Elizabeth Henrietta (1816 ship)

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United KingdomNew South Wales
Name: Elizabeth Henrietta
Namesake: Elizabeth Henrietta, wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie
Builder: HM Dockyard, Sydney
Launched: 13 June 1816
Fate: Wrecked on 17 December 1825
General characteristics
Type: Brig
Tons burthen: 150 (bm)
Propulsion: Sail

His Majesty's colonial brig Elizabeth Henrietta was completed in 1816 for New South Wales service, but capsized on the Hunter River, Australia later that year with the loss of two lives. The ship was wrecked in 1825.

Elizabeth Henrietta was ordered from the government dockyard in Sydney by Governor Hunter of New South Wales in 1797 when it was discovered that HMS Supply was unseaworthy, and the keel was laid in 1800. The frame was made from ironbark and stringybark but as there was a shortage of shipwrights the ship took an inordinately long time to construct. During that time it was called Portland but on its launch from HM dockyard in Sydney on 13 June 1816 it was named Elizabeth Henrietta in honour of the wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie.[1]

Having been sent to the Hunter River for a cargo of coal, on 30 July 1816 at around 4am, while at its moorings on the River, the ship capsized and sank. The wife of the Captain Joseph Ross and a crewman Patrick Fitzgerald were trapped as it sank and were drowned. The remaining crew, numbering five, rowed in an open boat to Sydney where they arrived on 7 August.[2] The colonial brig Lady Nelson and the Nautilus of Calcutta were sent from Sydney to raise the ship, which they eventually did and the ship returned to Sydney on 30 August with the load of coal.[3]

Elizabeth Henrietta transported convict prisoners to Newcastle on 30 November 1821. One convict on the ship was John McCraw. [4] In December 1823 the ship was sent to New Zealand for a cargo of flax. [5] On 8 April 1824, Elizabeth Henrietta went aground after breaking adrift from the anchorage at Ruapuke Bay (now Henrietta Bay) on Ruapuke Island in Foveaux Strait, off the south coast of New Zealand's South Island.[6][7] Attempts by HMS Tees to refloat the ship were unsuccessful, [8] but further attempts were successful, with assistance by the engineer, John Busby, and Elizabeth Henrietta returned to Sydney on 13 March 1825.[9]

The ship was finally wrecked upon reefs at the mouth of the Hunter River, on a voyage from Port Macquarie and Newcastle for Sydney on 17 December 1825. All the crew, passengers, convicts and military on board were rescued.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Sydney". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol 14, 656). 15 June 1816. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Sydney". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol 14, 664). 10 August 1816. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ Bateson, C (1972). Australian shipwrecks : including vessels wrecked en route to or from Australia, and some strandings : 1622-1850. AH and AW Reed. ISBN 978-0-589-07112-7.
  4. ^ McCraw, John per "Neptune" 1820. State Archives of NSW, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, Fiche 35 of 63, Reel 6008 4/3504A p108).
  5. ^ "Ship News". Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Vol 8, 396). 6 December 1823. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Ruapuke: Gunboat wreck, etc.", Historical records of New Zealand south, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol XX, issue 1063). 8 April 1824. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015.. "Goulburn Island" was actually Ruapuke Island.
  8. ^ "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol XXII, issue 1073). 10 June 1824. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Shipping Intelligence". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol XXIII, issue 1112). 17 March 1825. p. 2. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
    "SHIP NEWS". The Australian (15). New South Wales, Australia. 20 January 1825. p. 3. Retrieved 11 November 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Loss of His Majesty's Brig Elizabeth Henrietta". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Vol XXIII, issue 1166). 25 December 1825. p. 3. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Journeys in Time: Ships - list". Macquarie University. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015.