan and Millie and my sister Christine and I have very good memories of the journey. I was only 4 yet I remember the dress ups made from crepe paper, the kids club with a little ship you could play 'Captain' on and the fun we had as the ship rolled from side to side in a storm. I remember someone we were friendly with spent time in the hospital but I can't remember why. I remember the flying fish and the biggest moon I have ever seen. Dad took me out to see it and it seemed like everyone was silently gazing at this wonder...honestly it was huge!! We had a suite but I don't know why; perhaps we were just lucky. I remember visiting one of the ladies cabins with my sister and a friend she had made on board and being surprised at how many little beds there were in such a small room. We heard of families being split up which must have been quite difficult for some people.The overriding memory though is the smell of the paint that they always seemed to be slapping on somewhere or other. I best stop waffling...it seems the reminiscings of a 4 year old are a bit disjointed. I will leave you with this thought...I watched my mother read the letter which informed her of her mother's death..I felt her pain terribly even though I was only 7 years old. We traveled to the other side of the planet for £10 with no prospect of ever being able to afford a return fare and the very real possibility that we would never see loved ones ever again. That won't ever happen again as the world is a much smaller place, travel is more affordable and thanks to technology such as skype we can feel connected over enormous distances. Wouldn't our parents have loved that!
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Michael McMillan 16 June, 2012 21:53
Have spent some time rereading all these posts and have discovered four fellow travellers, Gwen Mehta, Sue Fouques, Roger Farley and Peter Medlicott. I did not do the Cairo trip, lack of funds, but was fascinated going through the canal, desert both sides, then the passing lake as another convoy headed north. As I had no camera on the voyage memories have to do, although these sites are wonderful.
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Katy Sheridan 30 June, 2012 06:31
I recently found out that my uncle Alan Fisher, sailed on this ship from Liverpool in 1957 to Melbourne. I wonder if it was before or after the refit? He was about 18 and he and some friends on board threw messages in bottles overboard when they were a day or two away from Melbourne. The bottles eventually washed up on shore..in New Zealand I think and the story later found its way back home to Liverpool and ended up in the local paper, and we have the cutting!
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Carole 7 July, 2012 12:38
My Mum, Dad & 2 older brothers and I sailed to Australia on the Fairsea. We left England on 17th June 1966, which was my oldest brothers 14th birthday and arrived in Fremantle on 14th July 1966. I was only 3 at the time, so don't have any memories of my own, but I remember my family saying that my older brother got to eat dinner with the adults, but my other brother and I had to eat earlier with all the children and they served things like brains...yukk! I was told that I suffered from sea sickness and that the crew gave me pineapple juice to settle my stomach...I would have thought this would make me worse! There was also a time onboard when I went missing and my mother was in a complete state of panic as you can imagine. After a thorough search of the ship I was finally found in our cabin! Apparently I made my own way to the cabin and the key was left on a ledge above the door and I asked one of the crew to reach it for me and let me in!! When we arrived in Fremantle the weather was awful and the only person waiting outside on the wharf was a lone bagpiper. I even have a photo of this. Our first home for a few days was Cloisters in Perth. We didn't sail over as 10 pound poms, as my Mum didn't want to wait, so they paid for it themselves. I've tried finding details of our immigration, but the National Archives have advised me that they only kept details for the 10 pound poms, which was really sad. I did find the records of my grandparents though, who flew to Australia as 10 pounders about a year later. The information was fascinating and really worth the cost.
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Deborah 15 September, 2012 02:30
Hi Carole, I sailed on Fairsea at the same time as you, I was 8 years old and I had 2 older brothers and 2 younger sisters . We had a great time on the ship and yes I remember being served lambs brains and us all being shocked and saying we are not eating it, ha ha We travelled on to Adelaide but now live back in W A.
Paul T 18 September, 2012 01:03
Re: Carole's comments (7 July 2012) suggesting that National Archives Australia only has details for those who arrived under the Assisted Passage Scheme: I suggest Carole tries National Archives online for a further search. As, to the best of my knowledge, all arrivals into Australia (regardless of status) will have been documented and recorded somewhere among said archives, in this case under ship name and date of arrival at first port of entry. Good luck!
Carole 6 December, 2012 19:34
Re: Paul T's comment (18 September 2012) regarding National Archives records. They do have the passenger list with us on it, which I've had for several years. But they don't keep the detailed records of immigration unless you were a "10 pound pom". I have already contacted the Archives and they have confirmed this for me.
Lindsey Back 23 July, 2012 12:06
Our trip to Australia on board the Fairsea in 1965 was so exciting - for a 12 year old anyway. I celebrated my 13 birthday on the boat with a cake liberally laced with rum! The kitchen also produced the most wonderful jam donuts a tray of which would be carried aloft to the shop with a trail of kids clutching their pennies. It was a bit like the piper of Hamlyn only you follow the smell! Dad was seasick for most of the voyage - there was no stabilizers so it didn't just go up and down but rolled side to side as well. A gnarled old Italian sailor got wind of dad's distress and came down to our cabin with a sea salts remedy - dad appeared at dinner that night to the applause of the dining room. We hit the tail end of a cyclone off WA which made swimming in the pool an adventure. The water slopping first up one end and then down to the other so you were left high and dry one minute then drowned the next. They closed the pool not because of the danger but because the lower deck was flooding! I often wonder where the other 'kids' are who made the journey with us. It was the best experience and I still have my photo's and souvenirs, including a photo of our 'hunky' waiter. I am almost 60 so he would now be in his 70's, perhaps nearly 80 and probably not so 'hunky' but then neither am I!!!
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Alan Crockford 23 July, 2012 15:34
I arrived in January 1957, and left the Fairsea in Sydney.I was on a table of four. The 3 others were Charles and Edith Bailey and their Daughter Judith Bailey. Judith and I married and recently celebrated 52 years together.
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Margaret Breingan 4 September, 2012 11:16
I arrived in Dec 1958 with my friend from Glasgow.First part of trip seasick but enjoyed last 3 weeks.
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Katharine DAFFURN 8 September, 2012 09:09
We sailed from Southampton on the Fairsea in August 1962. Hard to believe we have been in Australia 50 years and to celebrate we are having a party with out close family and friends on Septmeber 22nd; 50 years and one day after our embarkation in Sydney. a
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Eve Richardson 25 September, 2012 23:32
My father Vojtech Pecl sailed to Australia on the Fairsea from Naples arriving August 1949. I am trying to contact anyone who may have known him. He was a Czech national.
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Veronika Hellwig 18 October, 2012 21:34
Hallo, my parents Günther and Hildegard Buckmann and I (Veronika, 4 years old) migrated from Germany to Australia 1954. The crossing-the-line document is dated 28 May 1954. Im looking for the harbour we boarded (Bremerhaven?) and arrived in Australia. Maybe you are able to help me. Many thanks and best greetings Veronika Hellwig
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Discovery Centre 21 October, 2012 11:16
Hi Veronika, we have sent you an email with some further information, we hope it assists!
Peter Streitberger 12 December, 2012 21:04
It's great to read so many interresting comments on the journey on the "FAIRSEA"to our new home,Australia.Great memouries.I came from Austria,arrived in Sydney 6th aug.1955
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Olivia de Biasi 17 September, 2014 11:07
Hello Peter, My father and grandparents come to Australia from Trieste on that journey of the Fairsea. My father was only 10 years old at the time. I don't suppose you remember any Italians from Trieste on the journey? Their names were Sergio, Natalia, and Alessandro (my father) Debiasi. I think they may have been travelling with other Triestini colleagues or my Nonno's - I think the Di Marchi's were their friends. Regards, Olivia de Biasi
David Thomas 29 January, 2013 03:12
Hi....I am looking for a passenger list dated circa Nov 1963 en route to Sydney.I was with the Big brother movement and the guy in charge was called Jeff....any information with be most grateful.....Kind Regards Dave
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Discovery Centre 29 January, 2013 10:18
Hi David! To search for passenger lists online and to order copies, check out the National Archive of Australia's website. Best of luck!
Anthony Vugec 30 January, 2013 21:01
My father Ljubisa (Les)Vugec came with his parents and siblings on the maiden voyage departing Naples on 11 May1949.His sister Milica died on the voyage,my father also took ill and was close to death,forging a bond with the doctors who saved him and who rewarded him with money at voyages end,for cleaning there surgery,enabling him to buy a chocolate bar for himself and each of his family members off a trader at the port.To this day he says he can taste that 1st taste of chocolate.We were fascinated as children of the stories of my Fathers families quest to reach Australia,literally walking from Germany to Naples.It is only as you age you start to understand the sorrow,pain and the horrors they must have suffered and witnessed to embark on such a journey.You also appreciate that the Fairsea was more than a ship for many of these people,it was a right and passage to freedom.The Fairseas place in Australian history should be held in high regard,as much for the many displaced people it helped find peace,as well as a vehicle to help showcase to the world Australias' willingness and compassion to assist others in time of need.It sort of told the world as a nation "we were all grown up".I hope the government understands this and is helping fund your display and research in preserving the memory of this "Australian Treasure" for future generations.
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Paul Trangmar 22 February, 2013 17:43
I strongly agree with Mr Vugec, that the SITMAR liner MV Fairsea deserves special recognition in the history of sea migration to Australia. MV Fairsea was indeed the vessel of hope and momentous life changes for so many leaving a weary post-WW2 Europe, for the chance of a brighter future in Australia. Due to Fairsea's early high passenger capacity (c.1800 persons - later much reduced), I suggest that as Fairsea served the Europe-Australia Displaced Persons and UK Assisted Passage schemes for much of the period 1949 'til early 1969, this vessel possibly holds the record as that which carried the most new settlers to Australia. At my last count, Museums Victoria's blog pages for MV Fairsea also have the most entries, closely followed by those for her SITMAR fleetmate, TV Castel Felice (which similarly served the route 1952-70). One can only wonder how many descendants of Fairsea's passengers alone now populate Australia, thus fulfilling the Australian Government's post WW2 requirement to source a larger workforce for an under-peopled land. My family are part of this story ... from a 1964 arriving family of 2 parents and 3 childen (1 parent and 1 child since deceased) a total of 12 descendants resulted, with another 2 expected! Many ships brought huge numbers of new settlers Down Under, but MV Fairsea - to those lucky enough to have known her and her hard-working staff - was a very special ship for many reasons.
Anita Lorenz (Wilson) 5 February, 2013 15:38
We came out to Australia on Fairsea, arriving in Fremantle March 1958. Adam Scott and Marie Josephine Wilson, with children Anita, Veronica, Margaret, Nan, John, Maree and Adriana. We lived at Graylands Migrant hostel from 1958 to the end of 1960.
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Rhian Jones 7 February, 2013 12:23
My family where on the Fairsea’s final voyage in 1969. Mum, Kathleen Jones, Dad, Frank Jones, Carolyn Jones, 6 and Rhian Jones, 5. January 23 1969, the ships engine room caught fire outside Panama and there was a call to abandon ship. I remember being in pre-school, hearing the horn and then panic and mayhem. We were on board for 4 days when the food and water started to run out. Toilets where all blocked and full, there was no air conditioning and people where sleeping on deck. The crew told passengers that the Captain, Ciro Cardia, on the 3rd day locked himself in his cabin and committed suicide. It was 10 days before rescue. We were tugged into Balboa and then flown home. We have some wonderful photos and amazing stories to tell our children. Rhian Jones
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Tina Spyridis-Fotiadis 25 February, 2013 10:00
My Mum and Dad boarded the Fairsea at Pireaus port Greece, the month December 1953. They immigrated to the unknown, with only one dollar in their pocket, and my Mum was pregnant to me. I was born on the 4th of march 1954, in Bonekilla camp. If there is anybody who can give me information about the departure dates and ports including Pireaus port, and the arrival date to port Melbourne, and also the stops they made on the way, it would be very much appreciated.
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discoverycentre 25 February, 2013 11:00

Hi Tina - the best place to confirm the departure and arrival dates of your migration journey is via the National Archives of Australia (NAA). The NAA hold the passenger and shipping lists for migrant arrivals to Australia. You can search for records online via the NAA’s RecordSearch. For additional information you can contact the NAA directly.

 

 

 

Karl Boening 25 April, 2013 22:02
Hi Tina, the immigration museum has a copy of the shipboard newsletter on it's website. Although it is in German it does have a listing of ports of call with arrival and departure times. Pireaus was arrive 14/12/53 @ 16.20 departing @ 22.30. We crossed the equator on 25/12/53. Arrival in Melbourne 9/1/54, distance from Bremerhaven to Freemantle 11,545 miles, Freemantle to Melbourne a further 1,679 miles - according to the newsletter. Feel free to contact me.
Tina Spyridis-Fotiadis 23 July, 2013 00:25
To Karl Boening, thank you very, very much Karl, for your response and for the information. You write "we crossed the equator". Where you also on this voyage?
Karl Boening 21 August, 2014 20:17
Hi Tina, can not believe it has been over a year since I first posted the reply. Yes I was a passenger along with mum,dad and my two sisters. I was three and a half at the time. Off to Bonagilla for 2 weeks, transfered to Benalla for a while then to Norlane (Geelong). Moved to Mulgrave and in 1959 moved to Oakleigh untill I got married. Mum still alive now 92.
Colin McRae 6 March, 2013 00:53
Our family migrated to Australia on the Fairsea and disembarked at Newstead Wharf in Brisbane April 1961 .My Memories were of a great adventure despite the segragation of my Mum and Sister being a fair way away from myself and my Dad We were allocated bunks on the lower decks with another 10 male migrants We were unable to open the port holes as for most of the time these were below the surface (a little alarming) I alo remember being Seasick in the Bay of Biscay and the Fricasee of Lambs Brains on offer at breakfast somewhat offputing Despite the bad parts of the trip it was an incredible journey and the beginning of a new life for all of us For the information of others because the ship's first port of call was Fremantle the national Archives in East Victoria Park provided me with a complete Passenger List and for the Nostalgic The Captain was Guiseppe Bortola and Medical Ofgficer Was a Dr. Valastro
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Mrs. Lynda Kelly (nee Upton) 27 March, 2013 10:11
Hello Colin. We must have been on the Fairsea at the same time. I was nine at the time. I was also in a 12 berth cabin below the water level with my mum - my dad was in a male cabin some distance away. I remember the food being horrible and people were buying biscuits and chocolate bars from the shop, till they ran out of them. We disembarked at Melbourne and then had to take a train to Adelaide where we lived for the next 6 years. Did you attend the "school" on the ship? Have you still got your certificate for the crossing the equator ceremony? I have. All these years later, my son lives in Brisbane (Graceville) now with his wife and son.
Tom Mitchell 24 January, 2014 20:09
Hi Colin and Linda I'm sure I was on that journey arrived Melbourne March 61 caught the train to Adelaide stayed at Pennington Hostel for a while then moved out to Salisbury where I still live not the same house of course. I remember going to school on board and somewhere I've got photos of getting on the ship and also of the fancy dress when we crossed the equator. I was dressed as Julius Ceaser I thought it was a good thing because we were on an Italian crewed ship. I was 9 at the time and had a ball on board - got into trouble more than once prowling around the ship. Aden memories of dad buying some pearls for mum and transistor radios and remote control cars which turned when they bumped into things - Heading back to Scotland April 2014 - First time back - which made me start research etc and found this site. It's all good - CHEERS TOM
Carol Emanuel 18 March, 2013 20:22
I was on the Fairsea with my parents and 4 siblings, having left London and arriving in Sydney. I was so sea sick that I stayed in the ships hospital for the whole 5 weeks. I wrote a poem about my experience. We arrived 24th May (May Day) 1960. There were bonfires and crackers everywhere and I thought it was for us, the migrants. In England we were told that the Australian people would welcome us. But it was cracker night which was celebrated on May Day. I was 6 years old. My parents were told that Ausralia needed to populate. We started with 7 of us and now number around 68.
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summer 19 March, 2013 11:47
hi, this is agood website
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ash casey 10 April, 2013 12:23
arrived at Fremantle on the Fairsea approx 1966 - parents British immigrants. Unfortunately we were not given citizenship status and as young kids arriving and growing up here it was a surprise to find out in later life that we were not Australian citizens.
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Ian & Marg Welch 25 April, 2013 16:30
We left Southampton in Nov 1966 on the SS Fairsea with our 2 very young daughters, Jill and Jane. I was billeted with another Mum with very young children in a wonderful boat deck suite, next to the Captain's cabin, while our husbands were billeted in a very nice A deck cabin with one other chap, he never arrived for the trip so we elected to swap cabins, the other family requested the A deck cabin as it was nearer the restaurant etc, we were happy to oblige and travelled in style, not bad for ten quid tourists. The journey was an adventure and we arrived in Adelaide on Dec 30th 1966. We had a wonderful Christmas in Fremantle I think and the girls received lovely presents. The crew were great and the other passengers were a lively bunch. The next door cabin had a young family (Ridley) who were also going to South Australia, they were bound for Millicent, but I don't think they stayed there long, we lost touch after a few years. Our family now number 14 with a son born here (Victoria) and 9 grandchildren.
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Martin Burgess 10 June, 2013 00:15
I was a 16 year old boy when left Southampton on the Fairsea in March 1960. I shared a cabin with about 10 other boys from 15-18. One of them told me he had been in trouble in London and was given the option of Australia or Borstal. I think he was bound for a farm in Northern Victoria Two others were Borstal boys who had been put on the ship. If this was true then perhaps there was still an albeit unofficial transportation system for troublesome British youth! Anyway after a few fights to sort out territory and pecking orders etc we all got on well enough. I was disappointed we could not go ashore at Port Said and shocked at the poverty in Aden. The sight of British soldiers in bushby headgear and red uniforms marching about Aden in the sweltering heat roused my pity more than my patriotism. I kept in touch with some of my fellow immigrants after I landed in Melbourne, but we soon drifted apart. I only hope things worked out for them.
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Samantha Lorman 14 June, 2013 22:38
Both my Grandpa, Steve (slavolmil) Lorman and Grandma, Vera Lorman came over to Australia on the Fairsea in 1950 arriving in Fremantle in march. They boarded in Naples Italy I believe, and are of Czech nationality. I am trying to find out more about their history, if anyone knows of them or any information or stories I would love to hear from you or if anyone has any photos of the trip would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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tina 14 July, 2013 19:18
my mother father brother and myself came over on the fair sea in 1966 we arrived in south Australia my mother told them us kids had to eat with them at there table i was nine year old went to school on board i still got the tea set i got for a present at the children party om board
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Stephen Ives 13 November, 2013 20:41
Hi Tina, I too sailed on the Fairsea departing Southampton at the beginning of January 1966, I was nearly 9 years old. We disembarked at Adelaide in February and stayed at Finsbury Migrant Hostel, did you stay there? I also went to Pennington Primary School before we left the hostel and moved to Moe in Victoria. Regards Stephen Ives
Arie van der Starre 15 July, 2013 15:53
My father, mother, sister (4) and I ( aged 10) sailed from Rotterdam on 3/9/1952 on the " Fairsea". Arrived Fremantle 2/10/52. Disembarked Melbourne 7/10/1952. A journey of 10,955 miles! Went to Bonegilla Camp.
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Joe Hakkennes 19 August, 2013 19:53
I to arrived aged 3 with my parants, one sister and three older brothers on the Fairsea in October 1952
christine fransen 1 September, 2014 06:34
My mum who is 93 and dad (deceased) came out on the Fairsea in 1952 from Holland to Melbourne. They also went to Bonegilla Camp. They are both from Hengelo - Borne. They are Gerhardus and Gerharda Fransen.
D.Lochbihler 21 July, 2013 05:12
checked again today for information of a trip via M.S.Fairsea in August 1953 from Bremerhafen to Quebec City Ca with negative results. this voyage of the Fairsea seems to have disappeared in the records. would be very interested to hear from anybody about this. all your info is regarding immigration to Australia and only one trip date to Canada in 1953. I do know- and have documentation - on my trip in 1951. any help available?
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Karen Bijkersma 25 July, 2013 16:50
Congraatulations on what is a wonderful thread. Clearly a voyage on the Fairsea was a momentous experience for the many who made it, and is of special interest to the decsendents of passengers such as myself.
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John Christiansen 3 August, 2013 13:29
I travelled on the Fairsea with my parents and my sister on the voyage which reached Melbourne on 7 September 1958. My understanding is that we boarded the ship at Southampton on 4 August 1958, which was the scheduled departure date, but the ship was in dry dock. My sister heard water filling the dock that night, and we sailed the next day, 5 August 1958.
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Stephen Patterson 6 August, 2013 19:47
I am looking for a 'long lost cousin' who arrived in Australia in 1960 on board the Fairsea. His name is Kenneth John Savage. Any advice on how to find him?
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Alison Lacy 11 August, 2013 12:35
I left Southampton in September 1971 on the Fairstar (from the Sitmar family) and arrived in Sydney in October 1971 (approx 6 weeks later). Aged 8 at the time it all seemed like a great adventure at the time.
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Rosemary Howe 11 August, 2013 19:45
I travelled on the Fairsea as a £10 tourist, from Kent, England, in 1968. I met Richard Tutton from North Wales on the ship. Had a great time. Why don't you set up a Facebook page for the Fairsea? I still live in Australia and worked for the Federal Govt., Canberra ACT Australia for my career.
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Maura Carey 9 February, 2014 17:58
Hi Rosemary, Did you arrive in October 1968, as I did and have not seen a post from anyone arriving at that time. I was a 10 pound arrival from the west of Ireland departing Southampton on the Fairsea, in Sept. There were 900 migrants on the ship and as the Suez Canal had been closed earlier that year we had to come to Australia via the Canary Islands and Cape Town. Coming around via South Africa was very. We had already lost half of the crockery in a storm in the Bay of Biscay. An incredible experience for me, I was travelling on my own but made friends on the ship.
Pieter van der Plank 27 August, 2013 09:58
I was 5 when I arrived in Australia on the Fairsea from Holland. From what Mom & Dad told us it was October 1952. First at Fremantle then Melbourne to Boneagilla Camp.Been trying to find more details but no luck so far.
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Angie Woodacre 18 September, 2013 09:21
I travelled to Australia with my family on the Fairsea in 1963. We left Southampton in May arriving in Fremantle in June. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip despite the days of sea sickness when few people showed up for meals. The crossing of the Equator, travelling thru the Suez Canal, going ashore at Aden, watching the people and camels on the banks of the Canal, the traders along side the boat , all together made for a memorable happy timefor me. As a family we were scheduled to go to Melbourne but since the only people my parents knew were in WA my father insisted we left the ship in Fremantle. All our belongings went to Melbourne. Then proprietor of Graylands Migrant Hostel was kind to the family and the hostel became our home, that in itself was an experience.
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Isaac Duhoslav 20 September, 2013 11:05
My Yugoslavian side of my family, came on this boat. Pretty cool to see what they came on.
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Marni Kerseboom 14 October, 2013 20:42
My father, Jacob Kerseboom arrived in Melbourne from Amsterdam on the Fair Sea on 15/05/1952 as a 10 year old with his parents, older sister and younger brother. I have looked for them on the National Archives website, but have not found their name on the passenger lists, is there anywhere else I can look to find their names?
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Discovery Centre 15 October, 2013 11:23

Hi Marni,

You are probably having trouble finding your family members names online because The National Archives of Australia has only digitalised about 10% of its collection.  The majority of passenger lists in the collection can only be accessed on microfilm on site at the NAA reading room located at 99 Shiel St. North Melbourne.  For more information visit their website here.

Ted Manka 5 November, 2013 17:38
My parents and I also had the Fairsea 'experience'. I was four when we left Bremen on 20 December 1950 and arrived in Melbourne on 12 January 1951. The ship's Captain was A. Stagnaro. An Australian Education Officer, Mrs Codrington, was aboard. I still have a faded but legible newsletter that was printed on the ship. Then the usual - sent to Bonegilla, then Mildura before settling in Whyalla.
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Natalie Krivohlavy 7 November, 2013 12:07
Hi there, My grandmother made the voyage to Australia on the Fairsea. My grandmother has said it sailed from Naples on 11th May 1949 bound for Melbourne. It apparently arrived on the 9th June 1949. She has also said it was the ships maiden voyage. Apparently my grandmother and her sister were selected to depart the boat first. We would love to see any photos of this. Do you have an archive of images there or would you know where I could find? Many thanks Natalie
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Fr James Carles 19 November, 2013 21:34
When the Fairsea arrived in Newcastle on 19 August 1949, the passengers included Father Ivan Lupish, a Russian Orthodox priest, his family, and many who would become his parishioners. He went on to found the parish of Saint Nicholas in Wallsend and served it until he passed away in 1977. In 2009 an icon painted to commemorate 60 years of Russian Orthodoxy in the Hunter Valley included an image of the Fairsea. A copy can be seen here: http://www.stnicholaswallsend.org.au/parishhistory.html#SECTION_52
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Vicki Gisbourne 19 December, 2013 01:05
Hi, My family came out from England on the Fairsea, It departed England on the 19 May 1963, Dose any body know the correct day/date it arrived in Sydney Australia. From the information I have research it was some time in June 1963. Any information I would be grateful
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robert price 29 December, 2013 15:48
i sailed from southampton 8 august 1963, & arrived at woolloommooloo sydney in early september the only fellow travellers names i can remember are brian thripp & william wallace there was also a scotsman called tom who had been in the army are there any other survivors out there
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Bob & Joan Catt 8 February, 2014 23:10
Hi Robert My wife & I were on that voyage, we ha donly just got married and used the trip as our our 10 pound honeymoon. 50 years later we are still here and live on the south coast of NSW. Would be good to hear from you.
Janet Gill 13 April, 2014 12:52
My family and I were on that ship at the same time but we got off in Melbourne Sep 11 ? Parents are gone now but us original 5 kids are still alive and kicking, we also have an Aussie brother born in 1964. I think the food was Italian and us kids lived off ham rolls as we didnt like it. The ship lost its stabilizer some time after leaving port so we had quite a few rough days. My brother had his 10th birthday on August 14 on the ship, and we had a big party when we were crossing the Equator. I have more memories but would take so long, cheers Robert
Bernie Simmonds 10 January, 2014 06:42
My family sailed from Southampton in 16 October 1956. We were the last ship to go through the Suez canal when the Suez Crisis erupted. I remember soldiers with guns on the ship. The trip was fantastic. As a 9 year old boy I had so much fun. I taught myself to swim in the pool, played on the decks at all sorts of games,and had fantastic food. We arrived at Fremantle and were accommodated at the Point Walter migrant hostel where we continued our holiday swimming in the Swan river and playing with the other immigrant children. After about 3 weeks moved to our new home at Quairading a small wheat and sheet country Town 104 miles (160km)east of Perth.
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Christine Moore 10 January, 2014 18:28
I came from England in 1958 on the p&0 ship arcadia with my parents 2 brothers and 1sister I was 10 years old we were allocated to Brooklyn migrant camp anyone else came at same time
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Jean Mottram 19 January, 2014 20:08
My family came to Australia on the Fairsea .Our family consisted of my parents,, both now deceased, two brothers ,one sister and myself 11 years old.We departed Southhampton on 4th November 1958 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme arriving at Melbournes station pier on 11th December 1958.We travelled on a family document.We came via the Suez Canal, after the recent conflict, there were sunken ships in the harbour. We stopped at Port Said but we were not allowed ashore. Little boats came out to sell trinkets by ropes and baskets, hauled up by passengers at the rails.We then sailed in convoy through the canal arriving at Aden the other end.We were allowed ashore for a few hours and travelled to the old town ,passing camels travelling along the road, It was scary at the time.The only other stop for us was Fremantle, we were allowed ashore for the day,we then sailed on to Melbourne.Once we disembarked we were put on a bus to a navel camp behind the Exibition Buildings until we were sent to the Brooklyn Migrant Hostel,we lived in the nissen huts for about 18 monthes.I married an Australian,had a family and have never been back to Britian.
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Discovery Centre 20 January, 2014 09:43
Hi Jean, thanks for sharing your great story and memories!
Frances Bastable 2 May, 2014 20:08
My husband and his parents travelled on the same trip as yourself, arriving on 11th December 1958. He was 15 years old and has the same recollections of the voyage. They were sponsored by a relative so had no hostel experience. His mother was unable to settle and they returned to the UK in 1960 on the Canberra. I am writing a book about the £10 poms and would love to hear your hostel experiences. Frances Bastable
Barry Swain 22 January, 2014 03:57
I have old family photos to share pre 1850 from Willetts, Bridge St. Ballarat, Victoria in case you might be interested?
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Julia Audova 16 March, 2014 20:58
My family, Aleksis and Ada Audova, and my brother and sister, sailed on the Fairsea in 1965. We sailed from Southampton in April and arrived in Sydney on a rainy morning on June 1st, 1965. We stopped at Port Said and Aden and were stopped in the Suez Canal for three days as troop ships crossed. I remember the Arab traders sailing close to the ship with their wares and the passengers bargaining and buying the goods which were hoisted up to the deck using baskets and ropes. My father bought an AIWA radio and a French watch. The radio is long gone, but the watch still works all these years later. We saw schools of flying fish as we sailed through the glassy waters of the Indian Ocean and lurched and fell as we sailed through the turbulent Great Australian Bite. My parents always had such fond memories of the voyage and made life long friends on the journey. The ship always looked huge to me as a child and was an adventure playground as a 7 year old. Looking at the picture now, I can't imagine spending 6 weeks aboard!
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Matylda Horner 21 March, 2014 16:29
My parents, Nadzieja and Michal Pokalski with my sister Regina and myself Matylda, came out to Melbourne, Australia on the Fair Sea in October 1949. We came from Poland via Italy. I would love to hear from someone who was on the ship at the same time, as both my parents are now deceased and I'm unable to get any information.
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Andrew 9 April, 2014 19:16
Hi, Matylda Horner! Sorry for my english. Your father is the brother my great-grandfather Franz Pokalski, who lived in the village Poloviki, Belarus. I remember sending you sent my grandmother. She is still alive. I`m trying to make a Family Tree and find any information about family and relatives. Can I talk whith you?
Ray Dennis 7 April, 2014 04:07
Travelled to Fremantle as emigrants in 1963, I was ten years old. It was an adventure going through the Suez canal and all the new experiences. It was a different world then, it took six weeks two days now on a plane
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Ron Cook 14 April, 2014 12:39
Very interesting reading. I traveled on the Fairsea with my parents and sister leaving Southampton about the 5th May 1958 arriving in Melbourne about 14th June 1958. Didn't like the food, mostly Italian. I was 13 at the time.
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Linda Buchan Wilson 19 April, 2014 12:31
Jock and Jean Wilson and their five daughters (4 to 10) arrived in Sydney off the Fairsea from Scotland on 24 May 1960. Dad had a job as a Forestry Worker at Stromlo, Canberra. The arrival information I am looking at now shows we were provided with overnight accommodation before departing on the 7.35am train on 25 May 1960, where we were met and taken to our three bedroom weatherboard house at the forestry settlement (RMB 113 Cotter Road, Canberra ACT - we used to sing the address on the bus). The arrival information also shows that the "families for Fairbridge" were interviews, landing money, paid, rail tickets issued and movements for the day explained. Further states: "The Fairbridge family, Mr W M Taylor, wife and nine children were met on arrival by representatives Mrs Hudson, Mr Bennett and Mr Phillips of Fairbridge Farms. The entire family proceeded to Molong, and Mr Taylor and his wife and children Robert 15 years and Anthony 3 years, returned to Cabramatta Hostel." Seems odd that they'd leave 7 of their children at the Fairbridge farm............
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Cristina Scala 20 September, 2014 10:08
Hi, my father worked on board of the M/V Fairsea. He missed 2 years ago. I found several pictures of that period, also a picture of the complete crew. How can I public them?
Linda 11 May, 2014 22:21
My father Helmut Norman arrived from Germany on this ship in 1954. He was a young electrician speaking no English hoping to make the most of his 2 year adventure. He lived in Melbourne now resides in Perth, retired with 2 children and 3 grandchildren
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Daniel 1 June, 2014 18:45
How do i get a passenger list: December 1953-January 1954, genoa to melbourne
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Discovery Centre 2 June, 2014 11:05

Hi Daniel,

Passenger lists for this period are held by The National Archives of Australia. In some cases a digital copy of the entire Nominal Roll can be found on their website by doing an Advanced Search for “nominal” plus the ship name (i.e. Fairsea) and the date range of the journey.  You can also search passenger names in the Basic Search function.  Keep in mind that only 10% of NAA’s collection is available online so if you do not find anything you may need to visit their reading room or contact them for further assistance.

Joanna 24 June, 2014 21:42
My grand parent traveled on the Fairsea from Greece in 1954 with my mum Helen aged 4 her sister Fotini aged 9 and her two brothers Nick aged 6 and Steve aged 2
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Michael Collett 14 July, 2014 08:30
I like so many of you share the experience of being a migrant and having come to this wonderful Country on MS Fairsea. My parents, Gordon F.G. Collett and Ruth Collett, and I embarked Southampton on 6 December 1955. Our destination had been 'Bonegilla' via Albury after disembarkation at Melbourne but the plans were changed (by a relevant department)at some point in the voyage to destination 'Wallgrove' after disembarkation in Sydney. My parents and I arrived in Sydney on 12 January 1956. Michael Collett
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Anita Lorenz (Wilson 22 September, 2014 21:09
My Mum and Dad and the seven of us children (Anita, Veronica, Margaret, Nan, John, Maree and Adriana) arrived in Fremantle on the Fairsea on 28th March 1958. We stayed in Graylands Migrant Hostel until 1961, when we moved over the road to Claremont.
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Caroline 1 October, 2014 11:45
My father (along with his parents and siblings) travelled to Australia from Southampton UK on the Fairsea arriving in Australia in October 1957. He recalls the ship going through a massive storm in the Great Australian Bight. On arrival in Melbourne there were people at the docks waving and cheering and he remembers thinking what friendly people to come out and greet the ship. It was only later that he discovered that it had been reported in the media that the MV Fairsea was battling a large storm and was expected to sink!
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