ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
PATRIARCH
Construction
IRON FRAME
Type
SHIP
Date
1869
Official Number
60696
Description
Rig: SHIP
Launched in September 1869
Wrecked: Cape Corrientes, Argentina, 23/2/1912

Registered Aberdeen

Tonnage according to Lloyd's Register 1339 tons.

Description: 2 decks, a poop and a top gallant forecastle, 3 masts, ship rigged, round stern, carvel built, no galleries, demi male figurehead.
(Source: Aberdeen Register of Shipping (Aberdeen City Archives))

1870: Master S. Edward; owner Thompson Jr. & Co.; Voyage Aberdeen - Australia.
1871/72/73: Master S. G. Pile; Voyage London - Australia; International call signal L.Q.K.C.

4 September 1876 London to Sydney, Captain E H Nile
[Source: State Records Authority of New South Wales: Shipping Master's Office; Passengers Arriving 1855 - 1922; NRS 13278, [X135-136] reel 434.]

1882/83/84: Master S. H. Plater.
(Gap in Museum Lloyd's Registers).
1898: Master M. Breach; Port of Survey Sydney.
(Gap in Museum Lloyd's Registers).
1910: Master C. Johansen; Owner Jernskibsacties Patriarch (Alexander Bech); Port of Registry Tvedestrnd Norwegian (in the Skagerrak).

PATRIARCH'S Captains: Captain Pile 1869-76; Captain Plater 1877-1887; Captain Allan 1887-1890; Captain Breach until 1898 when the vessel was sold to Norwegian owners.
On Christmas Day 1911, PATRIARCH left Algoa Bay, Africa for a Gulf port and on 23 February 1912, got ashore on Cape Corrientes, at the western end of Cuba, and became a total loss.

PATRIARCH was the first iron framed ship ordered by George Thomson & Co. for his 'Aberdeen White Star Line'.
(Source: 'The Tea Clippers' by David MacGregor)

It is generally accepted that the first ship with pole masts was the iron ship PATRIARCH built in 1869 by Walter Hood & Co. and in the absence of her sail plan the claim is substantiated by photographs.
(Source: 'Fast Sailing Ships' by David MacGregor)

Newcastle Chronicle [New South Wales], 3rd Sept. 1870:
'Letter from Mr John Coutts, passenger by ship Patriarch from Sydney (sailed 16th April 1870) to London. "After 3 days of calm moderately heavy gale drove us within 80 miles of coast of New Zealand. At height of gale Rev. William Purves died. His remains were committed to the deep next day with water washing about the decks and tossing making it difficult to keep one's footing. After 3 weeks of poor daily runs, averaging about 150 miles a day, we fell in with the usual strong winds and in 11 days were at the Horn. Our brave ship took over very little water in gales, but we took over one heavy sea. It came over the poop, filled the waist of the ship & washed 2nd officer off the poop onto the main deck. Water rushed aft, burst in saloon doors & filled captain's cabin. With ship tearing through the water at speed of 16 mph and sea white all around, one feels the excitement of speed as if on a fast horse. One day we made a fine run of 333 miles and generally around 280. 18th May we rounded the Horn, but too far off to see land. On 30th May we passed close to ship Liberator, 40 days out London - Sydney & signalled each other to report us on arrival all well. We gave them three cheers to which they replied. 17th June we were in Saragosso Sea, midway between Africa and America, 2000 miles from the mouth of the Thames, which we hope to pass in 10 days.'

Sydney Morning Herald, 1st Oct. 1892:
'Patriarch will be floated into Martis Dock today for overhaul & greasing before her voyage to London. She has now close on 2000 bales wool on board and more waiting in store. Captain Breach expects early departure for the old country.'

Sydney Morning Herald, 24th July 1894:
'Firm of George Thompson & Co., owners of the White Star Line of clippers of Aberdeen, has always been of good repute both among passengers and seamen. The rule of the White Star Liners is good food, enough of it and a comfortable forecastle or house on deck. To those who do not like vibration of the screw in steamships and to whom time is of no great object, a trip home in one of these fine liners should be very pleasurable.'

Launceston Examiner, 21st Nov. 1898:
Patriarch, well known Aberdeen White Star Ship, loaded coal at Newcastle for Manila and there loaded hemp for London. Capt. Mark Breach writes from St Helena that "luck has been against us. Passage to Manila was marked by calms and variable winds. In Solomon group we were 12 days in sight of one island. At Manila we took in 8580 bales hemp, filling even our spare cabins. Very bad weather started in the neighbourhood of the cape [of Good Hope] such as one must expect in winter time in these parts.'

Newcastle Morning Herald, 16th January 1904:
'Norwegian barque Patriarch, from Tucket Wedge for Buenos Ayres with timber, which went aground near Rio Grande, has been refloated.'

"In 1869 the Aberdeen White Star Line gave their first order for an iron clipper ship, the result of which was the famous 'PATRIARCH'. George Thompson was only contented with the very best and 'PATRIARCH' was no exception to his rule. Built of the best iron plating at a cost of £24,000, she was considered the finest iron ship in the world when she first came out. She had a poop 90ft long, under which extended a magnificent saloon. In her rigging plan she was a long way in advance of her times. Her top masts and lower masts were in one, and her top gallant masts were telescopic, fitting into the top masts; and in the seventies she was fitted with double top gallant yards on fore and main, whilst she still carried stun sails in the eighties when most ships had discarded them.
As a sea boat she proved herself on numerous occasions. Notably in the Indian cyclone of 1892, which she weathered out with only the loss of a lifeboat, whilst the fine Loch Liner 'LOCH VENNACHAR' was totally dismasted 70 miles away. She possessed that very rare quality in iron vessels - dryness. And during her life of 29 years under the red ensign she never had a serious accident, and never made a bad passage. PATRIARCH'S best 24 hours run was 366 miles, and her best weeks run was 2,060 miles, her main royal being set the whole time.
'PATRIARCH' was no doubt lucky in her captains: Capt. Pile took her from the stocks until 1876, Capt. Plater had her 10 voyages from 1877 to 1887, Capt. Allan from 1887 to 1890, and Capt. Mark Breach took her until she was sold in 1898. PATRIARCH'S maiden voyage was almost as much of a record as THERMOPLYAE'S, each passage being the best ever made by an iron ship at that date. On her outward passage with 40 passengers and a large general cargo, she arrived in Sydney on 10th February, 1870, only 67 days from pilot to pilot, and 74 anchorage to anchorage. And on the homeward run she went from Sydney Heads to the West India Dock in 69 days.
This was an extraordinary performance, as anything under 90 days is very good for an iron ship on the homeward passage. After this the PATRIARCH was one of the most regular ships in the Sydney trade. She was never much over 80 days going out, and though she never repeated her maiden performance coming home her passages were most consistent and she only twice ran into three figures in over 20 passages from Sydney. In 1897-98 the good old ship sailed her last voyage under the red ensign - a round of London, Sydney, Newcastle N.S.W., Manila and home in 13 months, on his arrival Capt. Mark Breach was horrified to find that his beloved ship had been sold to the Norwegians for a paltry £3,150, and on 1st November 1898, he hauled down the celebrated house-flag and handed her over to her new owners. On Christmas Day, 1911, she left Algoa Bay for a gulf port, and on 23rd February, 1912, got ashore on Cape Corrientes, south of the river Plate, and became a total loss."
The Colonial Clippers by Basil Lubbock.
Shipbuilder
HOOD
Shipowner
Aberdeen White Star Line (George Thompson & Co)
Dimensions
length 222.1' x breadth 38.1' x depth 22.3'
gross tonnage 1405 ton
22 1/3 x 38 1/12 x 221 1/12ft

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