Shaw Savill & Albion’s 20,204-ton Southern Cross was the glamour cruiser of the post-war liners. Everything about her was revolutionary. Until then the liners on the New Zealand run had carried a mixture of passengers and cargo. They looked like the Gothic-class ship seen in the background of this Wellington Harbour scene, covered in hatches and cargo derricks. The Southern Cross carried only passengers, all of them in a democratic single class. Their enjoyment of her uncluttered decks was enhanced by the funnel being right aft, minimising the nuisance of fumes. Listen to a BBC report on the launching of the ship by Queen Elizabeth II in August 1954.
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