Enterprize (1829)

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The Enterprize at the site of Melbourne
Career (United Kingdom)
Owner: John Pascoe Fawkner, April 1835
Builder: William Pender, Hobart, Tasmania
Launched: 1829
Out of service: Disappeared from the shipping register in 1847
Fate: Wrecked on the bar of the Richmond River, northern New South Wales
General characteristics
Tons burthen: Displacement of 72 tonnes
Length: 27 m (88 ft 7 in) LOA
Beam: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Sail plan: Topsail schooner

The topsail schooner, Enterprize, was built in Hobart, Tasmania in 1829 by William Pender. It was used for coastal transport of cargo such as coal, livestock, and supplies.

John Pascoe Fawkner bought the ship in April 1835 for use in his forthcoming settlement activity in Port Phillip Bay, in what was at the time the southern part of the colony of New South Wales.

Fawkner was finally ready to leave for Port Phillip Bay in August 1835, but at the last moment creditors prevented Fawkner from joining the voyage and the expedition set off without him. On board the Enterprize as it departed the Tasmanian port of George Town were Captain John Lancey, Master Mariner (Fawkner’s representative); George Evans, builder; William Jackson and Robert Marr, carpenters; Evan Evans, servant to George Evans; and Fawkner’s servants, Charles Wyse, ploughman, Thomas Morgan, general servant, James Gilbert, blacksmith and his pregnant wife, Mary, under Captain Peter Hunter.

On 15 August 1835, the Enterprize entered the Yarra River. After being hauled upstream, she moored at the foot of the present day William Street. On 30 August 1835 the settlers disembarked to build their store and clear land to grow vegetables, and the Enterprize returned to George Town.

Separately, John Helder Wedge, a member of the Port Phillip Association, had left Launceston on 7 August 1835, to also set up a settlement on what the association claimed as its new lands. By the time Wedge reached the Yarra River, Fawkner's party was already settled.

The Fawkners finally arrived at the new settlement on Friday, 16 October 1835, on the second trip of the Enterprize. Fawkner's diary reads: 'Warped up to the Basin, landed 2 cows, 2 calves and the 2 horses." By that time any special claims that the Port Phillip Association may have had to the land at Port Phillip Bay were dashed by Governor Bourke's Proclamation of 26 August 1835. Though legally Fawkner and Batman and Wedge, and their respective parties, were considered trespassers on Crown land, they remained in the new settlement, which came to be called Melbourne.

After the settlement voyage, Enterprize continued operating as a coastal trading vessel. She disappeared from the shipping register in 1847, having been wrecked on the bar of the Richmond River in northern New South Wales, with the loss of two lives.

A fully operational replica of the Enterprize was launched in Melbourne, Australia in 1997.[1] It is managed by the Enterprize Ship Trust on behalf of the people of Victoria. The Enterprize's home port from 1997 to 2011 was Williamstown (South West of Melbourne), where it moored and operated for fourteen years. In September 2011 the ship moved its home port to the Melbourne Docklands precinct. It conducts regular voyages from its home port in Docklands and other places around Port Phillip Bay.


  • The Hotel Enterprize in Spencer Street, Melbourne was named after the ship.
  • Vicroads sold special Vehicle registration plates titled "Melbourne City of Enterprize" to help pay for the construction of a replica of the ship. These are currently available from the Enterprize Ship Trust.
  • The replica tall ship Enterprize was built in 1997 as the flag ship of the city of Melbourne and to commemorate the role of the original Enterprize in the settlement of Melbourne. The replica conducts sails around Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, and Tasmania, and is open to the general public for sails and inspections.[2]
  • Enterprize Park, along the Yarra River in Melbourne, commemorates the landing of settlers in Melbourne. An official flag-raising ceremony, including a welcome to country by Wurundjeri elders, is conducted there on 30 August every year to celebrate Melbourne Day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enterprize Melbourne's tall ship web page
  2. ^ Enterprize, Official Website of replica tall ship