1964, the Chandris Lines, a Greek shipping company, in the process of expanding its successful line service between Europe and Australia. The business threw off strong profits and high demand led overcrowded ships. In the search for a suitable vessel to expand their fleet came the news that the prestigious America for sale stood as called. In an undisclosed action, not to call the unions on the plan, the technical director of the Chandris Lines, Demetrios Kaparis visited in the summer of '64 and the ship was struck by an all day ongoing leadership on board. The liner exactly fit into the requirements and could be easily converted for the new task.
On 16 November 1964 was the America then sold to Chandris Lines, after the U.S. authorities had 11 days before the agreed deal. For the sale there was a requirement that the vessel for the period of next five years had to be (to which Greece was one) as a troop transport provided within NATO are available in the event of war the United States. The purchase price was U.S. $ 6.5 million. Still in place, in Newport News, the typical United States Lines paint the chimney with a strong blue and black cap was painted over, as well as the old America, which was replaced by the new name Australis. Thus, the Australis headed with black America hull in the direction of Greece.
The end of an era and the beginning of a new career section of the ship.
Australis, which means as much as Australian lady lies, already suggests its new Application: Australia. The Australis had been purchased by the Chandris Lines to transport immigrants from Europe to Australia. The business was very lucrative, as the Australian Government subsidized immigration, which made ??for derecognised ships on this route, if you like Chandris, possessed the necessary to the contract of carriage.
The ship was by far the largest of the Chandris fleet and from that point on, the flagship of the shipping company. The size of the ex-America fit exactly into the ideas of Mr. Chandris, the owner of the shipping company: "We need a ship that is able to carry over 2,000 passengers."
Thus the Australis to be the new task, extensively remodeled in the first half of the year in 1965. The passenger capacity was more than doubled, from 1,000 to 2,300 passengers. This huge increase was achieved by a subdivision of rooms, additional beds in existing cars and new cars in loading bays and former living quarters of the second class, which were no longer needed because the new Australis should be a one-class ship.
At this point she was the largest one-class passenger ship in the world.
Black Australis arrives in Piraeus, Greece. At that time she was the largest passenger ship ever to moore in the port.
-Pictures: Hellenic National Archive-
Australis shortly after her rebuild in 1965.
-Picture: Chandris Lines-
Australis in Sydney.
The goods carried by the Australis immigrants came mainly from England, Holland, Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy. The subsidies from the Australian government, of which Chandris by a corresponding contract of carriage (from 1967 this contract awarded by the Australian government even exclusively to Chandris) benefited, ensured that immigrants pay for the entire journey from Europe to Australia not more than 10 pounds had. He also guaranteed the free immigrants return to a minimum of 2 years in Australia. Many other people on board were envious of the immigrants who came to nothing to Down Under, while they had to pay full price itself. Colloquially, especially the English immigrants were therefore "10 Pound Poms" called.
But not only immigrants to Australia and New Zealand were transported. In addition to this main task also normalpreisliche line connections and world travel were offered. Passengers were able to spend either the whole trip aboard the Australis, or disembark at any port of call to travel with any other Chandris liner continue over the next two years in which the world travel ticket was valid, the journey.
This multi-function Australis always gave the greatest possible mix of passengers, travel restrictions and nationalities on their round the world. Between the nearly 9-week round the world, there were also mainly in the winter season often have the chance to use the Australis as a cruise ship. Versatile, it can not go on board a ship.