HMS Mermaid (1817)

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Mermaid ship (1817).jpeg
Mermaid cutter
History
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: Mermaid
Builder: Thompson, Howrah[1]
Launched: 1816
Fate: Sold 1817
Royal Navy Ensign (1707 - 1801)Great Britain
Name: HMS Mermaid
Acquired: 1817 by purchase
Commissioned: 16 October 1817
Fate: Sold 1823
 United Kingdom
Name: Mermaid
Owner: Government of New South Wales
Acquired: 1823 by purchase
Fate: Wrecked on 13 June 1829, Flora Reef, Queensland
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 83,[2] 84,[1] or 85 (bm)
Length: 56 ft (17 m)
Beam: 18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)
Draught: 2.7 m
Sail plan:
  • Originally: single masted cutter rigged
  • c. 1829: Two-masted schooner
Notes: Teak-built

HMS Mermaid was a cutter built in Howrah, India, in 1816. The British Royal Navy purchased her at Port Jackson in 1817. The Navy then used her to survey the Australian coasts. In 1820 she grounded and in 1823 was condemned for survey work. The Navy sold her to the colonial government which used her to run errands until she was wrecked in 1829.

Career[edit]

Mermaid was launched at Howrah in 1816 and the Royal Navy purchased her at Port Jackson in 1817.[2][3]

Phillip Parker King used her between December 1817 and December 1820 to survey parts of the Australian coast that Matthew Flinders had not already surveyed.[4] King circumnavigated the Australian mainland and conducted a survey of the Inner Route through the Great Barrier Reef.

1n 1820 Mermaid grounded; gotten off, she only reached Sydney with difficulty. A survey resulted in her condemnation for survey work and her sale in 1823 to the colonial government.[3]

In September 1823 Mermaid carried John Oxley as he explored the Queensland coast south of Port Curtis, discovering the Brisbane and Tweed rivers. At Moreton Bay he rescued Thomas Pamphlett and John Finnegan, who had been ship-wrecked earlier in the year.[5]

In September 1825 Mermaid transported Edmund Lockyer to Moreton Bay so he could explore the upper reaches of the Brisbane River.[6]

In August 1826 John Richardson travelled on Mermaid from Port Essington, on Melville Island, to Timor to obtain seeds.[7]

Loss[edit]

Captain Samuel Nolbrow and Mermaid departed Sydney on 16 May 1829, bound for Port Raffles with government dispatches and provisions for King George's Sound. She proceeded on the inner passage to Torres Straits. At 6a.m. on 13 June she struck an uncharted reef on the southern side of Flora Reef, Queensland. (Nolbrow gave the location as at 17°7′S 146°10′E / 17.117°S 146.167°E / -17.117; 146.167.) She bilged and her crew abandoned her that evening with no loss of life.[8]

Post-script[edit]

An underwater archaeology team led by the Australian National Maritime Museum in early 2009 rediscovered the wreck.[9][10]

See also[edit]

Citations and references[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ a b Phipps (1840), p.108.
  2. ^ a b Phipps (1840), p.142.
  3. ^ a b Colledge & Warlow (2006), p.257.
  4. ^ "King, Phillip Parker (1791–1856)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2. Canberra: Australian National University. 1967. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Pamphlett, Thomas (1789–1838)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2. Canberra: Australian National University. 1967. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Lockyer, Edmund (1784–1860)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2. Canberra: Australian National University. 1967. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Richardson, John Matthew (1797–1882)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2. Canberra: Australian National University. 1967. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  8. ^ "A CONDISCIPULUS "BOARDING ROUND"". The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848). Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia. 25 November 1829. p. 3. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  9. ^ "A Model Tale". Australian National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Mermaid HMCS". Australian National Shipwreck Database. Retrieved 4 December 2014.

References

Coordinates: 17°11′57″S 146°17′20″E / 17.19923333°S 146.28885°E / -17.19923333; 146.28885