HMS Buffalo (1797)

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RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Buffalo
Builder: John Dudman, Deptford, London
Launched: 3 November 1797
Acquired: 16 August 1797
In service: 1797
Out of service: 1814
Fate: Sold 1817
General characteristics [1]
Tons burthen: 462 6694 (bm)
  • 109 ft 2 in (33.27 m) (overall)
  • 90 ft 6 14 in (27.591 m) (keel)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 33
Armament: 10 × 6-pounder guns

HMS Buffalo was a storeship under construction as the merchant vessel Fremantle when the Royal Navy purchased her on the stocks.[2] She was launched in 1797, and sold in 1817.


In December 1797 William Raven was appointed commander for a voyage from England to New South Wales.[3] Between 1792 and 1797 he had visited New South Wales and sailed between Australia and the Cape, Bengal, and Java as captain of the merchant ship Britannia.

Buffalo arrived at Port Jackson on 25 April 1799, having brought cattle from the Cape of Good Hope. She left for the Cape on 13 September 1799. She returned on 15 April 1800 with more cattle from the Cape.[4]

On 21 October 1800, she sailed for England under the command of William Kent. Buffalo left Port Jackson carrying Captain John Hunter, the former governor of New South Wales. She also carried two black swans and three emus, all five of which survived to reach England.

Under Kent she sailed from England to return to Australia, arriving with stores on 16 October 1802. She left on 21 April 1803, bound for Bengal. Kent and Buffalo returned from Bengal with cattle, arriving on 12 June 1804,[4] or 13 June.[5]

In 1804 Buffalo was involved in establishing the settlement at George Town, Tasmania by William Paterson.

In 1805 she was commanded by John Oxley. On 10 February 1807 Buffalo left Port Jackson for England.[4]

On 26 October 1807, Tsar Alexander I of Russia declared war on Great Britain. The official news did not arrive there until 2 December, at which time the British declared an embargo on all Russian vessels in British ports. Buffalo was one of some 70 vessels that shared in the proceeds of the seizure of the 44-gun Russian frigate Speshnoy (Speshnyy), and the Russian storeship Wilhelmina (or Vilghemina) then in Portsmouth harbour.[6] The Russian vessels were carrying the payroll for Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin’s squadron in the Mediterranean.[7][Note 1]


Buffalo was hulked in 1814. The Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy first offered the "Buffalo sloop, of 463 tons", lying at Cowes, for sale on 3 April 1817.[9] She sold on 30 April 1817 for £810 to Mr. Spartly.[1]

See also[edit]

  • John Lewin, who intended to sail to Sydney on Buffalo in 1798 but missed the departure although his wife was aboard.
  • Garnham Blaxcell, who was serving as acting purser on 16 October 1802 when Globe arrived in Sydney.
  • Charles Robbins, who served on Buffalo as a midshipman in 1802

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

  1. ^ Consequently, an able seaman on any one of the 70 British vessels received 14sd in prize money.[8]
  1. ^ a b Winfield (2008), p.397.
  2. ^ "NMM, vessel ID 381487" (PDF). Warship Histories, vol v. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Parsons, Vivienne (1967). "Raven, William (1756–1814)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. 
  4. ^ a b c Australian Town and Country Journal, 31 January 1891, p.16.
  5. ^ Bladen (1979), p. 419.
  6. ^ "No. 16276". The London Gazette. 15 July 1809. p. 1129. 
  7. ^ Tredea & Sozaev (2010), p. 198 & p.391.
  8. ^ "No. 16195". The London Gazette. 25 October 1808. p. 1460. 
  9. ^ "No. 17232". The London Gazette. 18 March 1817. p. 700. 

This article includes data released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported UK: England & Wales Licence, by the National Maritime Museum, as part of the Warship Histories project