The Empress of Australia - the biggest passenger ship yet built in this country - was launched today (18.1.64) at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, in Sydney.
The Empress of Australia - the biggest passenger ship yet built in this country - was launched today (18.1.64) at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, in Sydney. The ship is registered in Hobart and is a passenger vehicle ferry that will ply between Sydney and Tasmania. More than 440 feet long and with a gross tonnage of nearly ten thousand tons, she's claimed by her builders to be the largest vessel of her type anywhere in the world.
Before a big crowd and in bright sunshine the Honourable Catherine Sidney arrived to officially name and launch the vessel. One of the proudest achievements of the Australian shipbuilding industry, the Empress of Australia was greeted today by small craft of many types which joined in the launching celebrations.
The vessel was blessed before the naming ceremony by Archdeacon Were, a naval chaplain. Among the big crowd listening to the service were relatives and friends of the seventeen hundred men who worked on the ship. The Empress of Australia is the fifty third ship to be built at the dockyard. This was the exciting scene at the Governor General's daughter named the ship and sent her down the slipway.
SOF BEGINS "I NAME THIS SHIP"
SOF ENDS ON MUSIC
Then she is fitted out the Empress of Australia will carry 250 passengers and more than ninety vehicles. She will be operated by the Australian National Line which already runs eighteen vessels on coastal services. At a ceremony following the launching today, the Chairman of the Line, Captain Williams said the Empress would be the flagship of the fleet. Speaking of the future he said the Line was examining prospects of introducing fully automated ships to the coastal service. Also, he said the 47-thousand ton bulk carriers which were being built for the line would be fitted with automatic systems. Captain Williams said it was hoped these steps would help Australian ships compete on the world freight market. It's expected the Empress will make her first voyage later this year.