Betsey (schooner)

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Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Betsey
General characteristics
Class and type: Schooner
Tons burthen: 75 tons bm

The Betsey was a privately owned schooner of 75 tons, which was wrecked in the South China Sea in 1805 while en route to the newly established penal colony of New South Wales

Betsey departed the port of Macau on 10 November 1805, heading for the port of Sydney in New South Wales. her crew comprised two officers, Captain William Brooks and chief mate Edward Luttrell, and ten seaman including four from China, three from the Philippines and three from Portugal.[1]

At 2.30 AM on 21 November 1805 Betsey struck a reef. For three days the crew of twelve struggled to refloat the ship before abandoning the stricken vessel. Brooks, Luttrell and three Portuguese crew climbed into the jollyboat and the remaining crew abandoned the ship on a raft. The jollyboat and raft planned to travel together but a strong wind parted the two. The raft and its crew were never seen again. The jollyboat and its crew eventually made Balambangan Island off the North Coast of Borneo. Here they landed on 2 December. Eleven natives attacked them. Brooks had both legs cut off and he died. One of the Portuguese crew was severely wounded as he made his way back to the boat. He died in the boat. Lutterell fought off the attackers and with the remaining two Portuguese headed back out to sea. Running short of food they approached some new islands on the 15th of December. As they were planning to land they were attacked by three Malay prows. One Portuguese was speared and killed and the other wounded. Both Lutterell and the surviving crew member were captured and kept as slaves. They were entirely naked and lived off sago. On 20 April 1806 they were put aboard a prow and taken to Singapore and released. They both made it back to Malacca.[2]


  1. ^ "Sydney.". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 1 March 1807. p. 2. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Australian Shipwrecks - vol1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0-589-07112-2 p40

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