Columbus Queensland was a ship built for service between Australia /NZ and West Coast USA . In 2003 she became “City of Istanbul” under the Turkish flag and was finally scrapped in 2006.
Columbus Queensland was launched at the end of 1979 and arrived on her first voyage to Brisbane in early 1980. Columbus Line (Hamburg Sud) flew the Premier’s wife, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen to Germany for the christening and as part of the ceremony a replica ship’s bell was produced for presentation to the Premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen.
The ship arrived and a large function was held on board. The presentation ship’s bell however did not arrive. As Operations Manager for the Columbus Line agents in Queensland I later received constant calls from the Premier’s Office “has the bell arrived?”. Eventually the bell did arrive and was prominently displayed in the Premier’s Office
ABOVE: Columbus Queensland was the first ship to use the new No1 container terminal at Fisherman Islands on 7 August 1981.
I often wondered what had happened to the bell.
On a recent Probus trip to Kingaroy we were given a tour of Bethany, the Bjelke-Petersen property by Sir Jo's son John. I asked John if he knew what had happened to the bell. John was happy to find the bell which was in dusty storage - apparently it had been on display in Sir Jo's office until he retired in 1988.
Source: Mike Tyler, Website Administrator.