Journey Slideshow


Sailed from Tilbury on the 14th of February, 1957. The weather was fairly rough, and there were very few passengers out and about. You could have six breakfasts if you want to because no one else wanted any. This is in the Bay of Biscay.

This is at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, the route we were using because the Suez Canal was closed by the Egyptian war, we had to go around long way, via Las Palmas, Cape Town and Durban.

This is Otranto at quay in Las Palmas, were there for the day. Near bottom left hand corner you can see an old London bus, these are transport in town, the indicator boards still say 11 for Liverpool Street and 15 for Baker Street.

This is view from my cabin, number 586, a single cabin on E deck.

Oh damn, it's upside down. I'll fix it.

This is crossing the Equator heading for Cape Town. There was no crossing the line ceremony, but I think there was a function for the children.

This is a swimming pool on the Otranto, unlike today’s steamers, hastily constructed by crew, and as you can see, somewhat small.

This is A deck at sea, in South Atlantic.

As you can see, there's not that many people around, as children were not allowed on this deck.

This is a view on A deck with some of the passengers playing deck quoits.

This is Captain Edgecombe, who later became captain of the Oriana. Bit on the formal side but he ran a very good ship.

This is the bridge with Captain Edgecombe and the helmsman.

This is on arrival at Cape Town. Signal Hill, and to left just a little bit of Table Mountain.

This is the beach at Cape Town where I was taken for a swim. One of these places where the blacks to right and the whites to left. This is probably the best beach I’ve ever seen, there’s no beaches like this in England.

God it was hot that morning and as unlike Blackpool as anywhere I know.

This is the children's games one afternoon, the nurse is supervising. Captain Edgecombe was very strict, so they didn’t run wild and school was provided all mornings and was compulsory.

This is on a day trip from Durban which was the next stop after Cape Town and we’d drive up into the hills for the day. This is the native village in the valley of the Thousand Hills. The huts have no ventilation and they have an open fire in the middle and it is very smoky.

The chief must have been at least 7 foot and these are four of his wives and one of his children.

This is an outside market in Durban. The others in the group got out of the car and went into the market. I opened the window, smelt the air and closed it quickly. It was revolting.

Returning to the ship at the bottom of the gangway. It was interesting that Captain Edgecombe had a thing about timetables. When all this lot were back on board, the last lot to come off were the ship’s agents. It was time to go, 6 o'clock, he just dropped the gangplank, with two or three of them on it and we sailed - pronto!

This is having arrived in Fremantle. And this is taken from King’s Park in Perth. Had a lot of bushfires in Perth that year and you could smell them about 50 miles out to sea.

After Fremantle the engines broke down and we wallowed around for quite a while. So they got out all the luggage of all the people who were getting off in Adelaide and stood it on the decks as you can see here. Remember a lot of these people had sold their houses in Britain and everything they could transport was with them, so they had a lot of luggage.

This is on arrival in Adelaide where the HMAS Melbourne, an aircraft carrier, was berthed against the quay.

This is prior to arrival in Melbourne and picking up the pilot at the Heads. The pilot comes from this pilot boat, in a small motor boat and climbs up a rope ladder against the side of the ship which is very dangerous especially if it’s rough.

On the left is the wreck of the Tyne, wrecked at the Heads at Point Nepean many years ago. The wreck has now disappeared.

I stood on the deck with a man from the Immigration Department looking at the coastline and he pointed out all the beaches, Rosebud, Dromana, Mornington, etc.

This is on arrival at Port Melbourne on Sunday 25 March 1957. This slide is taken by some friends. It was a regular feature of Port Melbourne for people to come and look at the ships as they arrived and departed whether they had friends on or not. It was open slather to get on board if you could. You’re supposed to need a pass, in these days it wasn’t really necessary.

This is another one taken by friends. If you look closely, you can see me looking straight at you! That’s me in the blue blazer above the first porthole. Oh there was a crowd - there was a crowd got off too!

Aah, there’s Ted Willis with the two coal miners from Nottingham and their wives. I’ve no idea of their names. They went on to Sydney or Brisbane.

That was on the Monday morning on my way to work, the ship was going to sail the next day for Sydney. I could have stayed on that ship another three or four weeks, quite happily thanks.

About this Video

Peter Taylor’s slideshow of his journey on the Otranto in 1957. The ship sailed from Tilbury, England, via South Africa as the Suez Canal was closed.
Slideshow courtesy of Peter Taylor.

Length: 6:42 mins