THE GREAT STEAMSHIP LINES.
VI - McILWRAITH, McEACHARN AND CO.
Although it is only of late years that this company has established an office in Adelaide, it has been actively engaged in the Australian trade for a long time. Started as a private
company with English capital, it remained as such until 1891, when it was turned into a limited company, and its headquarters removed from London to Melbourne. Its shareholders are still for the most part English. Sir Thos. McIlwraith, Premier of Queensland, is one of the directors, the chairman of the board being Mr. M. D. McEacharn, of Melbourne. Some six yeara ago, when emigration to Queensland was atill active, the company built two steamers—the Cloncurry and the New Guinea especially for this traffic. They also ran several sailing sbips to Rockhampton. carrying Englishi stores there and bringing away cargoes principally of wool. The company is still largely interested in the Queensland trade through the firms of Walter Reid & Co., of Rockhampton, and W. H. Paxton & C0., of Mackay. It was in 1887 that the company opened an office in Melbourne and purchased the business ness of Mr. John McIlwraith, who had a number of steamers carrying Newcastle coal.| For this trade a new steamer, the Federal, was specially built with all the latest improve- ments, and she is probably the best collier on the Australian coast. A merchandise office was opened in connection with the Melbourne office, and several contacts were obtained for the supply, of various articles to the Victorian Government. During last year the firm entered into a contract with a meat-preserving firm in New Caledonia for the aupply of 500 head of live cattle per fortnight for 12 months. The con tract was completed in December, and the reasons for it were rather curious. The French Government offers a bounty on all tinned meats exported from New Caledonia and as a sufficient supply of cattle is not to be found on the island the meat-preserving firm has recourse to Queensland, from which cattle are imported and slaughtered. The company has a fleet of six large steamers, four of which run in the coal trade between Melbourne and Newcastle, and towards the end of last year they obtained the contract for supplying the State railways of Western Aus- tralia with coal. As a consequence a branch office was started in Currie-street, Adelaide, and a line of steamers was started right through from Newcastle to Fremantle, calling here en route. The steamer Eddystone, 2,000 tons, was specially fitted np for passenger accommodation, and inaugurated the new departure by carrying 97 passengers from Melbourne and Adelaide to the land of promise in the west. The New Guinea is now also being fitted for passenger accommodation, and she and the Cloncurry will trade between the Australian ports and Calcutta via Cossack, Java, and Singapore, bringing back Indian produce to Australia. This will be the first regular line between Australian ports and Calcutta, ,and passenger accommodation will be made a special feature. The supply of Indian remounts will form an important part of the trade. The company has always dis- patched two steamers per year to take Aus- tralian horses to India, and they hope this year to be able to carry a supply from South Australia. The London house frequently charters steamers for the Australian trade and for the carriage of coal from Newcastle, N.S. W., to South America. The company makes large consignments of wool and other Australian produce. It also owns the "Scottish Line" of sailing vessels, which do a large trade all over the world. It has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Newcastle.