Rotterdam Lloyd MS Sibajak 1928 to 1959

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Author, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer and Maritime Lecturer


Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime & cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or travel or cruise agencies, etc! Although having been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, I am now retired but having completed features on well over 1,350 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships, I trust these will continue to provide you the classic ship enthusiast the information you are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!

Royal Rotterdam Lloyd


The image above is a RL postcard from the author’s private collection


Page Five

Family van der Net sails for Melbourne Australia in 1956

Including eight menus from their voyage

A special thank you to Adrian (Arch) van der Net: some time back I received and email from Arch as he prefers to be known these days, and told me that his dear mother had a series of menus from the voyage. I wrote back and asked if I could use them online and if he could send me a few details regarding their voyage, etc to make the page more interesting. I received the menus in the mail, together with all the details and some details of events as you will read. However, I have rewritten much of the details and rearranged it, but the heart and details remain unchanged from the original details as provided by Arch! I am very grateful to him for the menus and the story!

Mr and Mrs Adrian van der Net who lived in Dordrecht in The Netherlands had decided to go and make a new live with their three children in Australia. Everything had been arranged and the packing had been done and before they knew it the big day of departure had come! The ship that would take them half way across the globe was a much-loved old timer, the motor ship Sibajak, which was solidly built in 1927 by the famed De Schelde Shipyards in Vlissingen, The Netherland a company that built countless great liners! The Sibajak had made her maiden voyage to Batavia on February 1928, as she had been built especially for the Dutch East Indies service, but later after the many problems there, she was placed on the Australian and the New Zealand service operating mainly a one-class service and transporting mostly migrants to their new homeland!

The van der Net family left the place they had for so long called home, Dordrecht on September 11, 1956 and headed for Rotterdam where they boarded the Sibajak for an adventure of a lifetime! Due to the situation in the Suez Canal the ship had to sail around the Cape, South Africa, thus the voyage was going to be longer that what they originally had in their schedule. Arch tells me that the sea did get quite rough when the ships sailed round the Cape and the Cape of Good Hope and there were a good number on board who were seasick!

MS Sibajak is seen in Cape Town in 1956

Image from the author’s private collection

But let me list the family:

Father: Adrian van der Net.

Mother: Marita.

Daughter: Corrie.

Daughter: Beppie.

Son: Adrian (Adje - Arch). That’s me!

 As Arch wrote; “I still have a great deal of good memories of the voyage and I hope that these menus will trigger some good memories for others who sailed on her!” …. “Being just six years old, yet I still remember some of the fun times my sister and I had, such as being in the child care area. But we would get away and go up on the upper deck and hiding next to the funnel. We would see the nurse with her binoculars looking for us. When it was rough sea, I recall watching the furniture in the lounge sliding from one side to the other. At times the sea was huge and the waves so high and the crest would be half way up the ship. The bow would head into them and completely disappear.”

Here we see a modern cruise ship in really rough seas!

“The Indonesian stewards were just wonderful and lots of fun, but we would run through the Galley and the Indonesians staff in there would throw rice at us whilst they were sitting on top of the benches whilst having their meal. All I can say, the voyage was wonderful, even though we had some bad weather, but it did not last too long.”

“But like all good things, they have to come to an end and we arrived in Fremantle (Perth) on October 16, 1956, were we stayed several days. However, continued to Melbourne and arrived there around October 27.”

“Upon arrival in Melbourne having passed through the usual Immigration, we hoarded onto a train on Station Pier for a journey to New South Wales to Bonagilla Migrant Hostel near Albury. There we remained for a while, until we were able to move on!”

Eight Menus

 Dated from Friday September 14 to Thursday October 18, 1956

I have only cleaned up several of the menus as the are obviously very old and weathered, but others I have left them as much alone as possible, just lightened them up in order to red them better online. I am sorry, but they are all in Dutch, but, for our Dutch readers it will be a delight.  I did note that compared to the voyage I was on in 1958 the meals were very much simpler, as our meals were much superior do not ask me why, it was just so!

For all past passengers, I trust that you will receive great joy from these menus, which were all provided by and the property of Adrian (Arch) van der Net. Therefore I kindly ask that you do not copy these without prior permission!

Having scanned these menus, you will note that I have joined the cover and the menu page

*On each front cover there is a title to the artwork on the bottom right hand corner: This is the “Old Gate at Marrakesh


 This is the back cover of each of the menus


Breakfast was simple every day with porridge, white, brown bread or buns with butter cheese & jam and one kind of sliced meat with tea and coffee.

Lunch would be a basic meal of a soup, brown beans with baked Speck, fried onions, boiled potatoes, and diced onions, and for dessert, lemon custard.

Dinner offered a beef liver ragout with boiled potatoes, white bread, butter with jam flowed by fruit, tea and coffee.

“Mother and Child in Meknes


“Well in the Fez” 


“House door in Rabat” 


“Pot shop in Marrakesh” 


“Old window with shutter in the Fez” 


This is the cover for a special evening meal

“Water carriers in Tangiers”


The first item is a typical Dutch course Zweeds Matches, whatever that is?  Followed by soup, then braised young chicken, various spring vegetables and baked potatoes, with a mixed compote. This is followed by Dessert, being a “fantasy cake” or fresh fruit, which is followed by Coffee.


“Outer court of a Mosque at Marrakesh

I wish to thank Arch and especially Mrs Marita van der Net, for allowing these menus to leave her home to be posted to me for me to scan, for she was afraid that she might never see them again. Of course they have been returned safely! But, it is due to her kindness that you are seeing these menus, thus a great big thank you!

MS Sibajak Index:

Page One:…………………….MS Sibajak had long career from 1927 to 1959 - This is her complete story!

Page Two:…………………….Brochures, Deck Plans, Photographs Menus and Memorabilia.

Page Two-b:…………………The Ships Interiors, Deck by Deck.

Page Three:………………….The Author’s voyage on the Sibajak from Rotterdam on May 17, 1958.

Page Three-b:………………The Family Salden-Van Mulken sail to Australia on May 17, 1958.

Page Four:…………………….Ships Chef H B Hulspas story, a floorshow programme and a farewell menu dated 1955.

Page Five:…………………….Family van der Net and their voyage to Australia in 1956.

Page Six:……………………...Family van der Biezen sailed on her second last voyage in 1959.

Page Seven:…………………The Nieborak Family’s voyage to Australia in 1959.

Page Eight: Mr & Mrs Petzold sail from Rotterdam to Cape Town on October 25, 1949.


Also visit the Three other Dutch Liners on the New Zealand - Australian Service


MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt - MS Oranje & MS Willem Ruys


Please Note: Email service to ssMaritime, is sadly no longer available,

This is due to the author’s old age and illness as well as being disabled, etc.



 “Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.

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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by; the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned.


This notice covers all pages; although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!


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