Australian and Eastern Navigation Company Ltd was a proposed amalgamation of the 'Black Ball', 'Eagle' and 'White Star' Lines of Packets, sailing between Liverpool and Melbourne; and the services of their agents. It was intended that the Company would establish between England and Australia a line of Auxiliary Screw Steamers, of large capacity, worked in tandem with the Clipper ships od the above Lines. Shares were initially sold to the public at £50 per Share and against a promise that 'the risk and expense of forming a new business will be entirely avoided.'
The venture came under vehement criticism and media attention because of claims that the Directors allotted majority Shares to themselves, their family and acquaintances. The Stock Exchange censured the directors for this 'objectionable' mode of allotment.