Parmelia (barque)

Parmelia was a barque built in Quebec, Canada, in 1825. Originally registered on 31 May in Quebec, she sailed to Great Britain and assumed British registry. She made one voyage for the British East India Company (EIC), in 1827-1828. In 1829 she transported the first civilian officials and settlers of the Swan River Colony to Western Australia. She then made two voyages transporting convicts to New South Wales, Australia. A fire damaged her irreparably in May 1839.

United Kingdom
Name: Parmelia
Builder: Sheppard & Campbell–J.Jeffrey,[1] Wolfe's Cove, Quebec[2]
Launched: 3 May 1825[2]
Fate: Burnt May 1839 and sold for breaking up.
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 443,[1] or 4433394[2] (bm)
Length: 117 ft 8 in (35.9 m)[2]
Beam: 29 ft 1 in (8.9 m)[2]
Depth of hold: 20 ft (6.1 m)[1]
Sail plan: Barque


Parmelia "was more of a plain working girl than the great and beautiful lady of the sea".[3] Parmelia sailed to London and on 17 November she was transferred from the Quebec to the London register. In 1826 she was used as a troop carrier.

EIC voyage

Some time in the first half of 1827, Parmelia was sold to Joseph Somes, who was also a director of the EIC. For the next year, she operated under charter to the British East India Company, carrying goods and passengers between London and Bengal.

Captain John Wimble sailed from the Downs on 19 June 1827, bound for Bengal and Madras. Parmelia arrived at Calcutta on 3 December. Homeward bound, she was at Fultahm, on the Hooghly River, on 18 January 1828. She was at Vizagapatam on 30 January, and Madras on 9 February. She reached Saint Helena on 30 April and arrived at the Downs on 3 July.[4]

Settlers to Western Australia

In 1828 the British government, at the urging of Captain James Stirling, decided to establish a colony at the Swan River in Western Australia. HMS Challenger was despatched under Charles Fremantle to annex the colony, and it was arranged that a contingent of soldiers, officials and settlers would follow on HMS Sulphur. Stirling, whom the government had appointed the civil superintendent of the colony,[5], however argued that the passengers and goods to be carried exceeded the capacity of HMS Sulphur, and asked that an additional ship to be chartered. The government reluctantly agreed to the extra cost, chartering Parmelia in December 1828. It was then arranged that HMS Sulphur would carry a detachment of the 63rd Regiment,[5] with Parmelia carrying the civilian officials and settlers.

HMS Sulphur and Parmelia sailed from Spithead off Portsmouth, England on 3[6] or 6[7] February 1829, sighting their destination on 1 June. Contrary to popular belief, Stirling did not captain Parmelia (J. H. Luscombe did[7]); on arrival, however, he assumed the duties of pilot. He initially tried to enter Cockburn Sound through a passage that he had discovered in 1827, but was prevented by strong winds and a heavy swell. Instead he chose to remain off Rottnest Island for the night. The following day, he tried to bring Parmelia into the Sound from the north, against the advice of Fremantle, and ran aground on a sand bank, later to be named Parmelia Bank. Despite the best efforts of the crews to dislodge her, Parmelia remained on the bank for over 18 hours, finally coming off the bank by herself early the following morning. By that time, she had lost her foreyard, rudder, windlass, spare spars, longboat and skiff, and was leaking at a rate of 4 inches (10 cm) per hour. Parmelia then rode out a storm at anchor for three days before finally being brought to a safe anchorage. The passengers were able to disembark on 8 June.

HMS Challenger was due to depart once HMS Sulphur and Parmelia had arrived, but Parmelia needed repairs that it could not get without access to the skilled labour amongst HMS Challenger crew. Fremantle therefore took the decision to remain and assist with the repairs, which were completed many weeks later. Later that year, Stirling chartered Parmelia to bring food supplies from Java. In 1830, she returned to England via Singapore. She carried to Singapore members of the crew of Cumberland, which had wrecked on 4 March.[8]

Convict transport

Convict voyage #1 (1832)

Captain James Gilbert sailed from Sheerness on 28 July 1832. Parmelia arrived at Sydney on 16 November.[9] She had embarked 200 male convicts and she landed 196, four having died en route.[10] Parmelia sailed from Sydney late in December 1832 and arrived in Batavia on 29 January 1833. She left Batavia on 5 March, reached St. Helena on 17 May, and arrived back at Portsmouth on 8 August.

Convict voyage #2 (1833–1834)

Captain James Gilbert sailed from Cork on 27 October 1833. Parmelia arrived at Sydney on 2 March 1834.[11] She embarked 220 male convicts and she landed 218, two convicts having died en route.[12] On 12 April Parmelia sailed for Manila.


Parmelia then continued to sail as a London-based transport. She was last listed in 1838 with J. Spence, master, J. Somes, owner, and trade London-transport.[13] In 1839 Parmelia was refitted to carry migrants to the Americas. She was intended to run between Britain and Quebec, but on 1 May 1839,[2] as her refit was almost complete, a fire in Bank's Yard, at Frank's Queery, Cremyll, destroyed her. Eight days later she was surveyed and declared a constructive total loss. She was then sold for breaking up.[2]

The Kwinana suburb of Parmelia is named in honour of Parmelia, as is Parmelia Bank.

Passengers on Parmelia, 1829

The following people embarked Parmelia when she left Portsmouth in February 1829.[6][14]

Captain James StirlingGovernor
Ellen StirlingWife of Captain Stirling
Andrew StirlingSon of Captain Stirling, 3 yrs old
Frederick Henry StirlingSon of Captain Stirling, born at sea on 16 April 1829.
George ManglesCousin of Ellen Stirling
George EliotClerk to Captain Stirling, also his nephew
Thomas BlakeyServant of Captain Stirling
Sarah BlakeyWife of Thomas Blakey; servant of Captain Stirling
John KellyServant of Captain Stirling
Elizabeth KellyWife of John Kelly; servant of Captain Stirling
Peter Brown[note 1]Colonial Secretary
Caroline BrownWife of Peter Brown
Macbride BrownSon of Peter Brown
Ann BrownDaughter of Peter Brown
Richard EvansServant of Peter Brown
Margaret McLeodServant of Peter Brown
Mary Ann SmithServant of Peter Brown
John MorganStorekeeper
Rebecca MorganWife of John Morgan
Rebecca MorganDaughter of John Morgan
Ann SkipseyServant of John Morgan
Commander Mark Currie RNHarbourmaster
Jane CurrieWife of Commander Currie
Frederick LudlowServant of Commander Currie
Mildred ("Kitty") LudlowWife of Frederick Ludlow; servant of Commander Currie
Jane FruinServant of Commander Currie
John Septimus RoeSurveyor-General
Matilda RoeWife of John Septimus Roe
Charles WrightServant of John Septimus Roe
Henry SutherlandAssistant Surveyor
Ann SutherlandWife of Henry Sutherland
William SheldonClerk to the Colonial Secretary
James DrummondHorticulturalist
Sarah DrummondWife of James Drummond
Thomas DrummondSon of James Drummond, 18 yrs
Jane DrummondDaughter of James Drummond, 16 yrs
James DrummondSon of James Drummond, 15 yrs
John DrummondSon of James Drummond, 13 yrs
Johnston DrummondSon of James Drummond, 9 yrs
Euphemia DrummondDaughter of James Drummond, 3 yrs. The last of Parmelia's passengers to die, on 4 December 1920 aged 94 (at Culham near Toodyay).[6]
Elizabeth GambleServant of James Drummond
Charles SimmonsSurgeon
Tully Davy[note 2]Assistant Surgeon
Jane DavyWife of Tully Davy
Jessie Jane Davy[note 2]Daughter of Tully Davy, 8 yrs
Joseph DavySon of Tully Davy, 6 yrs
Henry DavySon of Tully Davy, 4 yrs
Edward DavySon of Tully Davy, 2 yrs
Emily Rose DavyDaughter of Tully Davy, 2 months
James ElliottServant of Tully Davy
Patrick MurphyServant of Tully Davy
Alex FandomCooper
Mary FandomWife of Alex Fandom
William Hokin[note 3]Bricklayer
Mary HokinWife of William Hokin
William HokinSon of William Hokin, 14 years
John HokinSon of William Hokin, 12 yrs
Mary HokinDaughter of William Hokin, 10 yrs
Thomas HokinSon of William Hokin, 8 yrs
David HokinSon of William Hokin, 5 yrs
Charles HokinSon of WIlliam Hokin, 2 yrs
Thomas DavisSmith
Catherine DavisWife of Thomas Davis
John DavisSon of Thomas Davis, 3 yrs
Charlotte DavisDaughter of Thomas Davis, 2 yrs. First white female to go ashore.[15][16][17]
John DavisNephew of Thomas Davis, 13 yrs
James SmithBoatbuilder
Sarah SmithWife of James Smith
James MooreServant
— CameronGovernment mariner
John FergusonGovernment carpenter
John McKailTurner
Thomas WelchMariner
Stephen KnightCarpenter
John HallPainter


  1. Brown was born as, and later returned to using, the French spelling Broun.
  2. Tully and Jessie Davy were lost overboard and drowned on 25 April 1829.
  3. Hoking also used.


  1. Marcil 1995, p. 370.
  2. Hackman 2001, pp. 168–169.
  3. Johnson 1987.
  4. British Library: Parmelia.
  5. Marshall 1830, pp. 200–201.
  6. "The Parmelia Pioneers Landed 125 Years Ago". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 4 June 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  7. Henderson 1980, pp. 93–94.
  8. Bateson 1959, pp. 300–301.
  9. Bateson 1959, p. 333.
  10. Bateson 1959, pp. 302–303.
  11. Bateson 1959, p. 334.
  12. Lloyd's Register (1838), Seq.№P69.
  13. J.S. Battye (1 June 1929). "The First Fleet". The West Australian. p. 4. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  14. Caption on portrait of Davis family, Toodyay Old Gaol Museum, retrieved 12 March 2014
  15. "Charlotte Davis". Monument Australia. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  16. Plaque on the Charlotte Davis Memorial, Newcastle Park, Toodyay Western Australia, 4 May 2014


  • Appleyard, Reginald; Manford, Toby (1979). The beginning. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-146-0.
  • Bateson, Charles (1959). The Convict Ships. Brown, Son & Ferguson. OCLC 3778075.
  • Hackman, Rowan (2001). Ships of the East India Company. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-96-7.
  • Henderson, Graeme (1980) Unfinished Voyages: Western Australian Shipwrecks 1622–1850. (University of Western Australia). ISBN 0855641762
  • Johnson, G. L. (Les) (1987). "The Parmelia Barque". Early Days. 9 (5).
  • Marcil, Eileen Reid (1995) The Charley-Man: a history of wooden shipbuilding at Quebec 1763-1893 Kingston, Ontario: Quarry). ISBN 1-55082-093-1
  • Marshall, John (1830). Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... Supplement – Part 4. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.