Friendship (1784 ship)

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For other ships of the same name, see Friendship (ship).
United Kingdom
Name: Friendship
  • George Moorson
  • Thomas Hopper
  • George Hopper
  • John Hopper
Port of registry: Liverpool
Launched: 1784, Scarborough
Fate: Scuttled in the Straits of Makassar in 1788.
General characteristics
Type: Brig
Length: 75 feet (23 m)
Beam: 23 feet (7.0 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

Friendship was a merchant ship built in Scarborough, England, and launched in 1784. She is most notable for her transport of convicts as part of the Australian First Fleet. Due to problems manning her, her crew scuttled her in 1788.


A brig of 278 tons, she was among the smallest of the transports. Her Master was Francis Walton and her surgeon was Thomas Arndell.

Voyage to Australia[edit]

Friendship left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, carrying male and female convicts. The record of the number aboard varies, David Collins gave the following details in his book An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales:[1] "The Friendship, ... of 228 tons, had on board 76 male and 21 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, and 36 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony."

The female convicts were transferred to other transports at the Cape of Good Hope to make room for livestock purchased there. She arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, on 26 January 1788.

The collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich includes a commemorative coin featuring an image of the Friendship and the inscription 'Success to the Friendship. 1787.' and on the reverse, the inscription 'F.W.', the initials of Francis Walton master of the Friendship.[2]


Friendship left Port Jackson on 14 July 1788 in company with Alexander. The crews of both ships were so badly affected by scurvy off the coast of Borneo that there only remained enough healthy sailors to work one ship, and Friendship was scuttled in the Straits of Makassar (2°S 118°E / 2°S 118°E / -2; 118) on 28 October 1788.

Legal action[edit]

The owners took legal action against the Government for the loss of the ship, which took many years. An Urban Transit Authority First Fleet ferry was named after Friendship in 1986.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Collins, David (2004) [1798]. An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales. Project Gutenberg. 
  2. ^ "Convict ship 'Friendship'". Catalogue. Royal Museums Greenwich. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Sydney Ferries Fleet Facts Transport for NSW

Further reading[edit]

  • Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships, 1787–1868, Sydney, 1974.
  • Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989.

External links[edit]