You should have been in the company and heard some of the comments that were passed when they introduced the names!!. I believe that there was even some thought to renaming the passenger fleet at that time but that it was voted down by the board. It wasnt too much longer though before the Princess name was being used for the new passenger ship buildings - and of course the sad reality was that none of the vessels renamed under the Pando program lasted very much longer anyway...as with a fair number of the passenger ships.
I have a book called the Sea is a Magic Carpet written by a Peter Padfield. He was a Deck Officer with P&O and managed to get a berth on the replica Mayflower when it was sailed to America, Alan Villiers being the Captain. Peter relates this trip in the book.
Peter returns from the trip on the Mayflower and is appointed as 2nd Mate of the Bendigo. He describes a trip he made from the UK to Aus, on Bendigo. There may well be people that Forum members remember, mentioned in this account.
The book was bought for me by an Uncle of mine and I have read and re read it many times. It remains a permanent member of my marine library.
Just after I left the sea, I worked for British Paints Marine Divison and looked after the painting of ships in drydock. One of the ships I looked after was the Ballarat. I cannot remember what she was called then, but her old deckplans still bore the name Ballarat and I remembered from the book that she was the sister of Bendigo.
If the book is still available, its well worth a read.(Read)
Sailed on her sister ship Ballarat 66 to 68 she was a great ship was there when renamed Pando Cape. The Ballarat like the Bendigo was a great ship had a great time on her. The name change was thought to be a terrible idea byy the ships company at the time