Matilda (1779 ship)

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Launched: 1779[1]
Great Britain
Name: Matilda
Fate: Wrecked in 1792
Notes: Three decks. Underwent a good repair in 1791
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 460[1] (bm)
Sail plan: Ship rig

Matilda was a ship built in France and launched in 1779. She became a whaling ship for the British Company Calvert & Co., making a whaling voyage while under the command of Matthew Weatherhead to New South Wales and the Pacific in 1790.[2]

She enters Lloyd's Register in 1791 with Weatherhead as master, Calvert & Co., as owners, and trade London—Botany Bay.[1] That year, either owned or leased by Samuel Enderby & Sons, she transported convicts from England to Australia as part of the third fleet.

She departed Portsmouth on 27 March 1791 and arrived on 1 August in Port Jackson, New South Wales.[3] She embarked 250 male convicts, 25 of whom died during the voyage.[4] Nineteen officers and men of the New South Wales Corps provided the guards. On her arrival at Port Jackson the ship required repairs.

After he had delivered his convicts, Weatherhead took Matilda whaling in the New South Wales fishery or off Van Diemen's Land.[5]

New South Wales records show Matilda as leaving for India in November.[6] She apparently sailed via the Marquesas Islands.


Matilda was wrecked in February 1792 on a shoal, later named Matilda Island.[7] (Frederick Beechey of HMS Blossom (1806), who discovered the wreckage in 1826, confirmed that Matilda Island was actually Moruroa.[8])

The survivors, 21 crew members and one convict stowaway, were later rescued. Captain William Bligh, on HMS Providence, picked up some at Matavai Bay, while Jenny and Britannia rescued others.[9]

Citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lloyd's Register (1791), Seq.№M538.
  2. ^ Clayton (2014), p.171.
  3. ^ Bateson (1974), pp.115-6.
  4. ^ Bateson (1974), p. 133.
  5. ^ University of Hull: British Southern Whale Fishery - Matilda.
  6. ^ "Arrival of Vessels at Port Jackson, and their Departure". Australian Town and Country Journal, Saturday 3 January 1891, p.17. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 30 June 1857. p.3.". Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Quanchi (2005), p. 248.
  9. ^ "The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania), Friday 18 March 1921. p.6.". Retrieved 20 July 2011. 


  • Bateson, Charles (1974) The Convict Ships, 1787-1868. (Sydney). ISBN 0-85174-195-9
  • Clayton, Jane M. (2014) Ships employed in the South Sea Whale Fishery from Britain: 1775-1815: An alphabetical list of ships. (Berforts Group). ISBN 978-1908616524
  • Quanchi, Max (2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810853957. 
External links