S/S Himalaya was the first new passenger liner of the postwar period for P&O. The Himalaya was a splendid ship and the fastest and largest ship P&O had ever owned until that time. She had a top speed of 25 knots.
The Himalaya was a contemporary of Orient Line’s Orcades and these ships marked a gradual coming together of the new liners of each company in the postwar era. She was a record breaker and cut the UK to Bombay passage by 5 days and reduced the overall voyage to Australia from 38 days to just 28 days. Indeed the six ships worked closely together on their Australian service with their sailing schedules organized so that sailings alternated between P&O and Orient. Thus they formed a Southern Dominions “Big Six” fleet. In January 1958 P&O and Orient services to Australia were extended across the Pacific in a joint service marketed as Orient & Pacific Line. The Himalaya inaugurated the operation and sailings continued from Sydney to Auckland, Suva, Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco. In 1974 the venerable Himalaya was finally retired from service.