Active (ship)

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Name: Active
Fate: Disappeared on or after 16 February 1810
General characteristics
Class and type: brigantine sealer

For other ships of the same name, see HMS Active, USCGC Active, USRC Active, and USS Active.

Active was a ship that disappeared in the Tasman Sea in 1810.

Active was a brigantine sealer under the command of Captain John Bader when it was driven ashore in Westernport Bay, Australia on 11 June 1809. No crew were lost and it was refloated and was sailed to Sydney, arriving on 24 July, it was repaired, including installing new masts. On 11 December 1809 Active, again under the command of Bader and with a sealing party aboard, headed for the Open Bay Islands on the west coast of New Zealand. The sealing party was landed on a small island on 16 February 1810 then Active set sail for Sydney and was never seen again.

The sealing party remained stranded until rescued in 1813 by the ship Governor Bligh, returning to Sydney on 15 December 1813,[1][2] the men's fate has been turned into a song, Davy Low'ston, that tells of their ordeal.[3][4]

During 1847, a Nelson newspaper reported that a sealing party had discovered the hull of a brig surrounded by bushes near Bluff Point in Southland. Items found nearby suggested that it was likely to be the wreck of the Active, possibly run ashore with sails set during a period of limited visibility.[5]


  1. ^ Australian Shipwrecks - vol 1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0-589-07112-2 p46-47
  2. ^ New Zealand Folk Song: The story of David Lowston, a pre-colonial NZ song
  3. ^ McSaveney, Eileen (25 September 2011). "Nearshore islands". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Martin Carthy's version of Davy Low'ston on YouTube
  5. ^ Ingram, C. W. N., and Wheatley, P. O., (1936) Shipwrecks: New Zealand disasters 1795–1936. Dunedin, NZ: Dunedin Book Publishing Association. p.17.