Official Number
Launched in October 1873 (September 1873 according to Lloyd's)

Registered Aberdeen.
Port of survey London, August 1874.

Wool clipper.

1874-75: Master R. Boaden; Surveyed July 1875
1883-84: Master A. Simpson

History of the Ship can be found in "The Colonial Clippers" by Basil Lubbock, p201-205 (illustration p239).

Ended her days in Fremantle Harbour having been converted into a coal hulk.

Daily News, 21/11/1873:
Among merchant men anchored Plymouth sound 'SAMUEL PLIMSOLL' much admired for her yacht-like proportions.

Penny Illustrated Paper, 26/06/1875:
Government emigration to Sydney, N.S.W. - couples not over 40 years, single 35 years, being farmers, mechanics, miners, labourers and female domestic servants. Passage £5.10s (12-40 years), £2.15s (1-12). Ship "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL" (her 3rd voyage) to embark passengers Plymouth August 2nd.

Belfast Newsletter, 09/08/1875:
During dense fog Friday night ship "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", from Plymouth, ran into barque "ERICA" 20 miles west of the Lizard. "ERICA" sank after collision. A Falmouth pilot and 2 men were drowned. Remainder of crew saved by "PLIMSOLL'S" boats.

Birmingham Daily Post, 06/05/1878:
Ship "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", Captain Boaden, chartered by Agent General for NSW, sailed Plymouth for Sydney 3 May with 458 emigrants.

Reynolds Newspaper, 24/06/1883:
Ship "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", Capt. Boaden, from Plymouth April last with emigrants, has arrived Sydney.

Glasgow Herald, 23/03/1887:
"SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", ship, of Aberdeen, Straits of Mindore [Philippines] to Peterhead, 96 days out 26 March, 50N, 12W [off Irish west coast], all well.

Newcastle Morning Herald, 08/10/1892:
Ship SAMUEL PLIMSOLL arrived Tuesday at Melbourne from London (Gravesend 5 July). Owing to strong SW gale anchor was dropped in Downs for 3 days. At first slow progress in light variable winds. Eventually picked up NE trades, which proved very shy, but carried her to latitude 12 deg. N, when a SW monsoon sprang up and carried ship to equator, crossed 15 August. Ship soon went into SW trades, which proved moderate. Cape of Good Hope was passed 1st Sept. and strong gale was met with on this date. Furious squalls of hail broke over the ship, high confused sea got up, which flooded decks fore and aft. This lasted 21 hours. Succession of heavy gales from WSW marked ship's progress to Cape Lewin. She made good daily runs at this period, maximum 16 Sept., when she ran 301 miles in 24 hours. Light winds from Cape Lewin to Otway.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 09/07/1897:
Aberdeen line ship "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", Henderson, at Sydney 23 June from London.

Northern Star, 23/11/1898:
One of the best known, as well as one of the fastest identified with the trade between the Old Country and Australia, the SAMUEL PLIMSOLL of the Aberdeen Line, was towed into Sydney. She set sail from Melbourne to London 9 days ago.

Western Australian, 18/11/1898:
With cargo of 4,329 bales wool, 6,993 bags concentrates and 926 bags ore, was going through the Straits when she fell in with pretty heavy gale. Having little on her but topsails and foresail everything looked snug enough, but an ugly cross sea was running. Without slightest warning snap went the foretopmast back stay and down came the spar, wrecking a portion of bulwarks and falling over the side. It also carried away jib boom and broke off short the main royalmast - forward end of ship became scene of utmost confusion and it was then seen that foretopmast had snapped. The miracle is that mass of wreckage falling from a great height missed killing some unlucky seaman. Course set for Sydney.

Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, W.A.), 09/06/1899:
London, 2 June - fire broken out yesterday in after hold of iron ship SAMUEL PLIMSOLL in London Docks. Considerable damage done before flames subdued. She had left Sydney 31 December and arrived London 13 April.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 05/04/1900:
[Last reference] "SAMUEL PLIMSOLL", ship, passed Beachy Head 4 April from Sydney for London.

Sydney Evening News, 02/10/1902:
Auckland, NZ - SAMUEL PLIMSOLL has been towed into Gisborne [NZ North Island] with only one mast standing. She was bound from Glasgow to Dunedin. After passing Nuggets Point, Otage, then being 91 days out, she was blown out to sea. When hove to she began to roll heavily and main and mizzen masts went by the board. Very anxious fortnight followed, men were kept frequently at the pumps and there is still 11 inches water in main hold. Foremast is very shaky, but it carried sufficient sail to allow Captain to make the coast.

Sydney Evening News, 22/04/1903:
Latterly under Aberdeen White Star Line Captain Henderson took charge of SAMUEL PLIMSOLL and remained with her until she was sold to Messrs. Shaw, Savill & Co., who placed her in the New Zealand trade, where she recently came to grief. She has been so badly knocked about that it has been decided not to refit her and that she will become a coal hulk. She now lies at Port Jackson, NSW. [Claims she had averaged 80 days on passage UK - Australia].

Launched from Hood's yard at Aberdeen in September 1873, with her namesake present to watch the event, the Samuel Plimsoll was the third iron clipper ordered for George Thompson's Aberdeen White Star Line's growing fleet of emigrant ships.

Registered in London at 1,510 tons gross (1,444 net) and measuring 241 feet in length with a 39 foot beam, she sported a full ship-rig and was completed as "a double topgallant yarder."

Specially fitted out for the emigrant trade, she left Plymouth on 19th November 1873 with 180 passengers and arrived in Port Jackson, Australia, on 1st February the following year. Despite light winds at the start of her outward passage, she made the run in a creditable 73 days, including one splendid dash of 340 miles in 24 hours when approaching Tasmania.

From the outset she proved herself a very fast ship, with her best-ever performance being Sydney to the Bishop's Rock lighthouse in 68 days under Captain Henderson, albeit later in her career.

She remained in the Sydney trade until 1887 when she was transferred to the Melbourne run, all the time continuing to carry 3-400 emigrants on the voyage out and a full cargo of wool back to the UK.

A prominent and well-known vessel in the so-called Wool Fleet, the famous old ship caught fire in the Thames in 1899 and had to be scuttled. Subsequently raised and repaired, she was sold to Savills who operated her until 1902 when she was dismasted and so damaged on passage to Port Chalmers, New Zealand, that she was deemed not worth repairing. Eventually towed to Sydney at the end of a 120-fathom hawser, she ended her days as a coal hulk in Fremantle harbour.
Aberdeen White Star Line (George Thompson & Co)
length 241 5/6ft x breadth 39 1/12 x depth 23 1/6
gross tonnage: 1520 ton

  © 2006 - 2018 Aberdeen City Council