Gold Ribbon Banner
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Queen Mary 2 sails by Queen VictoriaSydney has recently played host to a spectacular maritime event which drew large crowds to the shores of its iconic harbour. On 12 March 2015, Australia’s largest city welcomed Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 (151,400gt), which spent the day in the company of fleet mate Queen Victoria (90,000gt).

The rendezvous is the fourth such ‘meeting of the Queens’ in Sydney; and the first time that QM2 and Queen Victoria have crossed paths in Australia.

It also signalled the official commencement of Cunard’s 175th Anniversary Celebrations, with an event hosted at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Here, a collection of current and historic Cunard photographs were unveiled to a large crowd; including passengers from the two liners as well as Cunard officials and Sydney-based passers-by.

The rendezvous in Sydney commenced what is set to be a gala year in the company’s history; with other 175th anniversary events including a meeting of the Queens in Southampton, a commemorative voyage in honour of Lusitania and the three Queens visiting Liverpool. It ends with QM2’s recreation of Britannia’s maiden voyage in July.

Australian Wartime Connection:
Cunard’s long connection with Australia, in particular Sydney, made it fitting for the line to launch their 175th anniversary celebrations in the port. The Cunard name rose to fame in Australia as a result of the two world wars, during which requisitioned Cunard liners transported ANZAC servicemen to the war zone.

During World War I, requisitioned Cunard liners including Aquitania and Mauretania, operated as both troop ships and hospital ships. Cunard liners, in their roles as hospital ships, saved many injured Australians from the battlefields of Gallipoli. In this act, the liners instantly became known in Australia and Cunard became a respected name.

During World War II, Cunard’s Queen Mary was transformed into a troop carrier at the Cockatoo Dry Dock in Sydney. The 81,237gt ship, which had previously been laid up in New York, underwent a radical transformation that saw her art deco interiors replaced with a high-density trooping configuration. This refit, the largest such conversion undertaken by the Australian dockyard, was completed in a record time of just two weeks; allowing over 5,000 troops to embark the ship just days after works were completed. Queen Mary was joined by Aquitania and Mauretania off the Australian coast, and sailed on trooping duties with her fleet mates to the Middle East.

The Cunard troop ships were later joined down-under by the newly launched flagship Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth had undergone a refit in Singapore creating what was at the time the world’s largest troop transport. Once operating as a troop ship, the 83,673gt liner made a historic rendezvous with Queen Mary near ‘The Heads’ in 1941; photographs of which were included in the collection unveiled on 12 March.

The presence of the Cunard Queens in Australia during World War II ended when the United States entered the conflict, following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour. As a result, the large Cunard ships were moved onto the transatlantic trooping service.

However, an unbreakable connection had been forged between the people of Sydney and the great Cunarders that remains strong to this day.

Peaceful Pleasure Cruises:
Cunard’s Australian connection is certainly not limited to wartime service. When the line pioneered World Cruising in 1922, their liner Laconia called at Sydney as part of her voyage. This started a tradition of Cunard visits to the port during what has become annual world cruises.

Laconia’s call at Sydney brought eager world travellers to Australia as well as offering a lucky few of those living in the island continent the opportunity to join the ship mid-journey for the trip back to Great Britain.

During the 1950s, the iconic Caronia visited Sydney as part of her global cruise schedule. Nicknamed the ‘Green Goddess’ due to her unique colour scheme, Caronia’s calls attracted a great deal of attention and generally involved overnighting in the city, allowing the ship’s 930 passengers to explore sights such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and Manly Beach.

Meeting of the Queens:
Over the years, QE2 became a much loved presence in Sydney. Throughout her 40 year career, the ship visited the city 25 times; each time bringing with her thousands of passengers, and hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.

Perhaps the most memorable visit for the ship occurred on 20 February 2007. Earlier that morning, QM2 had made her maiden arrival to Sydney. The arrival attracted large crowds to witness the 151,400gt liner manoeuvre around Fort Dennison before berthing at Woolloomooloo Naval Base.

Crowds grew during the day as curious Sydneysiders made their way to the harbour to catch a glimpse of the largest passenger ship to ever visit Australia. By the time the QE2 arrived in the early evening, an estimated 1 million people had gathered. Slowly, the much loved Cunarder made her way towards the Overseas Passenger Terminal, passing QM2 amid whistle blows and cheers from the watching crowd.

Queen Victoria One Seven Five:
With a long established history of historic Sydney calls, it was no surprise that Cunard’s 175th anniversary included the city on the schedule. With all three Queens on their world cruises, Australia paid host to the liners throughout March 2015.

Queen Elizabeth’s 3 March call paid tribute to Cunard’s connection with the ANZAC’s. A large “100” sign was created using poppies. Passengers, crew and locals were invited to play tribute to fallen servicemen by placing a poppy on the large sign. Hoisted aboard the ship before she departed, it will be delivered to Gallipoli on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the disastrous landing.

QM2 and Queen Victoria met in the harbour on 12 March, the smaller Cunarder having overnighted at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. At around 3:30am under the command of Commodore Rynd, Queen Victoria slipped her moorings and made the short journey to Athol Buoy just off Fort Dennison.

At the same time, QM2 made her way through Sydney Heads and sailed towards the Overseas Passenger Terminal, rendezvousing with her younger sister. Throughout the day, crowds gathered to view the liners. The Overseas Passenger Terminal is located next to the Sydney Ferry Hub at Circular Quay, resulting in high interest from commuters and holiday makers.

Queen Victoria was the subject of great interest for visitors travelling on the Manly Ferry. During her time at Athol Buoy, passengers were ferried ashore by tender. Three of Queen Victoria’s tenders were supported by several of QM2’s large multi storey tender boats to speed up the process. Ashore at the Sydney Opera House, senior officers from both liners joined Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry and photographer James Morgan for the unveiling of One Seven Five. A photographic exhibition, the display consisted of 68 images depicting 175 years of Cunard history. Two spaces were notably absent – having been saved for two very special photos taken that day during the 2015 Royal Rendezvous.

Launching the exhibition, Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia said the Cunard fleet continued to turn heads the world over. “These images are just as arresting as the ships themselves, conveying all the grandeur and beauty which has captured the imagination of generations of cruise passengers over 175 years.”

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - May 2015 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!


Most Popular

  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

  • Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic" +

  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Crowds Tribute to the Last Tyne +

    Annie Blaker The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her Read More
  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

    Scottish Maritime Museum The Scottish Maritime Museum, at Irvine, has abandon hundreds of years of maritime history and tradition and decided to stop Read More
  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

    BP Partnership Class Six new 173,400 cu m capacity LNG carriers have joined the fleet of BP Shipping, of London. Read More
  • Warehouse Boosts Import of Forest Products +

    Freight A new £17mn warehouse is to be built at Liverpool by the national logistics provider Jenkins which specialises in paper, Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Changes in Tolls for Using Panama Canal +

    MSC Pohlin The Panama Canal plans to modify its tolls structure for all types of ships “to better serve the global maritime Read More
  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

    Coimbra Wreck The US Coast Guard were evaluating a plan to remove oil from a tanker that was sunk in the Second Read More
  • Line Sells Long Beach Container Terminal +

    Long Beach Container Terminal The Hong Kong shipping group Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) is selling its Long Beach Container Terminal, California, to a Read More
  • Terminal to be Extended After Record Year +

    Viau Montreal The Viau container terminal at Montreal, Canada, is to be expanded so that it can handle 600,000 teu a year. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3


  • “Prelude” Makes its Debut With First LNG Cargo +

    Prelude The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Shell’s floating LNG facility Prelude some 475kms north-east of Broome Read More
  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • Work Starts on Hybrid Series +

    Grimaldi Hybrid In China, construction has started at the Jinling Shipyard on the first of the Grimaldi Group’s new hybrid roll-on, roll-off Read More
  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

    Stellar Daisy The very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 266,141dwt, was owned by Polaris Shipping, of Seoul, South Korea, and had been Read More
  • Line’s Special Offer to Help Clean Up the Seas +

    The Ocean Cleanup The Singapore shipping company APL is providing free shipping for the non-profit Ocean Cleanup organisation that is working to develop Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Pentland Ferries Loses Appeal +

    Hamnavoe Scotland’s Pentland Ferries has lost its appeal against Scottish government state aid for ferry services between the mainland and the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • The Majestic River Rhine +

    MS Charles Dickens In September of this year, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Riviera Travel river cruise on the majestic River Read More
  • What Next in the US-Iran Saga? +

    Front Altair Over the last year, the escalating trade war between the US and China has created many headlines, not least in Read More
  • Modus Expands Fleet of Hybrid Autonomous Vehicles +

    Saab Seaeye Modus has placed an order with Saab Seaeye for the next vehicle in its Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAU V) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • Plans for Greenock Terminal Approved +

    Greenock Ocean Terminal Plans have been approved for an iconic building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock to welcome cruise ship Read More
  • Leixoes Cruise Terminal, Gateway to Porto +

    Leixoes Cruise Terminal With the growth of the cruise industry, many ports worldwide have been active in developing or improving their port facilities. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
Mv Saint Brandan

Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic"

In 1876, James Gardner commissioned a small vessel to transport quarried stone from Ballachulish to Glasgow. He also opened an Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features


Tribute to the "Mercury"

In the summer of 1968, the training ship Mercury in the Hamble River closed down after many years of training Read More
SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
  • 1
  • 2