Travel to and from Malaysia

Family arriving at Butterworth

In the early years, travel to Butterworth was by ship. That journey took from around 9 to 12 days. There was the Italian Flotta Laura Line ship the "Sydney", which took 12 days and was apparently quite a holiday! Other RAAFies travelled on the Sydney's sister ship, the "MV Roma" (Italian). Another ship was the P&O Liner "Oronsay", which took 9 days to return to Australia. That also sometimes carried English immigrants migrating to Australia.

Aircraft were starting to be used for personnel transport in around 1964. One traveller relates that in June of 1967 he flew out of Sydney on Qantas flight which had been sub-contracted to BOAC. The plane was a Super Constellation; a 4-engine turbo-prop jet. It took off at 6.00 pm from Sydney and landed in Darwin at midnight, then flew to Singapore, landing in daylight probably around 10.00 am. and refueled there. It then flew from Singapore on to Butterworth. Complaints of this flight included over-crowding and being drowned in cigarette smoke!

But well may most of us remember the thrill of the moment as our plane landed on that hot and steamy Malaysian tarmac and the realisation that we were about to embark on a new chapter in our lives. We emerged from the plane that first time, even though well into the night, into an unfamiliar wall of incredible heat and humidity and strange and exotic aromas. This was just the beginning...

By Sea  

 MV Roma

The MV Roma

On the tarmac
(Courtesy Robert Styling)

Robert and Gregory Styling - just arrived at Butterworth and standing on the tarmac


The Oronsay

The Oronsay


Postcard of Flotta Lauro
Illustration of the cruise vessels Roma and Sydney. The Roma was used to transport RAAF personnel and dependants from Australia to Singapore.

By Air


1965 Baker Family
(Courtesy Veronica Belcher)

The Matthey family leaving for Malaysia, from Sydney

Disembarking from plane
(Courtesy Uplands School)

Exact year unknown. Image from Uplands School website. Reproduced with their permission (in 2015) with a disclaimer they don't have copyright of the image.

(Courtesy Peter Bray

Air ticket to Penang from Sydney

Charter Flight

Charter Flight

(Courtesy John McConnell)

Charter flight landing