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Britannia (1783 whaler)

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Title: Britannia (1783 whaler)  
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Subject: Ships built in England, Loyalty Islands
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Britannia (1783 whaler)

United Kingdom
Name: Britannia
Owner: Samuel Enderby & Sons
Launched: 1783, Bridport, England
Fate: Wrecked off the New South Wales Coast, 1806
General characteristics
Class & type: Full rigged whaler
Tons burthen: 301 ton

The Britannia was a 301 burthen ton full rigged whaler built in 1783 in Bridport, England, and owned by the whaling firm Samuel Enderby & Sons. She was wrecked off the New South Wales Coast in 1806.

Under the command of Thomas Melvill, Britannia was one of 11 ships that departed from the United Kingdom in early 1791 as part of the Third Fleet, bound for the Sydney penal settlement. Britannia departed Plymouth, England on 27 March 1791, carrying 150 prisoners, and arrived in Sydney Cove on 14 October 1791 carrying 129. 21 prisoners died during the course of the voyage. She afterwards went whaling in the South Seas.

She returned to Australia in 1792 under the command of William Raven, then dropped a sealing gang in Dusky Sound, New Zealand. She returned to England in 1797.[1]

Britannia, under command of Robert Turnbull, departed England in early 1798, carrying 96 female convicts. She arrived in Port Jackson on 18 July 1798; two convicts died during the voyage. She afterwards went whaling in the South Seas.


Britannia was under the command of Nathaniel Goodspee when she was wrecked at 0200 on the morning of 25 August 1806. The wrecking occurred on either Middleton Reef or Elizabeth Reef, some 297 miles east of the Clarence River Heads in New South Wales. She struck the reef several times before waves lifted her onto the reef where her back was broken. The crew lowered lifeboats were lowered; one was immediately smashed but two others with nineteen men in all aboard got away. Five men stayed aboard Britannia. Two were rescued the next day while the other three found another boat, put water and biscuits on board, and launched it. The three boats with their 24 men aboard headed for Newcastle. On 29 August one of the boats carrying, with eight men on board, separated from the other two in a gale and was never seen again. The survivors reached Newcastle on 8 September and Port Jackson on 13 September 1806.[2][3][4][5]


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