Here’s a brief insight into the life and times of P&O’s turbine steamer Himalaya, which cruised for many years between London and Australia.
The 27,955grt turbine steamer Himalaya was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers-Armstrongs and launched on 5 October 1948, for P&O’s service from London to Australia. The 216m by 27.6m vessel incorporated the same hull design and machinery as those used for Orient Lines’ Orcades, but differed in superstructure and internal layout.
She began service on the Tilbury-Bombay-Australia route in 1949, with accommodation for 758 passengers in first class and 401 in tourist. During her lifetime, the ship underwent a number of modifications, one of which was the fitting of an improved funnel top device to keep passenger decks clear of soot while not interfering with boiler draft.
In 1958, the British liner pioneered a new South Pacific route for P&O, from Melbourne and Sydney to San Francisco and Los Angeles via Fiji, Honolulu and Vancouver. The following year, the 22-knot vessel was routed from Los Angeles to Singapore, and then onward to London.
In the winter of 1959-60, after a decade of service, she had a major refit at Vlissengen, which included the installation of full air-conditioning, after which she was converted to all-tourist class for 1,416 passengers.
Always a popular ship with those who travelled on her, Himalaya completed her final liner voyage at Sydney in October 1974 and, after a one-way cruise to Hong Kong, arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on 28 November, 1974, for demolition by Tong Cheng Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd. That work commenced in January of the following year.