Routes, 1900s–20s

Routes, 1900s–20s
Source: Museum Victoria

With the introduction of compound steamers, ships no longer needed the winds encountered on the 'Great Circle Route' to assist their journey to Australia. By the turn of the twentieth century, steamships were increasingly making the journey via the Suez Canal.

The most common route to Australia from Britain and Europe was via the Suez Canal. Stopovers were at Port Said in Egypt, Port Aden in what is now Yemen, and then via the Arabian Sea to Colombo in Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon). From there the route continued across the Indian Ocean to the Western Australian Port of Fremantle.

The other route was via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the African continent. This route took the big ships from London via Lisbon to Cape Town, and then across the Indian Ocean to Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney.


Use the Internet to prepare a presentation on:

  • The history of the Suez Canal.

  • The ports that ships called at between England and Australia (Suez and Cape of Good Hope routes).