North Coast Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. Sign ; 1914; 03304


Kempsey Museum


North Coast Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. Sign

About this object

This framed printed cardboard sign was issued by the North Coast Steam Navigation Company Ltd (1891-1954) on 8 January 1914, to advise passengers that on and after 1 February 1914, they would be required to hold a passage ticket before joining any of the company’s steamers at Sydney, otherwise they would be charged an extra 10 percent booking fee. The sign also advises other terms and conditions applicable at the time.

The North Coast Steam Navigation Company Ltd was the major provider of travel services for the residents of the Macleay and transported goods, produce and mail for over 60 years. Its services were at a peak around this time, the years immediately prior to the completion of the north coast railway line. It is likely that its services were in such high demand that it chose to capitalise on that demand, including charging more for deck berths and not accepting cheques for passage payment. It is understood these terms and conditions were in place until 1921.

The North Coast Steam Navigation Company also played a major role in enhancing the social life of residents living on the North Coast as their ships and crew were frequently provided for social functions, for the many regattas held on Northern Rivers, and carried produce and people, at reduced rates, to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney.

Departure and arrival information for the company’s steamers was communicated through regular advertisements in local papers. Passengers were advised of the latest conditions of travel, using signs like this one, placed at Booking Offices and at company wharves at ports along the coast between Sydney and the Richmond River.

The sign serves as a reminder of the days before reliable road, rail and air services were available, when the majority of goods, produce and people were transported by sea. It evidences the North Coast Steam Navigation Company’s role as a major provider of transport services to the entire North Coast at a time before rail services and when without other competition, it was able to dictate its terms and conditions without fear of loss of business.

Garry Munday & Peter Ryan
14 August 2014

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