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In this scene Granny Lum Loy is on the right with her mango plantation workers while at left William Liu negotiates business for the China–Australia Mail Steamship Line

Granny Lum Loy is seen here on the right with her mango plantation workers while at left William Liu negotiates business for the China–Australia Mail Steamship Line.

The China–Australia Mail Steamship Line

In 1914, the outbreak of war led to a shortage of ships trading on the Hong Kong–Australia route as British and German ships had been redirected to Europe. Although Japan was an ally of Australia during the First World War, the two Japanese shipping lines left plying this route raised their prices. This brought about the opportunity to set up a competitive shipping line.

The China–Australia Mail Steamship Line was established in 1917 by members of the Sydney Chinese Chamber of Commerce including Thomas Yee Hing, William Liu, Ping Nam and William Gockson. They purchased the Gabo and the Victoria, but both ships were requisitioned by the Australian government for war service. The enterprise was beset with other difficulties: raising capital, factionalism between monarchists and republicans on the controlling board and other competition, particularly from the British shipping lines which returned in strength after the war.