ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
BRITISH MERCHANT
Construction
WOOD
Type
SHIP
Date
1857
Official Number
19863
Description
Rig: SHIP

Registered at Aberdeen, 27 August 1857
2 decks, 3 masts, shield figurehead.
Original owners; Alexander Duthie, John Duthie and John Duthie Jnr. all of Aberdeen, shipbuilders (64 shares jointly).

1858 Master J. Cargill, destined voyage London - Australia.

Burnt at Cremorne Point, Sydney Harbour, 2nd Septetmber 1860.

Australian Newspapers Online:

South Australian Advertiser, 07/08/1860:
Sydney Shipping: Arrived at the Heads August 4, BRITISH MERCHANT, ship, the downs.

Moreton Bay Coutier, 11/09/1860:
The clipper ship BRITISH MERCHANT, of 900 tons, was totally destroyed by fire at Sydney on morning of 2nd inst. Captain Duthie states that at about 3.00am he was awoke by a crash. He felt stupefied from a suffocating sensation, but contrived to get the cabin window down and saw flames coming up the quarter-hatch. He at once hurried ashore with Mrs Duthie, the fire even scorching him as he passed the gangway. Having placed her in safety he gave the alarm. So dense was the smoke in the cabin that the officers were nearly suffocated before they got clear. The port master hurried on board and gave orders for the ship to be hove off into the stream so as to save the stores and wharf. When the ship was clear of the wharf Capt. Duthie commenced scuttling her, causing the ship to list over considerably. The steamer WASHINGTON now towed her down the harbour to Gemorne Point, where she was anchored about 100 yards from the shore. It being considered more prudent to get her into shallow water. She was warped with her head on the rocks. Two holes were made on her port side and she gradually settled down by the stern. So dangerous had it become on her passage down the harbour that the man at the wheel jumped overboard, but the Chief Officer quicky took his place. About 6.30am the main and mizzen masts went by the board and shortly after the foremast also fell (but most of yards and upper spars expected to be saved, as also tallow and cocoanut oil from cargo). Capt. Duthie and the Officers have lost everything, but the crew fortunately saved all their things. Capt. Duthie is utterly at a loss to account for the accident, but is of opinion it originated near the main mast and close to where are kept the ship's paint and oil stores. The BRITISH MERCHANT was owned by Messrs Duthie & Son of Aberdeen and was only half insured. She had aboard 100 bars railway iron, original cargo from London and homeward cargo 2000 hides, 85 tons cocoanut oil and 35 casks tallow.
Shipbuilder
Alexander Duthie and Company
Dimensions
length 187' x breadth 34' x depth 21'
gross tonnage 913 tons

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