Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Steel, F. M. (2010). Via New Zealand around the world: The Union Steam Ship Company and the Trans-Pacific Mail Lines, 1880s-1910s. In P. Ahrens & C. Dixon (Eds.), Coast to Coast: Case Histories of Modern Pacific Crossings (pp. 59-75). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


The late-nineteenth-century brochure for the Australian and American Line (A & A Line) charts the trans-Pacific leg of the international mail route. The integrated passage by steamer and train cuts a solid red track across the globe, with the kangaroo, bald eagle and lion, the emblematic creatures of the main countries connected by this route, poised dramatically on the globe’s top edge. In the bottom quarter a steamer is depicted in its oceanic element, with the thick black smoke billowing from its funnels commingling with the fiery plumes spewing forth from the Kilauea volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and threatening to engulf the very world. This adds depth to an otherwise empty ocean, depicted as a smooth, blue, featureless expanse marked only by the ports of call at Auckland and Honolulu.