Albion (whaler)

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United Kingdom
Name: Albion
Namesake: Albion
Owner: Champion & Company, London
Launched: Deptford, England
General characteristics
Class & type: Full rigged whaler
Tons burthen: 362
Complement: 26 crew
Armament: 10 guns

The Albion was a 362-ton full rigged whaler built at Deptford, England.[1] She was fitted with 10 guns and manned with a crew of 26.[2] Owned by the firm Champion & Company, the vessel was sent to Australia waters in 1799 to conduct whaling and was chartered in 1803 to transport stores and cattle, to Risdon Cove on the River Derwent, Tasmania.

Under the command of Captain Eber Bunker, the Albion departed England in 1799 arriving in Port Jackson (Sydney) on 29 June 1799, with a cargo of salted pork after a voyage of 3 months and 15 days. Afterwards the Albion sailed to Taihiti at the request of Governor Philip Gidley King and spent the next two winters whaling off the Australian coast and the New Zealand coast. The Albion returned to England with a cargo of 155 barrels of whale oil.[3]

Returning to Port Jackson on 6 July 1803, the Albion under command of Captain Eber Bunker went on a second whaling expedition along the Australian coast.[4] Bunker discovered the Bunker Islands off the Queensland coast.

The Albion was next chartered to carry convicts,[5][6] stores and cattle, and also carried the leader of the settlement party, 23-year-old Lieutenant John Bowen,[6] as part of the establishment of the first European settlement at Risdon Cove, Tasmania, arriving on 12 September 1803. (The accompanying ship HMS Lady Nelson had arrived about 3 days earlier. Between them the 2 ships carried 49 passengers for the new settlement: 21 male convicts, 3 female convicts, members of the NSW corps, and free settlers and their families.[6]) During the voyage the Albion, which although chartered had been given permission to take whales along the way,[5] captured three whales. The Albion returned to Sydney with 600 barrels of whale oil.

After an expedition to New Zealand, the Albion left Port Jackson on 24 August 1804 and returned to London with 1,400 barrels of whale oil and 13,000 seal skins.

The Albion is known to have returned to Port Jackson on 19 August 1806[4] under the command of Captain Richardson after a voyage of 4 months and 17 days carrying a cargo of general merchandise for Robert Campbell (1769-1846).[7][8] Passengers on this voyage were the said merchant Robert Campbell and his family who were returning to Sydney,[9] Robert Campbell's nephews the single Robert Campbell Jnr. (1789-1851)[10][11] and the married George Thomas Palmer (1784-1854)[10] coming to New South Wales with his new wife as a Lieutenant in the 61st regiment but with permission to settle as a free immigrant and also coming to join his parents who were already in the Colony (his father John Palmer (1760-1833) was business partner to his uncle),[12] James Milson (1783-1872)[10] a single immigrant farmer from Lincolnshire,[13] and Patrick Purcell (1754-1859)[10] a single immigrant farmer from Kilkenny, Ireland.

On or about 12 October 1806 the Albion sailed for the whale "fishery".[14] On 13 May 1807 the Albion is reported as having returned to Port Jackson from a "cruise" (whaling trip) with "75 tons of sperm oil" and then having sailed again for the whale "fishery" on the 27 May "to touch at Part Dalrymple".[15]

The Albion left for England on 12 November 1808 with a cargo of whale oil.[4]

The Albion then returned to Hobart Town (then part of the Colony of New South Wales) under the command of Captain Skelton with a cargo of general merchandise on 21 December 1809 after a voyage of 3 months and 22 days.[16][17] The known passengers on this voyage were again George Thomas Palmer (1784-1854) and his wife,[16] a Mr. Cox and a Mr. Shelly,[17] and the merchant Francis Williams (1780-1831)[18] and his Australian-born wife[16] returning to Sydney via Hobart after having his having received permission to settle in New South Wales. He had previously been deported in November 1807 by Governor William Bligh, and after sailing from Hobart aboard the Union arrived back in Sydney in January 1810.[19] Convicted of embezzlement from the Bank of New South Wales in 1822 Williams received a colonial sentence of 14 years transportation and was sent to Newcastle.[20]

The destination of the Albion after leaving Hobart Town was "the whale fishery",[17] and she was reported as at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in February 1810.[21]

The Albion is next reported in the Straits of Timor in August 1811 sailing for England with a "full ship" (of whale oil).[22] This marked the completion of what was to be the Albion's last voyage into Australasian waters.

The fate of the Albion is not known.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Zealand Shipping Returns, 1803". Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Shipping Index: Albion". Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Whaling Days, Early Romance and Adventure". The West Australian, Wednesday 17 April 1935, p.11. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Arrival of Vessels at Port Jackson, and their Departure". Australian Town and Country Journal, Saturday 3 January 1891, p.16. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Dictionary of Sydney - Sydney's whaling fleet
  6. ^ a b c Australian Dictionary of Biography - Bowen, John (1780-1827)
  7. ^ Sydney Gazette, 14 September 1806
  8. ^ Sydney Gazette, 24 August 1806
  9. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography - Campbell, Robert (1769–1846)
  10. ^ a b c d 1828 census of New South Wales
  11. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography - Campbell, Robert junior (1789–1851)
  12. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography - Palmer, George Thomas (1784–1854)
  13. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography - Milson, James (1783–1872)
  14. ^ Sydney Gazette, 12 October 1806
  15. ^ Sydney Gazette, 7 June 1807
  16. ^ a b c Sydney Gazette, 14 January 1810
  17. ^ a b c Sydney Gazette 21 January 1810
  18. ^ 1825 muster of New South Wales
  19. ^ Sydney Gazette, 21 January 1810
  20. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography - Williams, Francis (1780–1831)
  21. ^ Sydney Gazette, 10 March 1810
  22. ^ Sydney Gazette, 31 August 1811