Calling at Sydney

After Australia discovery, the British worried about French presence in South Pacific will send a First Fleet to found a penal colony and occupy this land. The decision to send condemned to Botany Bay is made by the British government on 18  August 1786, and the responsibility for the organization and the choice of the officers by the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney.

The First Fleet included two Royal Navy escort ships, HMS SIRIUS and HMS SUPPLY, 6 convicts transports and 3 food and supply transports.

3rd of this name, HMS SUPPLY is a 175 tons armed tender built in 1780

HMS SIRIUS,  flagship of the fleet is a converted merchant ship/armed naval vessel (HMS BERWICK) used during the US Independence war

The Fleet arrived off Australian coasts after calling at Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Rio de Janeiro, after a 250 days journey.

Mooring is done initially in Botany Bay recognized by James Cook in 1770. But the bay is not appropriate because too open and not protected.

On 21 January 1788, Phillip and a party departed to explore the surrounds and discovers Port Jackson, another bay to the north uwith sheltered anchorages, fresh water and fertile soil.

Arthur Phillip named the bay Sydney Cove, after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary.

BELLONA, a 472 tons merchantman ship, launched on Thames in 1782 left Gravesend on 8 August 1792 with with 17 female convicts, free settlers and a cargo of stores; she arrived at Port Jackson on 16 January 1793. Built in 1799, LADY NELSON left Portsmouth on 18 March 1800 and arrived at Sydney on 16 December 1800 after having been the first vessel to reach the east coast of Australia via Bass Strait instead of sailing around the southern tip of Tasmania.

The city continues to grow thanks to the trade: SUPPLY, The SUPPLY a two-mast schooner was built in 1832 was used for a long time in the service between Australia and the Gilbert Islands. HEATHER BELLE, wooden three-masted clipper (479 tons. Dim. 155 x 28.3 x 17.5ft.), built for the Australian trade. In 1858 she landed her English mail in Hobart Town seven hours before the London mail, via Suez arrived. PHANTOM, a wooden two-mast brig built in 1841, used to sail between Australia, India and Pacific Islands from 1841 to 1860.

The settlement will expand, linked to Europe with tall ships, cape-horners

JAMES CRAIG, three-masted, iron-hulled barque built in Sunderland, England in 1874 as Clan Macleod, became James Craig in 1905 rounded Cape Horn 23 times in 26 years. Used as storage place, abandoned, sunk, the ship is restored at Sydney from 1981 to 2001 and sails again. SOBRAON was built at Aberdeen, to the order of tea clipper owners, and launched in 1866. She was the largest composite ship ever built, being constructed of solid teak with iron beams and frames; she was copper fastened.

The devlopment of steam navigation will make of Australia the regional great power, by allowing close links with the Pacific Islands, connected by regular lines at the departure of Sydney

WAROONGA, launched 1882, brigantine riggeda 2.510 gross tons steamer, speeds 11 knots with a 2 cylinders engine until 1920 . Accommodation for 37 first, 16 second and 1.361 deck passengers. P.& O. successful bidder for the mail service between Singapore and Australia, chartered a 759 tons steamer of 1851, 57,89 m long , named CHUSAN. After leaving Southampton on 15 May 1852, she arrived at Sydney on 3 August to provide a regular service until April 1854.

INDUNA, built for the coastal service on the South African coast, is sold to Burns, Philp & Co. Ltd in 1904 and put in the service from Sydney to the Lord Howe and Norfolk Island run before sailing until 1916 to New Hebrides, Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands and Carolines. Burns, Philp & Co. bought in 1913 a 1832 GRT cargo-passenger vessel from 1905 renamed MARSINA. She was used in different services  between Sydney and Papua, Lord Howe Island, New Hebrides,New Guinea, Solomon Islands.  MALAITA, built in 1933 for Burns, Philp & Co, arrived at Sydney on 3 January 1934 and sailed to Solomon with a maximum speed of 14 knots, thanks to two 8-cylinders Diesel engines.

Special built for the Australia- New Guinea service at Glasgow in 1930, MACDHUI (4561 GRT, 15 noeuds) arrived at Sydney on 3 May 1931. On 17 June 1942, attacked by Japanese bombers, the vessel on fire and heavy listing, drifted on a reef off Tatana Island, Port Moresby and capsized on her port side. For her maiden voyage on 16 February 1939, DOMINION MONARCH sailed from London via Southampton, Tenerife, Cape Town, Durban, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney to Wellington. This 26.463 GRT passenger-cargo vessel was designed to serve the three dominions with 525 first class. Union S.S. Co. of New Zealand AWATEA, 2 screws, is in 1937 the fastest steaming ever recorded by a merchant ship in the Southern Hemisphere, steaming 567 miles in 24 hours. Requisitioned by the British government in Sept. 1941, she sunk off Béjaïa (at time Bougie), Nov. 10, 1942, during Operation Torch.


Launched 5 October 1948 HIMALAYA, powered by six geared steam turbines, speed 22 knots, provides passenger accommodation for 758 first, 401 tourist class.By her speed she was shortening the passage time to Australia to 28 days. She left on 18 October 1974 Sydney.

Matson Navigation Co MARIPOSA, 1953 cargo converted into a passenger ship, sailed in 1956 from San Francisco on her maiden voyage to Los Angles-Honolulu-Tahiti, Wellington and Sydney and returned via Auckland, Suva, Pago Pago and Honolulu. After 1970, she was used for cruises to Hawai.

Paquebot Sydney cancel on P&O cover
Hosking #693

Sydney 1976 cancel


Wrong funnel design: red and centered instead of double, yellow and rear.


Launched 16 March 1960, P&O CANBERRA is a modern liner with superstructure above the weather deck was made of aluminium, powered by two steam turbo alternators, with electric drive to two propellers 85.000 shp., maximum speed 27.5 knots. She sailed for her maiden voyage from Southampton via Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Colombo, Freemantle, Sydney to Auckland, then via Honolulu, Vancouver to San Francisco then she crossed again the Pacific and via Australasian and Suez Canal back to Southampton, where she arrived 04 September 1961.
Launched 03 November 1959 for the P&O Orient Line, ORIANA is a little bit les long than CANBERRA (245.1 m vs 249.48 m) with conventional engines of six steam turbines. She links Southampton and Sydney in 27 days. From Sydney she worked her way across the Pacific to San Francisco and Los Angeles and thence homeward via Sydney and the west-about route, the round voyage being completed in 111 days.

Today, other ships call in Sydney as PACIFIC JEWEL, launched as CROWN PRINCESS in 1989, for 1900 passengers. Propelled by 4 diesel MAN-B&W 8l58/64, she changed of name at the request of the various companies of the Carnival group.

Since 1992, a double underwater road tunnel, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, crosses Port Jackson bay in Sydney. On the surface, the bay is occupied by any kind of crafts.

In 1973, Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company commissions 5 identical hydrofoils of 140 seats, of RHS140 type, built by Rodriquez in Italy, including CURL CURL, making the eleven kilometre trip from Circular Quay to Manly in about 15 minutes.

Today 7 lines are open and we may take the ferry as a bus or a metro. CHARLOTTE, with 393 passengers, takes the name of a First Fleet ship, arrived at Port Jackson in 1788.
The sharpie designs a centreboarder with sharp bilges, at more or less flat bottom, inspired of the forms characteristic of the sharpies, American flat-bottomed and central drift sail dinghy , with the long and narrow hull with sharp bilges..

The sabot is a light sailing dinghy, rigged in sloop where the mast is located very ahead.

Only nine yachts wre featuring the First Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in 1945; now she is one of the most famous race in the world. The 1994 race was the fiftieth anniversary of the Sydney to Hobart.

In 1989, The French Post engages a crew of eight postmen in the race with a First 51 Bénéteau, 15.63 metres long . First in the last stage in her class, LA POSTE arrived at Portsmouth after 181 days on sea.. (to be read my page Sailing around the world )

In 1983, in the America's cup, AUSTRALIA II skippered by John Bertrand 1983 was the winer face to LIBERTY of Dennis Conner. Displayed at Australian National Maritime Museum of Sydney until 2000, the yacht is now at Western Australian Maritime Museum at Fremantle.

Rigged in brigantine,gift from the United Kingdom to mark the Australian Bicentenary in 1988, YOUNG ENDEAVOUR is a 44 m long training ship sailing around the World to represent Australia.

AKARANA, a 12 m long cutter, built to compete in 1888-89 Australia's centenary races, New Zealand's bicentenary gift after restoration, is displayed at Australian National Maritime Museum.

At Australian National Maritime Museum, JOHN LOUIS, 15.64 m de long, built in 1957 for a pearling company was one of the last working sail craft built in Australia and one of the last of the post-World War II luggers.





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