In March 1946, an agreement was signed with the British Government, under which the Ministry of Transport would supply a number of older passenger liners to transport Britons wishing to migrate to Australia. The first departure under this arrangement was made on 10 October 1947 by Ormonde from Tilbury, carrying 1,052 new settlers.
When insufficient Britons applied to migrate the Government started looking elsewhere, primarily in Greece and Italy, and then suitable refugees who thronged the displaced persons camps in Europe. In July 1947, the Australian Government agreed with the International Refugee Organisation (IRO) in Geneva to accept 12,000 displaced persons per year, which number greatly increased later. . A new contract signed in 1952 with the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), whose ships were of a better caliber than the IRO vessels had been, but the number of Europeans seeking to migrate to Australia was declining. The only countries to supply migrants to Australia in large numbers were Italy and Greece, and they mostly travelled out on the liners of such companies as Lloyd Triestino, Flotta Lauro and Chandris Line.
Assisted migrants from Britain continued to be transported in old Ministry of Transport vessels until 1957, after which they were carried in the tourist class accommodation of British liners on a regular service to Australia. From 1955 to 1970, the vessels of the Sitmar Line carried thousands of British migrants to Australia, but then the contract was transferred to the Greek owned Chandris Line.