When she was built in 1929, she was the largest ship yet built in the Netherlands. She had berths for 770 passengers: 366 in first class, 280 in second, 64 in third and 60 in fourth class. She had berths for 360 crew. She had four decks and could carry 9,000 tons of cargo.
The maiden voyage was to have taken place on May 6th, 1930, but whilst navigating the North Sea canal, sailing towards Ijmuiden the ship collided with the Reggestroom, a 3,854 ton freighter. The minor damage to the starboard side was quickly repaired, quick enough to allow the ship to sail shortly afterwards.
It’s regular route was between Amsterdam and the Dutch East Indies.
During WWII she served as an Allied troop and cargo ship between Batavia and New York City.
She began her first voyage to Australia on 2 September 1950. From 1950 to 1963 she carried many Dutch and European immigrants to Australia’s shores, docking in Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. The total journey time was forty one days.
The collision of the Willem Ruys and the Oranje in the Red Sea during January 1953 saw the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt hired to substitute for the Willem Ruys for one Europe – Djakarta round trip.
The 100,000th Dutch immigrant arrived on the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt in 1958
She left on her last round-the-world voyage for the Netherland Line on 30 June 1962. The ship arrived in Sydney, Australia on 3 February 1963. She was decommissioned by the Netherland Line that day, ending a 33-year career for that shipping line. The same day she left Sydney for Genoa via the Indian Ocean and Suez Canal.
In 1963 she became the Greek Line cruise ship TSMS Lakonia. On 22 December 1963 she caught fire at sea and on 29 December she sank. 128 people were killed in the disaster.
There was a discussion on Dutch Australian Community Facebook site on the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (JVO) with the above picture of its last visit to Australia, This created a lot of reactions.
My parents were on the JVO trip that arrived in Melbourne in February 1952!
When my family left Amsterdam, we were on that boat in 1956 for 6 wonderful weeks got off at Sydney caught a steam train to Brisbane. when there were bushfires everywhere along the trip
Gonnie Van den Broek-Aspinall
We were on the last trip that ship made arriving in Sydney, And from there arrived at the migrant camp in Scheyville….
We arrived in 1959, with the JVO, and it was sold to the Greeks, then it sank!
Trish Baart Buckley
My family emigrated on this ship.
When we came on the JVO it was part migrant part cruise ship in 1959.We were in contact with English people who had been on holidays to England and went back to Australia. We also had the big storm that took the life of the pianist at Freemantle.
My family arrived in Australia on board this ship in February 1954, I was 10 years old and remember the voyage well.
My parents arrived in 1954 on the jvo.
This is the ship Oma and Opa arrived in Australia on in 1952.
My Oma and Opa (and Dad) in Feb 1952
Liesbeth van Emmerik
We arrived with this wonderful boat on 8 November in Melbourne. Many special memories.
My family and I arrived in Melbourne on the last journey to go to Bonegilla Camp before the ship left for Sydney. It was a long journey for a person suffering from sea sickness
Arrived on 8 November 1955 then spent 5 and half weeks in Daylesford Dutch hostel under the guidance of the Teggelove family whose offspring are now principals in Bendigo!!
I sealed on her in 1958 and she was not black but white also we had a bad accident and one of my mates drowned in the swimming pool
We arrived in February 1958. Beautiful ship.
John Evert Eykman
We arrived in Melbourne in 1958 great time
Our Cousins the first lot of Van Looks travelled to Australia on that Ship1951. We the second Lot on the Fairsea 1952.
Jennifer Mary Seaton
Frank Van-Look Yes you were with my parents and oldest brother….the van den Elsen’s, 70 years ago!
We arrived on that ship. A very long time ago. Got to love these memories
I arrived with my family Melbourne 1957.Left Nederland Feb 12 arrived 21March. 23 Adelaide
Miranda van der Keyl
My family and I arrived on this ship in November 1958, disembarking in Melbourne and then taken to Bonagilla Migrant Camp
John Evert Eykman
Miranda van der Keyl I was 5yo when I arrived with the family in Melbourne and also went too Bonagilla
Marie Mawson – Vos
Onboard December 1958 as a baby. May have been November 1958 as mum not sure of the date
Yes… left the Netherlands in November 1950 and arrived in Melbourne January 1951. I think Mum (19) was on ‘D’ deck and Dad (22) on ‘F’ deck. They married on Nov 8th, 1950, so this was their honeymoon. Mum said that they had to ‘book’ the Lifeboats to ‘get together’
Marieanne Visser Van Dyk
The boat Dad arrived in 1952
We arrived in October 1955 on this ship.
What a majestic ship that was. It brought my little family of three from Amsterdam to Fremantle in September 1952. Little did I know of the culture shock awaiting me.
My Uncle came home (Holland) from Indonesia on Johan she was a Troop Ship then. We came to Australia on her but disembarked in Melbourne to continue on the Taroona to Tasmania. 1958
I came to Australia with my family on this boat 1953
Arend de Weger
My family (including me as a 4-year-old) migrated to Australia in 1952 on this ship.
We came over on this ship, arrived in March 1957.
Our family sailed on the JVO twice, once in January 1954 and again in July 1956. A majestic ship with beautiful Indonesian carvings. Our mother kept a day-to-day diary of our journey which we still have in our possession.
Helen Haneveld Jenkins
My parents & I arrived at Fremantle in November 1953 on JVO.
Mum, Dad, my brother & sister came on the JVO in 1952, disembarked in Melbourne, stayed at the Bonegilla migrant hostel & then moved to the Riverland. I was born a year later. (Anja).
My parents arrived on this ship in 1956
My late fathers family came to Australia on the Oldenbarnevelt in 1954 and disembarked in Melbourne Victoria.
Hans van der Donk
We came to Australia on that ship in 1956
My good friend and her family were on board! My family travelled on the sister ship de Zuiderkruis.
I came to Australia on this boat. I was 5 in 1953
Bought us to Australia in 1953.
My family were on the last voyage !!!!
Marie Mawson – Vos
I came out on this ship at the young age of 10 months with my brother and parents
November 1958 my family arrived in Melbourne
We arrived in Melbourne on that ship in April 1955
What a beautiful sight. That brings me back to my arrival September 1952.
My parents and us 3 kids 1952
We arrived on that ship on its last voyage
My parents and I arrived on JVO in 1956.
Barbara van der Horst
My brother-in-law arrived on that ship in that year in Melbourne
My father arrived in her at Melbourne in 1949.
John van der Pol
In 1959 van Indonesia naar Holland, want er waren stakingen in Australia om het communisme regering van Indonesië te ondersteunen, ik kwam op dit schip als laatste keer tussen NL en Indonesië, ze was toen al bestemt voor de Holland Amerika lijn.
My Mama and Papa, brother and sister were on the ship, they got off in Melbourne one year before I was born, very nostalgic
Teri Pleydell Oma and Opa vanderhorst Corry Haverkort and her three brothers were on this ship I think it was 1955
My parents boarded JvO 1 April 1954 bound for Sydney but caught the train to Brisbane. My parents never threw anything away and I still have all their paperwork from their trip and one of their trunks.
Not the last voyage as I came on that ship in 1959.
My family came to Melbourne in 1956
1954 Oma,Opa und mum arrived on that vessel. De Familie Mensch
My mum was pregnant with me when my parents and siblings came on the JVO in 1950.
Many happy memories on board in 57
Yes travelled on that ship as a child
My father also travelled with his family on this vessel, disembarking in Melbourne November 1953.
My family arrived in August 1952 in Melbourne went from Bonegilla to Hunter Valley to Brisbane in 1954. I had my 13th birthday on board and was allowed to eat with the grown ups, made my day.
I had a great time on that ship not so good for my new husband who was badly sea sick all the time.
My late dad Joop Mul and my oma and opa made the trip in 1956
Mary de Ridder
We left on Friday 13 July 1956 on the “Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and arrived in Melbourne 16 August,left that same night on the most uncomfortable train with wooden seats to Adelaide. Still we survived it and have had a good life here in South Australia