Category: Indefatigable (1799)

Categories: 1790s Ships | Ships by Name

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Indefatigable was a square-rigged, three-decked, three-masted merchant ship launched in 1799 at Whitby for James Atty & Co. for the West Indies trade. In 1804 she served as an armed defense ship and recaptured a merchantman that a privateer had captured. She was a transport in the 1805–1806 British invasion of the Dutch Cape colony. She twice transported convicts to Australia; on the first trip she was chartered to the British East India Company (EIC). She burned to the waterline in 1815. Wikipedia


Written By Barrie Mair from his book of the Wood Family, namely William Wood 1766- 1830. “Her Majesty’s Sailing Ship Indefatigable” The Indefatigable was a convict transport ship and was one of the first transports to reach Tasmania direct from England. Built at the sea side town of Whitby in 1799, the Indefatigable was a first-class ship of 549 tons, owned by the well-known shipping firm of James Atty & Co. She was a square-rigged three-master, with a length of 127 ft. and a beam of 31 ft. 8 ins., and had three decks. The ship’s captain on this first voyage was John Cross. She embarked with 200 male convicts and only one died on the voyage. The Indefatigable, having embarked 200 prisoners, sailed from London on June 4 in company with the Her Majesties Sailing Ship Minstrel, bound for New South Wales and making her second voyage as a convict ship. On this occasion she was under the captaincy of Matthew Bowles. She sailed from England via Rio to Sydney arriving on 26 April 1815. From Sydney she sailed to Java where she was burnt by accident at Batavia on 23 October 1815, a total loss. On her second voyage she also embarked 200 male convicts and this time, two died on the voyage. Whitby is a seaside town, port and civil parish in the Borough of Scarborough and English county of North Yorkshire. Situated on the east coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk, Whitby has a combined maritime, mineral and tourist heritage, and is home to the ruins of Whitby Abbey where Caedmon, the earliest English poet, lived. The fishing port emerged during the middle ages and developed important herring and whaling fleets, and was where Captain Cook learned seamanship. 1812. In June, William Wood was placed on the convict ship Indefatigable and, after a voyage of 137 days, arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land, on 19 October 1812. Convict muster records indicate that William was 5 feet 7 inches tall, with grey hair and grey eyes. His conduct record shows that he was a well-behaved prisoner, committing very few misdemeanors, which is, perhaps, just as well, because the punishment was usually ten lashes and a week of bread and water rations. She had been preparing to sail for Port Jackson when a dispatch was received in London from Macquarie urging that a convict ship should be dispatched direct to Tasmania. Hitherto, with the exception of the prisoners transferred from Port Phillip by Collins in 1804 all the convicts to reach Tasmania had been transshipped from Sydney. Usually they were dispatched in small batches in the brigs and schooners owned by the colonial government or in locally-owned traders hired for the purpose. This system, however, was uneconomical, and, in addition, prevented the convict population in Tasmania being built up rapidly. Macquarie's suggestion had been prompted by these considerations, and, the British authorities concurring with it, the Indefatigable destination was altered. The Indefatigable made a passage to Rio of 54 or 55 days, and sailed again in company on August 11. From Rio the Indefatigable took 69 days to Hobart, where she anchored, and 137 days out from London, with the loss of one man.

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