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In 1860 George Dorman Tyser founded Tyser & Haviside for the purpose of undertaking voyage broking and insurance. Initially they chartered vessels for the India trade but it wasn't long before they went into shipowning and acquired the elderly sailing ship Northumberland (812grt) which had been built in 1838. By the end of 1863 the fleet operating on the India run consisted of five vessels, the Bombay (937grt) built in 1861, the Berar (902grt) built in 1863, the Himalaya (1008grt) built in 1863, the Trevelyan (1042grt) built in 1863, and the famous clipper Lightning (1248grt) built in 1863 and which was jointly owned with J. Morison. The Berar, Himalaya and Trevelyan were three almost identical sister ships built by Wm. Pile at Sunderland.
At that time the company had no plans to expand to other routes but in 1864 they undertook the first voyage to New Zealand with a chartered vessel and the Himalaya also went to Australia from the Clyde. In the same year the Howrah (1098grt) built by Wm Pile at Sunderland joined the fleet. Three years later, in 1867, the Wm Pile sailing ship Poonah (1199grt) was delivered. All the vessels built by Wm. Pile were ship rigged and between 200ft and 225ft in length with a short fo'c'sle and a poop deck. During 1868 two more ships were built, the Arcot (1191grt), and the North (1333grt), named after Lord North, by which time the company was operating eight ships which were either owned or chartered.

George Tyser's sons, W. H. Tyser and G. W. Tyser, joined the company in 1873 and the firm became known as G. D. Tyser & Co. In the same year the Trevelyan and the Himalaya were sold to Shaw, Saville & Albion but in May 1874 Wm. Pile delivered the Plassey (1764grt) which was the largest sailing ship owned by the company and which also had the highest passenger carrying capacity. To the Australian brokers this high passenger capacity meant only one thing, the ship was destined for the Australia run.


In 1878 the Australian Associated Owners and Brokers Conference was founded, intended for sailing vessels only but which included for the first time brokers as well as owners. G. D. Tyser & Co, a company trading to India but with aspirations to expand to Australia, was excluded from membership but allowed to charter vessels to member companies which included John H. Flint's Colonial Line which had been formed in 1873. Tyser's turned their attention from India to Australia in 1881 when they formed the Alliance Line of Packets to operate their own and chartered ships on the Australia run. The Australian Associated Owners and Brokers was not impressed and insisted that Alliance withdrew else they would load for India by way of retaliation. A two year moratorium was agreed but Tyser's were soured by the experience and became very antagonistic towards the 'Conference' system. As a means of protection the New Zealand traders formed their own Conference for sailing ships only.
The steel hulled Lucknow, the last sailing ship ordered by Tyser's and built by Doxford's, was delivered in 1883 and the name suggested that the company continued to favour the Indian connection in view of the fact that the company had been virtually excluded from the Antipodes except by chartering to member companies. In 1884 the Australian Associated Owners and Brokers Conference extended their membership to include steamship owners and brokers.

Tyser's were still intent on operating the Australia and New Zealand routes and, in conjunction with J. H. Wackerworth, formed the non conference Merchant Line of Sailing Ships in 1885 but an application to join the Conference was rejected. However, an opening presented itself in 1886 when Shaw Saville & Albion rejected the Nelson Bros. contract to carry frozen meat at 2.25 pence per pound instead of the going rate of 2.5 pence per pound. Tyser's stepped in and secured the contract forming the Colonial Union Line Ltd to carry the meat but their application to join the New Zealand Conference was rejected. To fulfill the contract additional ships had to be chartered and equipped with refrigerated cargo space, an additional cost for G. D. Tyser & Co.


The Ashleigh Brook was chartered from H.Pollexfen, the Balmoral Castle from J. Kilgour and the Bayley from C.C. Barton but, more importantly, the requirement to charter brought the company into contact with J.P.Corry's Star Line when they chartered the Star of England and the Star of Victoria.
The meat contract was inbound only and Tyser's ships had to have the freedom to load general cargoes for the outward passage to New Zealand. To counter any potential threat the New Zealand Shipping Company, which was actually managed from London, appointed G. D. Tyser & Co. as their loading agents. Tyser's offer to manage the New Zealand Shipping Co. was declined.

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