Australia is a vast continent of 7.7 million square kilometres in area, with huge resources of iron ore, coal, bauxite, lead, crude oil, natural gas, and smaller quantities of zinc, silver, gold, uranium and thorium, the latter two minerals are used in nuclear power production. However, twice during World Wars, Australia was forced to set up a State owned shipping line after Britain stopped most of its trading with Australia due to fear of U boats. In 1916, the Commonwealth Line of Australia was formed when the Australian Prime Minister travelled to London to purchase six ships to continue to export its grain, wool and meat. Direct control of all Australian shipping was taken again on the outbreak of World War II, and at the end of the war the Australian government was the owner of a number of new and old vessels including the former Lloyd Triestino liner Rynella of 9,787 grt and completed in 1927 at Trieste, which had been seized at Fremantle on 11th June 1940. The Australian Shipping Board (ASB) was formed on 1st January 1946 as a State owned entity, with some of its vessels allocated to private Australian shipping companies for management. The ASB assumed the management of all government owned ships from 1st October 1947, and this eventually led to the establishment of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission on 1st October 1956, with the Australian National Line (ANL) taking over the operation of government owned vessels on 1st January 1957.
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