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Duke of Portland, Voyage in 1807

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[1]The "Duke of Portland" was a sailing ship built in 1790 at Bordeaux, France. The British Royal Navy captured her in 1794 after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.[2] British owners named her "Duke of Portland" and employed her as a whaler. As such she made some eleven whaling voyages.
On the outbound leg of her eighth voyage she transported convicts to Port Jackson, New South Wales.

The "Duke of Portland" sailed on 13 December 1806, or 19 February 1807 under the command of Captain John Spence, and in company with Lively and Ranger. The ships sailed with the India Fleet under the escort of HMS Antelope. The convoy parted when Duke of Portland made for Rio de Janeiro. She arrived at Sydney on 27 July 1807.[3] The "Duke of Portland" embarked 189 convicts, and disembarked 189, having lost none;[4]other reports state that three convicts died on the voyage and that two died later. (Newspaper reports at the time state that 200 convicts boarded, with eight dying en route, see image below[5]

Sydney Gazette, August 2, 1807

The "Duke of Portland" left Port Jackson on 7 or 10 November bound for England.[6] She was carrying a cargo of oil, sealskins, and lumber.[7] She returned to Britain on 19 April 1808.

On 14 July 1808,[8]or 3 August 1808, Duke of Portland, Spence, master, sailed again from England, and arrived at Port Jackson again on 24 January 1809. This time she was carrying stores, not prisoners. (Note: Bateson lists Duke of Portland's second voyage among his list of convict voyages, but then does not show her as carrying any convicts.) She left for England in May. Apparently, she first visited Guadalupe Island, off the California coast and took on a cargo of seal oil and skins. She next put into at Honolulu in February 1810. Duke of Portland left on 4 March, having spent several weeks there. Before her departure, King Kamehameha I entrusted Spence with a letter to King George III and several gifts, which Spence delivered on his return to England. Duke of Portland sought cargoes and whales, but without success and she returned to England.[9] She arrived there on 17 August 1810.


  1. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia [1]
  2. Clayton (2014), pp.105-6.
  3. Bateson (1959), pp.288-9.
  4. Bateson (1959), pp. 326-327.
  5. Sydney Gazette, August 2, 1807, page 2
  6. "Arrival of Vessels at Port Jackson, and their Departure". Australian Town and Country Journal, Saturday 3 January 1891, p.16. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  7. Jackson (1992), Vol.26, pp.45-54.
  8. University of Hull - British Southern Whale Fishery - Voyages: Duke of Portland.
  9. Headland (1989), p.101.


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