Asia Trip (1963)

Now we were well-organised with our 3 Zimpels Arcade shops we decided that we needed a break somewhere. A long sea voyage was the answer and the destination was to be Japan via Melbourne and Sydney and then Rabaul, Yokohama, Kobe, Hong Kong, Manila, and on to Port Moresby. Back to Sydney and Melbourne and train to Perth. Depart Melbourne 24 August and arrive back 15 October 1963. On the final run down the Australian coast we would return via the inner route of the Great Barrier Reef. We were lucky to get away.

The day before our departure we were crossing the Terrace as the guests of Rex Marsh (AMP) our Adjutant in 14 Squadron RAAF to have a cuppa at the Lattice Tea Rooms at WA Newspapers arcade via the Terrace white-painted crosswalk. Joan was alongside me as we were halfway across, with other people, when a Red Cross type vehicle ran straight through. We were all in big trouble. I tried to pull Joan back as people scattered but the vehicle hit her and then dropped her to the ground. An ambulance was soon on site. Joan had to have medical treatment after the ambulance took her to the hospital. Her arm and leg needed treatment and we had to worry about our departure for Melbourne. We had planned to take the train to Melbourne so on Saturday 17th I took the luggage and kept to that schedule. Joan flew over after her medical O.K. to travel. She was clear to travel but needed to take it easy.

Lattice Tearooms, 125 St. George’s Tce, 1951. Source: SLWA

A warm welcome from people we first met in Perth and found that they had arranged visits to their offices or factories. Among them Greeting Card people including John Berryman (and Elaine) from Specialty Cards. John’s Dad was helpful showing us around Melbourne. We were invited to dinner with the Chairman of Toledo Scales who lived up in the Dandenongs and were driven up there by John Berryman’s father. Mr and Mrs Marland were great friends of Joan’s grandparents, the MacKenzies. They ran one of the best-known taxi companies in Melbourne. One main sweets supplier for our Perth “Chocolate Box” was Newmans Chocolate. The principal there was Mr Les Sharp and just before sailing off to Sydney and Japan they surprised us by delivering to our cabin the largest box of chocolates they made and a nice card. We ate the last few when we sailed into Yokohama 18 days later.

Australian Jewish News, Friday 3 November 1961, page 14 – Newman’s Chocolates. Source: Trove

On 24 August we left the Victoria Hotel (in later days we always stayed there – very convenient and good service). Away we went with John and headed for the Port. Just eye-checking the luggage and the most important one is not there – panic and back to the Victoria. On the steps there was our smallest case with passports, tickets, and traveller’s cheques. Honest days. ALL ABOARD the Kuala Lumpur. Waves to everybody as we set out for the waves of the Pacific. Later down to our cabin to unpack. Porthole, private shower and toilet, and fully air-conditioned. Nice! British ship/Chinese crew. Owners – Swire & Sons, and China Navigation Company – 1st Class Only – passengers 200 limit. 90 stewards/cooks. 517 feet long, 12,555 tons. A Twin-screw motor ship. Swimming pool – deck chairs – A modern Filipino dance band at night – also part of the crew. In those days Dalgety’s Travel Service – cnr William Street/Terrace.

Beverley Times, Thursday 25 February 1960, page 7 – Dalgety’s Travel Service. Source: Trove

Sunday 25 August was cold and wet but not too rough. Joan spent the day eating and sleeping. The doctor dressed her hand injured from the Perth accident. I think he came from Karachi. We watched the Cha Cha dancing and the other entertainment in the lounge. We docked at Sydney at 5pm. We saw navy ships HMAS Melbourne and a couple of Navy cruisers going out for practice and mock battles. Helicopters from Melbourne flew out with them.

Kuala Lumpur Entering Sydney Heads, ca 1960s. Source: Stephen Berry,

We were in port for two days. We checked out the wharf activities and the local area. I dashed up to Sydney, my home for some years (1924 to 1928), to buy some tickets in Australia’s biggest draw of the sweep consultation. Did a bit of other small item buying. Joan kept close to the ship. She walked around Circular Quay, and did a bit of light shopping. “All Aboard” and we were off. Many ships in the Harbour – tooting here, tooting there. Navy ships joined in. We steamed out at 1pm 27 August heading for Rabaul where we expected to anchor on Monday 2 September.

These notes were kept, day by day, by Joan. Her wave to wave record of our cruise helps me to put the whole story together. We would be away from Perth for 51 days. Anything could happen. It did. I guessed the distance covered in the first 24 hours and was duly presented with the prize – 15 shillings and two pence. Joan had her injured hand dressed by the medico. We looked the ship over for a bit of exercise. Many round-the-ship walks. We could see the coast clearly most of the time. We moved away from the Queensland coast and on to Rabaul, five days away.

Entertainment sessions to keep you busy – voluntary of course. A meeting to form sports groups – 11.45-12.45 Morning Strings. 1700-2000 Tea Music and Cha-Cha Lessons in the Ballroom. Also Housie-Housie (Bingo?) in the Lounge/Ballroom. One film we saw on the trip to Rabaul was “The Fast Lady” a recent film in the UK. It was about a young chap with an old Bentley who beats the crooks and gets the girl. It had a stack of jokes about cars. Friday 30 July arrived. We were up and about early. It was nice and sunny. No trouble to doze off in a comfy deckchair. Great fun at lunch. Ordered fish and chips and got fish, then steak and chips to follow. For dinner sweet and sour pork with rice. Chopsticks were the weapons of attack. No trouble for us.

The Fast Lady, 1962. Source: Wiki

We had made new friends in Stan and Ruth Lowe and with May and Les Greene. We joined in shipboard activities including quiz sessions. A lot of fun for we were all relaxed and far away from our regular work activities. Card games and the meanings and spelling of words. My score was 17 out of 25. My version of numismatics was not accepted by the “judge” though right. Not to worry – it was only a game – a fair time on these. Race meetings – born lucky was a small bet – Joan lost a 1/-, “Big Spenders”. One of the pleasures of sea trips is that you make friendships that last for the voyage and beyond. Only 2 days to go. We joined in the deck games a few times. Bought tickets in the popular “Kuala Lumpur” Race Meeting. Sunday religious times for varied services. C of E for us.

Preparations for our next day arrival at Rabaul, capital of New Britain. We cruised into Simpson Harbour early am and idly watched the wharf workers get into gear to unload. People walking up the gangways attracted our attention. One of them, a big tall man, approached us with a few words. “I am looking for Mr Cash. Where could I find him?” We made ourselves known and everyone relaxed. He was John Foldi the District Commissioner for New Britain and had been advised by his Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, that we were heading John’s way. Mrs Foldi invited us for a cup of tea and then we were all off on a tour of Rabaul.

Koko Coastal Road had nice views, then we motored along Burma Road to Caldira. A run around Rabaul through the township and then to the Vundareima Methodist Mission. Then it was the Karavia Agricultural Experimental where New Guinea experimental work related to the development of agriculture was carried out. The Nonga Native Hospital was next. Doing good work there. The Airport and the Golf were alongside. Vu Vu Mission Teachers College-Kurakakaul Livestock Experimental Station – Via Mala Guner Village. Weather? Some midday rain but it fined up. The tour over we were invited to have dinner with the Foldis. It was very nice and we appreciated the trouble they went to for us to have a completely pleasant day. We talked over many things after dinner and then it was back to the “Kuala Lumpur”. Sailing time midnight. Boarded at nine.

On Tuesday 3 September we awoke to a fine warm day. We coasted along southern coast of New Ireland and New Hanover. The ship was making good speed in a calm sea. Rain squalls in the night caused the skipper to start, for the first time on the trip, to adopt the “Whistle blowing” procedure. Meals excellent – table service also. We were now heading for the Equator – many of us stayed up for the event which saw us cross at 2.40am Wednesday 4 September 1963. There were some showers but it did not slow up the crossing celebrations. Neptune and Court came aboard later in the day and despite some passing rain showers these two beings from the deeps “processed” some “willing” passengers. Not us.

Document – The China Navigation Co., Ltd, Neptune Rex Oceanorum – Crossing The Equator on M S Kuala Lumpur, Doug Cash, 4 Sep 1963. Source: Doug Cash Collection

Thursday 5 September and we had a steady ship – few clouds and a warm day. We sailed past Pikelot Island of the Caroline Group. A beautiful sunset to see. Showers later that night.

Friday 6th and Sat 7th were cloudy dates. We were all varying our time with eating and resting and joining in with the group activities, The “Kuala Lumpur” cruising along. On the Saturday “landfall”, the sighting of Saipan Island of World War II fame. We spent that day coasting off the Northern Mariana Islands. Place names like that reminded me of my RAAF service in the Admiralty Islands, north of New Guinea, and at Madang which we will visit on the way back after leaving Manila. More later. Sunday 8th. Fresh winds with a low swell. No problem for us. The ship rolled easily all day. Temp? “low 80s”. A day gone? Not quite, Sean Connery as James Bond to deal with “Dr. No”. What a success the series was. For 15 years top box office. I remember “From Russia With Love”. “Dr. No” was the first one. The series went on after Sean but not in the same class.

Dr. No, 1962. Source: Wiki

Monday 9th and the ship was cruising along rolling easily to a quarterly swell. Message over the PA, landfall sighted. The southern part of the Ogasawara Islands could be seen and we coasted past these islands notable for their many rugged cliff-like faces. We enjoyed being advised about these things during the day as we strolled the deck or read a book. The latest news and information were read out over the PA System. We were not short of things to do. May and Les Greene and Ruth and Stan Lowe were always ready to play “Oh Hell” cards. 

Tuesday same pattern – good food, games and re-run of Dr. No. The weather changed though. Some heavy rain and strong winds. The weather improved for landfall upon the Japanese coast. We made passage into Yokohama Bay and the vessel anchored at 23.00 just before the evening fog set in. On Wednesday 11th we moved to the South Pier. The Mayor and Miss Yokohama came on board to welcome everybody to their fair city. We had plans and we got off. We were going to see Yokohama then take the train to Kobe in due course to see Kobe and rejoin the ship. Our first move was to the Japanese Tourist Bureau (JTB). There we would get our rail tickets to Kobe and reboard the “Kuala Lumpur” there on Wednesday 18 September by 5pm.

JTB made our reservation for the Imperial Hotel stay over and tickets and seating for The Mikado Night Club show and also the stage show “My Fair Lady” with Japanese actors – Headsets-English. The players were top Japanese stars and 13 Broadway dancers. The musical was at the Takarazuka Theatre for the whole month.

Document – Ticket, My Fair Lady, Tokyo, September 1953. Source: Doug Cash Collection

JTB (travel agent) gave us hotel information for Tokyo and we had them book us in at the Imperial. One of the most famous in the world. It was opposite the Palace Gardens of the Emperor. Beautiful!! The original was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. He was one of the best-known architects in the world. Criticised for his ideas now and then. So with his design of the Imperial. When the Kanto earthquake of September 1923 razed Tokyo to the ground it was terrible. 100,000 dead – 1 million refugees and almost 2 million homeless. Wright’s Imperial Hotel stood fast. It was the only building that withstood the earthquake. His critics were silent but amazed when seeing it still there. The Imperial Hotel was pulled down late in 1967 and rebuilt. The magnificent front entrance lobby was moved to Nagoya. We were to see it there on a later visit to Japan. The Imperial was a pleasure to stay at. The service was excellent.

Imperial Hotel, ca 1930s. Source: Wiki


We found splendid arcades near the Imperial, double storied. There were shops below the train lines where the streets were. We were in 1963. It was the Japanese just 18 years after the War, working hard for a better Japan from their point of view. We had a great time at “My Fair Lady”, 5.30 to 9pm. Still have a large coloured programme. Back to the Imperial. Saw May, Les, Ruth, Stan. Agreed on a night for going to the Mikado. It was there when happily engrossed in the show that Tokyo had a small earthquake. Big enough for us to be concerned. No more – it turned into little rumbles.

The ship tours officer organized a bus tour to Nikkō. Bus to Yokohama station and train to Kanaya Hotel for lunch. Now off to Nikko by bus. Nikko? What next ? Up a steep highway with crazy turns – 30 or more – You never knew what might happen. The corners were so acute that a bus had problems. There were large mirrors fixed to the hillside to guide the driver around each bend. Easy? The bus would go partly around then reverse, forward, reverse, forward, look in hillside mirrors many times, with advice from the passengers who dare not look out (praying?) or down! O.K. off we go to the next. All safe.

Nikko had other surprises. Nice lunch at Kanaya Hotel. Slow service but O.K. Who was going anywhere? We were. Off to the famous Yōmeimon Gate (Main Gate) and Inner Shrine of Tōshō-gū with 100 steps. Lovely shrine. Lake Chūzenji and Kegon waterfall. Last trip to toilets. Men on side wall – ladies doored cubicles opposite. Down the same tricky road but reached the main terra firma O.K. A good time for all duly finished off by a delightful dinner at the Hotel New Japan. Then back to the ship and down to the cot.

How could you see Tokyo all at once? Up the Tokyo Tower and there you are. Next day shopping in the Silk Arcade. Still have some “buys” untouched but looking nice. Visits to Australian Embassy and Trade Commissioner. Saw tall Tokyo Tower – no time to go up. 

Hundreds of school children were there and more everywhere. Spent time in the Tokyo station area especially in the big Daimaru shopping centre. Children were well provided for when their parents were shopping at the store. The open air roof floor was very large. It was reserved for open-air games and other activities for children of all ages. They were quick to race for the top where they were kept in check by the staff. 

The Arcade near the Imperial Hotel had many shops and two big stores. Many of these were well under the railway lines going right down South and way up North. The main lines were separate. The roads go under. One night we went to “The Mikado” with our sea-going friends on “Kuala Lumpur”, May and Les, Stan and Ruth. At a critical part in the show a loud rumble from way down in the building caused some concern to everyone. Luckily no more. The locals were more used to this happening but they relaxed. So we did. Just one of life’s experiences along the way? The star as per programme was Yma Sumac (Peruvian coloratura soprano) – (Amy Camus, said some). Her performance was great and the applause was tremendous. 

Saturday 14 September – our clocks were still ticking – We were OK. After breakfast we took a taxi to Diniaton / Dineaton (?) Printing works. The “Reader’s Digest” was printed there in Japanese for the Nation. Well-printed with lovely colour work. As I remember, the English printing issues for Australia were printed there. They had them. After refreshments and good-byes we took a taxi to Ueno the home of the northbound railway system as I remember. We went to Ueno Park. Had a ride on Monorail. Walked down “Street of Books”. All books on one side of that street as far as you liked to walk. Mitsukoshi Department Store. Big Statue in Centre – Forgot name but beautiful colouring. Another show at the Mikado. A bit odd but we were invited. The “Floor Show” had braless girls in boxlike frames circling around near the ceiling set to music. Different lights and shapes behind large sheets of glass it had a sort of “waterfall” effect. It all looked great. Another tremor no more just a shake, and no alarm needed. All O.K.

Sunday 15 September – Breakfast time at the Imperial and checked out from the Imperial. Early risers. One of the top hotels, We stayed there again in later years. The Imperial had nice staff and we were looked after very well.  English speaking we had no problems. They spoke it quite well. My Japanese was pretty rusty after RAAF service but we could still have a bit of fun with it. They had lessons on the “Kuala Lumpur” on the way up. I recall that while in Yokohama we were looking for a likely camera shop in a taxi. The driver was moving along the street when I saw one – “Coco Deska” – and the taxi stopped dead. The driver pulled in to the kerb, took his money and was away. Just another day in the life of a Japanese taxi driver!!

A taxi to the Rail Station and a Red Cap took our cases. On to our air-conditioned carriage. Lunch on board as we went through many tunnels. Market garden to see, along with poultry farms. Bridges and new roads being built. Golf courses running under the bridges and out into the open. Keep them low son, no hitting trains allowed – penalty – Lose 10? In some parts of Japan at the time of writing people would live under or alongside railway overpasses. A small aerial could be seen sticking up alongside the “roofs” under the lines for radio use. Views of the ocean from time to time and of Mount Fuji. We arrived at Kobe where we had been booked in to a Ryokan – Japanese Inn. In we went and examined it – luggage already in while we shopped. There were no beds. You each slept on a separate Tatami. Almost the same as sleeping on the floor, and we did. Joan had problems with her leg, still sore from her pre-trip accident in the Terrace. Sleeping on the floor – without sleeping – A temple gong at 5am. Helping Joan up with her leg problem was not easy but finished O.K. 

Just an experience to remember. Freshened up. Now “breakfast”. It was Monday the 16th. We taxied to Kyōto station. Then train to Sannonyuma port station and taxi to the “Kuala Lumpur”. A welcome cup of tea aboard ship and a rest after the “night of no sleep”. After lunch, back to Kobe to shop. A big store was our target and there it was. We bought many things. Most staff did not speak English. Shoe laces were needed. Where to get? Silence. Pointed to shoes and put fingers on my laces. Silence. Tried again – headshakes – action – a new chap joined in – “You want to buy shoe laces?” – He was English speaking. When he told the staff they laughed, and so did we. They all relaxed when my needs were identified. Now loaded up so back to ship for dinner. Tired so early to bed.

Now Tuesday 17 September – Early breakfast and train to Osaka. Off we get and make for the department stores, opening 10am. We looked around for a while. As retailers ourselves we always looked at what was happening in stores in other countries. Ideas were always there to be picked up. Next we looked over the real Japanese old-style arcades. Narrow and fairly dark but lots of ideas and bargains. Novelties especially. We went to a Trade Fair. Had lunch there. We asked about TV sets. However they were not built for Australian use and exported there so far. We then had a quick look at the Daimaru store with its 8 floors. Plenty of stock nicely displayed. Escalator girls wipe rails every time someone puts a hand on the rails. They said “arigatou gozaimashita” and we would “Thank You” them. In later visits just the same. A busy tiring day. Back to the ship for dinner. Early to bed.

Wednesday 18 September – Departure day – leaving at 9pm. Off to Hong Kong. A whole day still ahead of us. Plenty to see. Shopping Centre first on the list after breakfast. Meals great. Still have the ship’s menus. Beautifully printed in Sets. Just part of the overall presentation of the services to passengers. We went to nearby shops to fill in a bit of time. The big stores kept us busy for a while but we soon changed direction. We walked down a quiet street to see the older area and got a big surprise.

We came to a small railway station under cover. Only a couple of station staff there but no passengers waiting for a train. It may have been a private station. We looked around, nobody spoke to us. Things started to happen. More men arrived – carpets were laid on the platform, this way and that. The layout was checked and some slight changes were made. Uniformed people arrived in their cars but our free look ended. A polite man came up and quietly advised us that we could not stay there. Important people were coming. He kindly advised us to cross the road to the Post Office which was on higher ground. We would be able to see everything happening. The train arrived – only officials there – the soldiers quickly moved into positions around the area where we had been just a few minutes ago. And then! The Crown Prince Akihito (later Emperor 1989-2019) and the future Empress Princess Michiko with him as they moved into the open square. No crowds. Only a few locals and Joan and Doug Cash. A few words of thanks – into the limousine and away. What a day. What an experience for both of us. Never to be forgotten.

We made our way back to the “Kuala Lumpur” leaving at 4pm 18 September 1963. We had 3 days in Kobe and now off to Hong Kong. We were relaxing on deck watching the dock activities as our ship got set to sail at 4pm. We had a great time in Japan. We saw a lot and had no troubles as we moved around Yokohama, Tokyo and Kobe. Now we were leaving beautiful Japan not knowing we would go back. The local band farewelled us as the “Kuala Lumpur” left the port at 5pm in fine clear weather. Through the Southern Strait at dinner time. The winds picked up here. Five days to Hong Kong.

Thursday 19 September – Fine day – we coasted along the southern end of Kyushu. Relaxed in a comfy chair, not hard to take. Just before sunset we started to move away from the Japanese coast. Calm.

Friday 20 September – My notebook reminds me that it was a pleasure to be taking things quietly as we cruised along on a nice warm day with the temp in the low eighties. What more could you want? A cold drink.

Saturday 21 September – When we woke the PA system advised us that in the early morning we had made landfall, the northern coast of Taiwan. We entered the Taiwan Straits around noon.

Sunday 22 September – Crossed the Straits. Now we were heading for HK. Bigger ships and junks were sighted during the day sailing to and from Hong Kong. We anchored at Kowloon quarantine anchorage just before midnight. We all stayed up of course. Never miss the action. Kowloon is the port for Hong Kong. Next day we berthed at the main wharf and soon we were off the ship and on to terra firma for a 3-day “Do as you please” visit. We started off on Canton Road and headed for the main action. Joan and I were off on our own so we turned into Haiphong Road. There were stalls there and little shops. Joan was ahead of me. She was first into the street and walked straight into a long piece of suet hanging down from the butcher’s door area. No damage to Joan or the suet. Just one of those travel things that bring a laugh whenever you look back. An open display but no sign of flies on or about the sale goods. On the other side of Haiphong Road there were small homes and in front of one there was a small girl about 4 or 5 sitting on a piece of wood about 4” by 4” smocking baby clothes. Joan was astounded that one so young could be doing that work for sale.

We went on along Nathan Road, the main road of Kowloon today, and found the tailors Harry Lee’s. My great friend from Bunbury, Janie (Jim) Carroll (RAAF like me), told Harry Lee that I would be calling in for a new suit to be made. Jim recommended me to tailors “Harrillias”. I bought a pair of trousers from each. Nearly 40 years ago and I still have the suits they made. Just thinned down a bit now for them, but great mementos of other days. There were lots of little arcades for us to wander through and we made the best of it. Joan had a nice dress made by Harrillias. Lunch time now so back to the ship. Had a little breather as well.

Harry Lee Tailor, 1964. Source:

After lunch we took a taxi to Kai Tak Airport as the runway is built out to the sea. We wanted to see over this arrangement. We saw a plane take off there. In later years and several trips to Hong Kong we would fly in with not too much flying space. As the pilot flew in he would pass between two big blocks of highrise flats. You could see the people in the units. I used to wave to the flat residents (they would not be worrying about me for they would be trying to hold their TV set still and hang on to the tea table etc). Did I know them? I was asked. No! but we “knew” them from earlier flights into HK. The new Chek Lap Kok airfield, better known as Hong Kong International Airport. It was one of the world’s largest and most modern airports. The quickest way to get there is by the express train that crosses a well-designed bridge which joins Tuen Mun Pier in the New Territories and Lantau Island. The joining of Chek Lap Kok provided a landbase for the Airport. Ocean Terminal at Kowloon was officially opened in March 1966. It has been upgraded since then. Bigger place today. The ship’s centre. It is easy to mix in today’s comparisons. Back to our 1963 trip.

Plane Coming in to Land at HK Kai Tak Airport, 1998. Source: Frederick J Brown, Getty Images


Tuesday 24 September – saw our return back to the tailors for a fitting for Joan’s dress and my suit. Then we went over to the Star Ferry wharf and went aboard the ferry for Hong Kong. This was, and still is. The Captain wended his way through the large flotilla of small “boats” crisscrossing the harbour with their loads of merchandise of all kinds. Families lived on these boats day and night with their children sleeping aboard and some off to school during the day. Many changes now but some still do.

We stepped off the ferry and stood on Hong Kong soil for the first time (as opposed to reclaimed land). Our next step was up to Hong Kong Peak which faces the city and the wharves down below. It is a cable tram that gets you up there. It stops on the way for local residents to get on and off as part of their working hours down in the city area. The track is quite steep and tourists keep their eyes on the leaning conductor as well as looking at the houses and the view. The fare collector was used to the slope and walked almost parallel to the floor to keep his balance. The views were terrific.

After the return trip we took a taxi to our bank representative and cashed some travellers cheques. A good look around the city shopping areas (including Lane Crawfords) and back to ferry. The Star Ferry had two decks – the upper was 1st class at 6d in those days and the lower at 3 pence – we managed to find 1/-.

After dinner aboard the ship we went down Nathan Road, the main road for shopping in Kowloon. We went into a small shop and bought a camera and film which we still have amongst more recent others. A film projector – a screen – a small Sharps radio with a record player on top. We bought a couple of extra transistors as they were fairly new, and much dearer in Perth in those 1963 days. When we got back to the “Kuala Lumpur” there were people on the wharf selling all sorts of things out of boxes and baskets. They also sold things by coming alongside in their little boats and handing the articles up on a pole for us to eye. Both sides had lots of fun and deals added more laughs to sales. It was a new way of life for us and interesting to all on board.

Wednesday 25 September – had its shopping priorities. We went to a drapery first thing and bought some linen tablecloths and serviettes. One of our fellow passengers had recommended this shop to us. The Chinese owners of the shop were pleased to meet Australians. So much so that they invited us to let them drive us up to the New Territories in their car. It was a very nice trip and we learned a lot about life on the other side, the Republic of China. We went to the border of Red China which was completely out of bounds to everyone in those days. In later years we were to visit China on three of the approved trips into that country including Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton at different times.

In our 1963 trip we looked over the “fences” into the Forbidden Territories and that was it. With our new friends we saw what could be seen and were thankful for that. On our trip with them we saw the floating restaurant, agricultural areas, and ducks. Mr and Mrs Evans from the ship were also with us and they too thanked our new Hong Kong friends for a great day. We were driven back to the ship and spent a few happy moments expressing our thanks to our Kowloon friends for their kindness with the tour.

Joan on Camel at Great Wall of China, 1981. Source: Cash Family


We were back in time for lunch, one day to go and much to do so we then went back to our new friend’s shop where our orders had been made ready while we had been on tour. Suits and dresses were picked up there after a quick check. All O.K. More goodbyes etc. After lunch a little rest and then sightseeing and shopping. We were in and out of arcades and shops buying small novelties and other gifts to take home for families and friends. Always looking at other businesses wherever they were. Learn something.

Thursday 26 September – I had a commission to get a new song book then hard to get in Australia – Title “1000 Popular Songs – Words and Music”. Oldtime and newer songs – Off we go to Granville Road and its music shops. No problem. I bought two copies (one for Rex Marsh). We still have ours. Every worthwhile sing-along songs in it. Back on the “Kuala Lumpur” by lunchtime and soon on our way for Manila. In the afternoon there were not many passengers about. Worn out from tours and shopping sprees but all had a great time in Hong Kong. We had moderate winds and a bit of a swell which made the ship pitch easily. It did that night but we slept most of the time.

Friday 27 September  – Tried out our Sharps transistor and radiogram. Both worked O.K. Pictures that night – a silent movie. Humorous.

Saturday 28 September – We made landfall early am upon the coast of Luzon. Our run then took us into Manila Bay in warm weather. We berthed at Pier 9 at noon after a bay stopping for customs inspection. Time flies even if you are on a slowboat to Manila. We finally arrived in Manila Harbour around 10am, immigration on board by 11.30am and then off to see the sights. Did a bus tour around all the expensive houses where they had gates to the roads and sentries with guns guarding the entrance to the road. Plenty of wire gates and fences and security with the lovely houses behind. Some of the passengers went to the gambling places but we walked around and saw the city. Every bank had a guard, with a gun, at the entrance. Not really our sort of place so we never went there again unlike later trips to Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea which were not even in our head then. Happy travel is what you make it. Manila off the list. No staying there for long after dropping a few local passengers and picking up a couple. Our “fair weather” day was spent coasting along various islands of the Philippine Archipelago. “What a life”. A good life on the “Kuala Lumpur” every day.

Monday 30 September – We were steaming along at a fast speed with temperature in the 70s. Plenty of things to do, church services, deck games, indoor games and competitions. We were in some or relaxed on deck chairs. A regular competition for passengers was estimating the nautical miles travelled. Joan and I won 4 or 5 daily mileage daily quizzes held when we were in open waters. Three times I came up with lucky guesses and collected the prize. Chocolates? Books? Games? Shortly after sunset we made passage through the Basilan Strait. 34 days since we boarded the ship in Sydney, 14 days to go.

Tuesday 1 October  – saw the ship making its way along the southern coast of Mindanao Island. It was a warm day with calm waters and the ship was moving along at a good rate. We soon left the islands behind after sunset. Next day was Wednesday when we had a record run passing Tobi Island of the Caroline Group around lunchtime.

Thursday 3 October  – The weather changed, clouds and passing rain showers clearing up in time for some entertainment on the deck. A tug-of-war between the officers and some passengers with the passengers left standing. We had a fancy-dress parade later on.

Friday 4 October – A cloudy warm day and we moved along the northern New Guinea coast. During WWII I was based with the RAAF in the Admiralty Islands where we had a Radar post alongside the Americans. The base was north of New Guinea at Momote. Seeadler Harbour was there and it held over 200 ships at one time after the Japanese were driven out of the islands. I was there till the war ended in October 1945 when I was transferred to RAAF HQ in Northern Command Area of New Guinea. Then I was back in Madang. I relived some of these earlier experiences as our ship headed that way. Now it was back to the present as I wrote trip notes on the “Kuala Lumpur”. 

Saturday 5 October – light rain showers spoilt an otherwise fine warm day. We passed volcanic Schouten Islands and steamed into the Solomon Sea

Sunday 6 October – Weather changes. Strong headwinds cut our speed well back and sent down some rain showers. Luckily they cleared up as the big cricket match was scheduled – Officers v Passengers. A lot of fun for all, but the passengers won the day.

Monday 7 October – Weather fine but cooler. We made our way through the China Strait about lunchtime after navigating through the local islands and reefs. Well done Captain. All safe and sound. We arrived in Port Moresby in fine weather. We tied up at the Government Wharf around 9am. A memorable welcome from the local police and army bands. Everybody was surprised at this. We idly watched the hustle and bustle as the dock crew and the ship’s crew went about their duties. We now watched to see if anyone might be looking for us here, and there was. Mr Campbell? He came up the gangway looking around and came up to us with “I am looking for Mr Cash”. I identified myself and he said that he would be looking after us for the day. He was the District Commissioner and Paul Hasluck, the Minister for the Interior, had asked him to show us over Port Moresby and the Governmental projects for the local people. Housing, hospitals, schools.

Tuesday 8 October – After a good night’s sleep and up early for deck walking exercise etc. Breakfast as usual – never any complaints to the cooks. All O.K. 

Wednesday 9 October – Now we had Wednesday to do what we pleased. Games, read, loaf. “What a life”. I must say that again. The only way to travel if you have saved your money and have the time to be sea-travelling. It was a fine day with fresh trade winds to be met as we sailed southwards in the Coral Sea. My mind flashes back to the battles of the Americans against the Japanese in those waters. History! The ship was sailing into a head swell but no worry on board. We found it did not interfere with the Chinese Dinner that evening.

Document – From: PM Menzies – Any Facilities or Courtesies Which May Be Accorded The Bearer Whilst Absent From The Commonwealth Will Be Greatly Appreciated – Doug and Joan Cash. 21 Aug 1963. Source: Doug Cash Collection

Thursday 10 October – Change of weather day. Strong headwinds when we entered the Coastal Channel behind the Great Barrier Reef and through the Grafton Passage at breakfast time. As we sailed South the temperature dropped but the weather was fine for the cricket match “Ladies versus the Officers”. The officers by a narrow margin. 

Friday 11 October – Strong headwinds reducing our speed on this fine day when we had rain showers and squalls. Whitsundays and Cumberland Passages were transited (passed through), and later cleared the Northumberland Isles to head for the Capricorn Channel. 

Saturday 12 October – The ship cleared the Barrier Reef north of Brisbane and started coasting southwards along the Queensland Coast. The ship was still tied down to the lower speeds by the strong winds. 

Sunday 13 October – Church services as usual for Sunday. We were now coasting down the NSW coast taking with the help of the south-flowing coastline current for most of the day.

Monday 14 October – The “Kuala Lumpur” sailed into Sydney. We now returned to Sydney after seven weeks (42 days) of Far Eastern cruising. We stopped at six ports of call in five countries and sailed a distance of 11,430 miles. The ship had carried 200 First Class passengers only, all with private facilities. We were going on to Melbourne. We said our goodbyes to the many new friends who were now home in NSW and Queensland or wherever. Some of the passengers, like us, were leaving the “Kuala Lumpur” in Melbourne. Everybody had freely expressed what a great voyage it was. We met one or two on much later trips to the Far East. 

The cruise had first started out from Fremantle on the 18th when passengers booked on for Fremantle to Melbourne or Sydney but we had to have someone manage our newsagency in St Georges Terrace. Melbourne had to be our starting and finishing port. Time up. We loaded our luggage and everything into a taxi and booked in at the Victoria Hotel. We had planned to go from Melbourne to Perth by rail but our plans were changed. While we were away Prime Minister Menzies was giving thought to an earlier election in 1963. When I lost Stirling in 1961 the PM was left with a majority of one. I lost by 200 votes (100 voters for the other side the difference). November or December 1964 would have followed the usual pattern. 

The End, For Now (1963)

Now I was faced with a problem. My electoral committee in Perth waiting for me to sign forms and chair meetings of all kinds and get out on the hustings. The train journey back to Perth would take several days so I had to fly back to go campaigning early. Joan would have the big job of getting our luggage to the train. I had mixed feelings about that but she managed with friendly …

And there Doug’s written story ended. That leaves a gap of almost 40 years from the end of this story in 1939 to his death in 2002. Although Doug did not manage to complete his story, his grandkids can now continue that story and document the last half of his life.

Doug Cash Collection – Personal – Travel – 1963 Asia Trip



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