HMS Reliance (1793)

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Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
NameHMS Reliance
LaunchedSouth Shields
AcquiredDecember 1793
FateSold on 12 October 1815
General characteristics
Class and typeDiscovery vessel
Tons burthen394 long tons (400 t)
Length90 ft (27 m)
Beam30 ft (9.1 m)
Sail planFull-rigged ship

HMS Reliance was a discovery vessel of the Royal Navy. She became famous as one of the ships with the early explorations of the Australian coast and other the southern Pacific islands.

Commanded by Henry Waterhouse, she sailed to New South Wales, arriving in Sydney on 7 September 1795. Among her crew and passengers were Matthew Flinders as midshipman, George Bass as the ship's doctor, the new Governor John Hunter, and the Aboriginal Bennelong. She later returned to Sydney, arriving on 26 June 1797 from the Cape of Good Hope, carrying stores ordered by Governor Hunter and merino sheep purchased at the Cape by Henry Waterhouse. Henry Waterhouse the captain of the Reliance and Lt. William Kent, nephew of Governor John Hunter, bought 26 merinos from the widow of the widow of Colonel Gordon, who had imported Spanish sheep to the Cape. She offered the flock for sale, but the Commissary John Palmer had refused them. Waterhouse and Lieutenant William Kent then bought twenty-six and although the return voyage was very stormy and slow, more than half of Waterhouse's stock survived to reach Sydney in June 1797. These were the first merino sheep imported into the colony, and Waterhouse supplied lambs to many of the settlers including John Macarthur and Samuel Marsden. Waterhouse had bought a property on the bank of the Parramatta River, the Vineyard, and the sheep lived there until he left the colony in March 1800 when most of the flock was sold to William Cox.

Reliance was the first ship to chart the Antipodes Islands, in March 1800. Reliance was relegated to harbour service that year, surviving for another 15 years before being sold on 12 October 1815.

See also[edit]


  • "Vessels: Reliance". The Flinders Papers. National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original on 4 August 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.