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The fast sailing British built barque ARCHER

Date: 1852
Overall: 294 x 231 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Advertising poster
Object No: 00042675

User Terms

    This printed poster advertises the passsage on the barque ARCHER from Liverpool, England direct to Melbourne, Port Phillip on Tuesday 13 July 1852, under the expertise of Commander John Stewart. The poster describes the vessel as fast-sailing and comfortable, outlines the merits of the vessel, travel costs and "dietary scale for each adult passenger per week".
    SignificanceThis advertising poster for the barque ARCHER is an excellent example of the increasing rivalry between shipping companies as a result of the discovery of gold in the Australian colonies in 1851. Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne soon became a major entry point, and by the end of the 1851 the demand for passage to Australia had risen considerably. Many shipping companies competed through advertisements extolling the virtues of their speedy and comfortable ships, for the lucrative new emigration trade.
    HistoryThe 237 ton, wooden, three-masted barque ARCHER was built at Maryport, England in 1830 for Ismay and Co and registered in the port of Liverpool. The barque was more than 22 years old when it was rated at 11 AE1 under a special survey at Liverpool in 1851, following substantial repairs which included new decks and yellow metal sheathing. The vessel appears to have been sold to Minnitt and Howard, of Fenwick Court, Liverpool at this time.

    Following the repairs and resurvey the vessel was advertised by its owners Minnitt and Howard as 'The Fast-sailing British Built Barque ARCHER' that 'will sail on Tuesday, 13th July, 1852 for Melbourne, Port Philip [sic], Direct'. The shipping poster goes on to state that 'this desirable vessel is a remarkable fast sailor, 500 tons burthern, first class as Lloyds, coppered and coppered fastened and having a very lofty and well ventilated Cabin, is admirable adapted for the conveyance of Passengers, of whom she takes only 16 in number' . The fact that the vessel was more than 22 years old, was rated AE1 and had a registered tonnage of only 237 tons did not seem to deter the owners from extolling its virtues. (Lloyds Register of Shipping, 1852, 1853, 1854)

    The poster goes on to inform any prospective migrant that passage, including provisions of the best kind, would cost between 25 and 30 guineas, that wines and spirits could be purchased on board and that the ship provided a substantial dietary scale for each adult passengers including 2.5 pounds of biscuit, 2 pounds of beef, 1.5 pounds of preserved pork, 2.5 pounds of preserved meat and soup, 3.5 pounds of flour, .75 pints of pease, 1.0 pound of rice and 42 pints of water per week along with potatoes, oatmeal, raisins, suet, tea, coffee, sugar, cheese, butter, pickles, salt, mustard, pepper, treacle.

    The ARCHER cleared Liverpool on 16 July 1852, under the command of Captain John Stewart, and arrived at Melbourne, Port Phillip on 13 November 1852 after a lengthy voyage of 120 days. The SS GREAT BRITAIN was making regular voyages of between 80 and 90 days to Australia in the 1850s, while clipper ships such as the MARCO POLO managed to sail from London to Melbourne in 68 days in 1852.

    Arriving in Melbourne the ARCHER discharged its four cabin class passengers and its considerable cargo of cigars, soap, canvas, clothing, salted meats, butter, oatmeal, glass, machinery, alcohol, shovels, picks, boots, shoes, hats, smoking pipes, a piano, and pig iron. The ARCHER was then employed on the Victorian coastal run carrying passengers and supplies between Melbourne, Geelong, Port Fairy and Warrnambool.

    The Port Phillip district of New South Wales was declared a separate colony and renamed Victoria on 1 July 1851 shortly before the arrival of the ARCHER. Under the influence of the gold rushes Melbourne was growing into a vibrant and wealthy metropolis, and trade between Melbourne and Sydney prospered. Access to the coastal towns of Victoria such as Port Albert, Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Portland was quicker by ship until the construction of road and rail networks in the 1940s which improved land access.

    Almost exactly a year after arriving in the colony, the ARCHER drifted ashore and became a total wreck in Lady Bay, Warrnambool, Victoria. The shipwreck was considered suspicious, and both the Geelong Advertiser and The Belfast Gazette were almost involved in a libel case with the vessel's owners over statements in both newspapers regarding the barque's loss.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Will sail on Tuesday, 13th July, 1852. For Melbourne, Port Phillip, Direct, The Fast Sailing British Built Barque ARCHER, John Stewart, Commander

    Web title: The fast sailing British built barque ARCHER

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