A newly released book has detailed the story of P&O’s illustrious history through hundreds of rare photographs.
Officially launched today by Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Pearl in Sydney, the book is unique among those produced about P&O because of the rarely seen imagery it contains.
Written by Australian historians Rob Henderson, Doug Cremer, Rachelle Cross and Chris Frame, “A Photographic History of P&O Cruises” focuses on how Australia and pleasure cruising helped shape P&O to become one of the most significant and famous shipping lines in history.
With a narrative sourced from the only known surviving copy of the P&O board minutes dating back to the 1830s, the book includes imagery from the Orient Heritage collection owned by Henderson and Cremer.
Of the imagery, archivist Rob Henderson said, “I was working for P&O in Sydney when the photographic archive became too large for the company to store. When a decision was made to dispose of the collection, I was able to negotiate to save some of the archive and have spent the past 46 years documenting it. It contains many thousands of images, the best of which we’ve selected for publication in this book.”
(L-R) Doug Cremer, Ann Sherry & Rob Henderson at the book launch on Pacific Pearl
Fellow author Chris Frame commented, “Rachelle and I met Rob and Doug onboard Queen Mary 2. I had just finished a lecture about Cunard’s history and the pair approached us to talk about P&O. By the end of the voyage we had agreed to collaborate on this project. Having access to the rare source documents and extensive imagery allowed us to trace P&O’s story from a unique angle. As Australians, it was a great thrill to see how much our country had helped shape the world famous P&O.”
Speaking at the launch, Ms Sherry said that over a period of more than 150 years, P&O had been at the forefront of nation building in Australia, a role which was continuing in its leadership of the resurgence of cruising.
“Whether it’s the mail steamers of the nineteenth century, the birth of Australian cruising in 1932, the assisted passage scheme that brought a million ‘ten pound poms’ to these shores or contemporary cruising, P&O has always been in the thick of it – and leading it more often than not,” Ms Sherry said.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Rob Henderson, Doug Cremer, Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross for documenting the P&O story as a pictorial record in this magnificent book.
“I commend “A Photographic History of P&O Cruises” to the many families whose lives have been touched in some way by P&O, perhaps the most revered name in shipping in Australia.”