Sydney Cove (ship)

Sydney Cove (Ship)

Sydney Cove (ship)

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Sydney Cove was a sailing ship wrecked in 1797 on Preservation Island off Tasmania while on her way from Calcutta to Port Jackson. She was among the first ships wrecked on the east coast of Australia.


The ship was built in Calcutta as part of the rice fleet, under the name Begum Shaw. She was bought by the agency house (private trading firm) of Campbell and Clark to carry a cargo to Sydney Cove, and was renamed the Sydney Cove for her destination. The cargo consisted of various provisions, spirits and goods. The venture was speculative, meaning it wasn't firm orders from the colony, but rather sent to be sold on arrival.

The ship's master, Gavin (or Guy) Hamilton, was kept on by the new owners and the ship departed on 10 November 1796. Heavy seas encountered in December started a leak in the ship and further bad weather in January increased it, so that the pumps had to be manned continuously. In February, off the east coast of Tasmania, yet more heavy weather saw the leak gaining on the bailing efforts.

On 9 February 1797, with water up to the lower-deck hatches, and in imminent danger of sinking, Hamilton decided to ground the stricken vessel on an island north of Tasmania, now called Preservation Island, in the Furneaux Group. He chose a sheltered location, so everyone was able to get ashore safely and most of the cargo was saved, too. Salvaged rum was stored safely out of the crew's reach, on nearby Rum Island.

Trek north

A party of seventeen men set...
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