ss Changsha - sailing between Australia and HK | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

ss Changsha - sailing between Australia and HK

My recollections are that my family sailed from Hong Kong to Australia in late 1955 on a ship named the ss Changsha.   

It is just odd I cannot find any record of the Changsha sailing at that time (1950s).  Records I've found put a ship known as the ss Changsha as being new around 1886 and she was sunk in the war in 1941.  The ship we sailed on was certainly not that old!  Perhaps another ship was later named the Changsha? 

Does anyone have knowledge of ships sailing between Australia and HK who can enlighten me - or perhaps sailed themselves on the ss Changsha in the 1950s? 



Notes from Barbara:

[In 1952 my husband Frank and I and 3 children went on leave from HK to Oz.]  About Feb/March we sailed first on a lovely Blue Funnel ship the 'Peleus', to Singapore; then transhipped to a much smaller (and inferior) Blue Funnel ship the 'Charon' to Fremantle as we were to spend our leave in Perth.   Later we went  by train to Sydney where Frank's parents lived, eventually returning from Sydney to Hong Kong about October on the 'Changsha' which then was almost new and a lovely ship [...]

There are lots more photos and information about the Changsha over at

Regards, David

 Thank you David !  (and Barbara)

The www.ssmaritime site was MOST interesting - what a great history.  Strange I could find nothing about it on Wikipedia or anything else  I googled. But my Qs are answered - I was not imagining things - it was the MS Changsha we left HK on.  (And obviously there was another ship, the ss Changsha, a lot earlier.)


Memorable experiences on the Changsha -

"Those were the days"!!!   The big wharf, the crowds of friends and families watching us leave - the multitude of colourful streamers connecting them to us - the three big blasts from the huge funnel of the ship - the ropes being tossed aside - the slow pull away - the inevitable breaking of the streamers - the city becoming smaller and smaller - until finally nothing but blue ocean as far as the eye can see - and that little tug at your heart strings - "good-bye Hong Kong". 

When we left in late 1955 we hit a typhoon about 2-3 days out - the ship was tossed like a cork in a bottle - the waves were huge; I watched through  port holes as the mountainous black waves came towards us, higher than the ship, and wondered if we would ever get over it!  They would hit the ship with such a great bang it would shudder violently with the impact. My brothers and I had 'fun' making our way down the corridors between the cabins - with arms outstretched we played a game of bouncing from wall to wall as the ship rolled.  Then my brothers got sea sick - along with everyone else - and it left only Dad and I in the lounge - it was eerily quiet. Down the corridors you could hear the vomiting. The lounge smelt a lot nicer than in our cabin! - so we spent quite a bit of time there, maybe that why I remember it.  Though I was afraid of the monstrous waves I guess at that age I was not really aware of the danger we were in.  These days I would find such an experience horrific!

Another, more pleasant memory, was the 'crossing of the equater' - it was a fun occasion organized by the crew: 'King Neptune' would hold court - near the swimming pool - and the poor victims [volunteers of course!] would be brought to him for 'sentencing' - which always involved being decorated with paint and then 'walking the gangplank' to be tossed into the pool - if you didn't jump first!




I have 2 "new" photos that should probably be taken from the same ship.

Wonder if someone can confirm it.

Hi yes my mum did we have photo of the ship. I can't attach the pic. 

MV Changsha and Taiyuan
MV Changsha and Taiyuan, by Cathy Lum-Webb

The ship after it was sold to Pacific International Lines, and renamed to become the M.V. Kota Panjang:

Kota Panjang 11 80 m copy.jpg
Kota Panjang 11 80 m copy.jpg, by degahkg

My 1st sea voyage was as a toddler with my Mother on the Changsha in August 1953. This was her Voyage 16 from Hong Kong to Sydney. In November 1963 I sailed with my parents from HK to Sydney on her sistership the Taiyuan. The former trip, obviously, I do not remember but I do the latter which was most enjoyable except for the rough seas on the final leg from Brisbane to Sydney.

You are correct there was a later ship of the same name. I sailed on her sister 'Changchow' after it was bought by the Admiralty and renamed 'RFA Resurgent'. A beautiful ship. There is more information on the Wikiswire site.