Britannia (whaler)

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Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Britannia
Owner: Samuel Enderby & Sons
Launched: 1783, Bridport, England
Fate: Wrecked off the New South Wales Coast, 1806
General characteristics
Class & type: Full rigged whaler
Tons burthen: 301 ton
For other ships of the same name, see Britannia (ship).

The Britannia was a 301 burthen ton full rigged whaler built in 1783 in Bridport, England. Owned by the whaling firm Samuel Enderby & Sons, it was wrecked off the New South Wales Coast in 1806.

Under the command of Thomas Melvill, Britannia was one of 11 ships that departed from the United Kingdom in early 1791 as part of the Third Fleet, bound for the Sydney penal settlement. Britannia departed Plymouth, England on 27 March 1791, carrying 150 prisoners, and arrived in Sydney Cove on 14 October 1791 carrying 129. 21 prisoners died during the course of the voyage. She afterwards went whaling in the south seas.

She returned to Australia in 1792 under the command of William Raven, then dropped a sealing gang in Dusky Sound, New Zealand. She returned to England in 1797.[1]

Britannia, under command of Robert Turnbull, departed England in early 1798, carrying 96 female convicts, and arrived in Port Jackson on 18 July 1798. 2 convicts died during the voyage. She afterwards went whaling in the south seas.

Fate[edit]

Under the command of Nathaniel Goodspeed, the ship was wrecked at 0200 on the morning of 25 August 1806. It was wrecked on either Middleton Reef or Elizabeth Reef some 297 miles east of the Clarence River Heads in New South Wales. The ship struck the reef several times before being lifted onto the reef where its back was broken. The lifeboats were lowered. One was immediately smashed but two others with nineteen men aboard got away. Five men stayed aboard. Two were rescued the next day while the other three found another boat and launched it with water and biscuits in it. The three boats with 24 men aboard headed for Newcastle. On the 29th of August one of the boats carrying eight men was separated from the other two by a gale. It was never seen again. The survivors reached Newcastle on 8 September and Port Jackson on 13 September 1806.[2][3][4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parsons, Vivienne (1967). "Raven, William (1756–1814)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. 
  2. ^ Bateson, Charles (1972), Australian Shipwrecks - Vol 1 1622-1850, Sydney: AH and AW Reed, p. 43, ISBN 0-589-07112-2 
  3. ^ "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW). 14 September 1806. p. 3. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  4. ^ "Interesting Nautical Information.". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW). 26 October 1806. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  5. ^ Historical records of Australia. Series 1. Governors Despatches to and from England. Volume 6. August 1806—December 1808, Library Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, Commonwealth of Australia, 1916, pp. 35–36