Being a remote island 500 km from any other land, Lord Howe Island has a rich maritime heritage. During the early days of settlement the residents of Lord Howe Island relied upon passing ships to bring news of the outside world, supplies and passengers.
The first regular trading vessel to the Island was the barque Rovers Bride, which commenced voyages in the 1840s. She was followed by a succession of similar small sailing vessels such as Sylph and Comet. In 1893 the Burns Philp company commenced a regular steamship service to the island. The SS Morinda, probably the best known of the Burns Philp ships to service the island, provided a passenger and freight service between 1932 and 1952.
After the Second World War these ships continued as a cargo service, but not as passenger service. These large vessels could not enter the lagoon, and unloading cargo took several days, every six weeks. In 1982 a smaller cargo boat started to come every two weeks, and now Islander shareholders operate the Island Trader which brings cargo from Yamba each fortnight.