The story of the Australis
The early 1960s hit American shipping companies particularly hard. Passengers were deserting ocean liner travel, preferring the speed of jet aircraft. On the other hand, the Greeks were buying. Anthony Chandris, the chairman of Chandris Lines, needed ships to fill the company’s ambitious plan to expand cruise service in the Mediterranean and the growing immigrant service to Australia and New Zealand. When US Lines president John Franklin president listed the America for sale, Chandris moved quickly and dispatched the company’s technical director over to New York for inspection. The ship passed with flying colors, a final price tag of $4,250,000 cemented the deal. On November 15, 1964, the ex America now Australis sailed for the Chandris Ambelaki in Greece shipyard for refitting as a one-class ship.
” There were many modern ships on the seas but none did it better. It wasn’t always the quality of the cabin or the carpet that counted. I visited other famous ships such as the France and the QE 2, none had the magic of the America/Australis. She may not have been as attractive, but to me, the attraction was her interiors, as the S.S. America and the knowledge that she was a friendly, safe, and extremely comfortable ship”.
Former passenger Steve Mullis
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