Publication Details

Steel, F. (2013). An ocean of leisure: early cruise tours of the Pacific in an age of empire. Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 14 (2 Summer), 1-12.


In the late nineteenth century, the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand (USSCo.) offered a series of cruise tours from the ports of Sydney and Auckland through the islands of the South Pacific. The cruises complemented excursions to the Mediterranean, the "old country" and other "worn lines of pleasure," remarked the Sydney Morning Herald in 1898. They even offered a novel contrast to "doing Japan." Australian settlers had largely ignored their island neighbours, the newspaper continued, yet the cruise program indicated the range of "splendid holiday resorts" that lay on their doorstep. Although regular trading steamers made the Pacific increasingly accessible, it had been difficult until this point in time to take a "comprehensive trip in the South Seas under the conditions desired by exacting tourists."



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