18th April 1953

The exact date I arrived in Australia from Germany.

How do I know this after years of not knowing?

I had a letter from my sister, who had contacted the National Archives and got copies of the relevant passenger list. 
I NEVER would have thought to do such a thing. Mostly because I know where I came from and roughly when, but there are no ties there for me. 
I rarely think about Germany. 
Apart from telling people I'm a Hamburger.  (born in Hamburg) 
As far as I know, I have no family left there. Maybe there's a cousin or three, I know I also have relatives in Sweden, according to my family tree , but I've never known any of them and don't feel the need to now.

So I have the photocopied list with my name on it, listed as (Surname, first initial) E for emigrant, F (female) age 1 year S. child. The S means single. 
(Well, I should hope so! Being married at age 1 doesn't seem right!)
In reality I was 9 months old upon arrival, but being close enough to one year, that's what they put. If you were under 6 months your age was listed in months. I know this after reading through the list and seeing another entry for a F 5m S Baby.
Almost all the passengers were from Germany, with a few from Austria and Greece.

Included with the letter were a few pages all about the ship we arrived on:

ANNA SALEN, constructed as the MORMACLAND,  built 1939.
The ANNA SALEN was built in 1939 as the MORMACLAND by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co; Chester for Moore-McCormack Lines.

She was a 11,672 gross ton ship, length 494ft, beam 69.2 ft, single screw and with a service speed of 17 knots.
In 1940 she was taken over before completion by the US Navy and refitted as an auxiliary aircraft carrier.

In 1941 she was commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS ARCHER and was used for convoy protection duties. She collided with and sank the American SS BRAZOS on 13th January 1942, was badly damaged and towed stern first to Charleston.

In 1945 she was taken over by the Ministry of War Transport, renamed ARCHER and refitted as a cargo ship.
Managed by the Blue Funnel Line and renamed EMPIRE LAGAN, she was returned to the US Maritime Commission in 1946.

Purchased by Sven Salen of Stockholm and registered under the ownership of Rederi A/S Pulp, she was rebuilt as a passenger ship with accommodation for 600 single class passengers and renamed ANNA SALEN. 
Used as an emigrant ship on various routes, she started a single round voyage between Bremen and Quebec on 2nd July 1953.

Sold to Cia Nav. Tasmania, Piraeus in 1955, she was renamed TASMANIA and placed on the Piraeus-Melbourne service of the Hellenic Mediterranean Line.
In 1958 she was rebuilt to 7,638 gross tons and in 1961 was sold to China Union Lines, Taipeh and renamed UNION RELIANCE.

On 7th November 1961 she collided with the Norwegian tanker BERAN in the Houston Ship Channel and was beached on fire.  Towed to Galveston on 11th November, she was sold in January 1962 to be scrapped at New Orleans. 

then there's a little "added information"

The Swedish immigrant ship Anna Salen was heading back to New York after attending the Olympic games in Helsinki with some 630 passengers and crew aboard when she collided with the Norwegian whale factory ship Thorshovdi some 3 1/2 miles SE of Duncansby Head. It was thick fog at the time and both ships suffered damage. The Anna Salen had bow damage and the Thorshovdi had damage to her port side, fire broke out on both ships but tis was soon brought under control by the ships crews. The Thorshovdi carried on her way but the Anna Salen was piloted in to Scapa Flow where repairs were effected by Metal Industries, after repairs she was allowed to resume her passage to the United States. Date of incident 13th August 1952.
(three days before I was born)

That's quite an interesting history, although there seems to have been a lot of colliding going on (*~*)


  1. A few ships that didn't 'pass in the night' lol.

  2. Wow! That's very neat, to have a story like that. Imagine chasing after a crawling baby all over the ship. You must have been quite the handful. :)

  3. Interesting!! I know my dad's parents came from Russia & Austria to Canada (He was born in Montreal) & then to the US but I have no idea when or why my mother's folks came here!!

  4. Quite fascinating. She had so many different names and served so many different purposes in her twenty year plus life.

  5. I must do that for both of my parents and my brothers. My parents arrived separately (being married to other people at the time). When my mother arrived she had my brothers with her. All under five. Which must have been a handful.

  6. All so very interesting for you, River. You must be thankful your sister did this...so many thoughts and emotions are stirred through having this knowledge in your hands, I imagine.

    Good on your sister for doing it. :)

  7. Delores; I imagine it gets quite foggy at sea way up in the North there.

    Happy Elf Christine; I'm told I was confined in a cot a lot of the time, somewhere I have an old photo of me on board. I suppose I must have spent time on the floor in safe areas, Mum did tell me once I learned to walk on board, which might explain why I was able to stand so steady taking photos on a Sydney ferry on choppy waters in 2011. Sea legs never forget, I've heard.

    joeh; interesting to hear all the names and jobs 'my' ship had in its lifetime.

    fishducky; can you contact immigration archives in your country? send them all information you have, names date of birth etc and see if they have any records.

    Andrew; twenty years seems such a short life to us who have lived far longer, but for a ship I suppose that is quite a long life and a busy one too.

    Elephant's Child; five boys under five on a ship! your Mum deserves a medal. We were only four at the time, Dad, Mum, sister aged 4 and me.

    Lee; no thoughts and emotions here, I was more interested in reading about the Anna Salen. I feel no ties to Germany or anyone I might still have back there. My sister did this for herself as she still remembers her early life, although how much is memory and how much is what Mum told her over the years I can't say. I am pleased she sent me the information though, I've copied the papers to send to my brother who was born here in Australia, and put my copies in the folder with the rest of the family tree.

  8. Only three brothers, not five, but one was very sick. And a barrel of mischief. My mother's first husband had come out ahead of her, and she travelled alone with the boys. Not fun.

  9. What a history of the ship. Main thing is you arrived safely in your new country, and it's home.

  10. EC; oops, I read that wrong, sorry. still, 3 boys under five is plenty to be watching every minute.

    Margaret-whiteangel; I'm rather glad there weren't any collisions on my trip. Who knows where I might have ended up?

  11. What an interesting history; 'your' ship was really quite busy over the years.

  12. What an interesting post, and how fascinating to find this all out at such a distance!

  13. The things this ship must have seen and done.

  14. Jacquelineand....she had so many different personas too. normal in the life of a ship I suppose.

    Claire; I never wondered about any of it, but now that I've seen the information it's quite interesting.

    Susan Kane; if ships could talk eh?

  15. Wow! What a great piece of personal and social history to get your hands on. Great story!

  16. My parents arrived in Montreal on the Anna Salen, March 13, 1953, Immigrated from Vienna Austria


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