Search the Collection
Advanced Search


Date: 2008
Overall (Includes mount): 810 x 1107 x 294 mm
Other (Ship model only): 720 x 1040 x 335 mm
Medium: Wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Ship Model
Object No: 00045886
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This 1:48 scale model of HMS BEAGLE is an authoritative representation of one of the most famous vessels in Australia's maritime history and an ideal tool for interpreting the story of surveying the Australian coast in the 19th century. It is the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his circumnavigation in 1831-1836 - a voyage that led Darwin to propose his theory of natural selection.

    SignificanceThe result of considerable historical research, this model of HMS BEAGLE provides an authentic representation of the vessel as fitted during its 1831- 36 voyage. Built in 1820, HMS BEAGLE is most famously remembered as the vessel that carried the naturalist Charles Darwin around the world in the years 1831- 36. However, the vessel also played an important role in surveying parts of the Australian coastline between 1837 and 1843.
    HistoryHMS BEAGLE was built at Woolwich Dockyard and launched on 11 May 1820 - one of more than a hundred such vessels built for the Royal Navy between 1808 and 1845 known as 10-gun brigs. It had a crew of 65. Inactive for five years after launching, the ship was refitted as a survey vessel in 1825. A mizzen mast was added at this time and BEAGLE remained a barque for the rest of its naval career. It was involved in three survey expeditions: 1826-1830 First South American survey (with HMS ADVENTURE); 1831-1836 Second South American survey and circumnavigation under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy (with Charles Darwin on board as naturalist); 1837- 1843 Australian surveys.

    In 1837 the BEAGLE set off on its final surveying voyage. Now under the command of John Wickham, it headed back to Australia to continue the work of Matthew Flinders and Phillip Parker King. The survey took the vessel to Western Australia, Bass Strait and northern Australia where Wickham named Port Darwin in honour of his old shipmate. In March 1841 command of the BEAGLE passed to Lieutenant John Lort Stokes. When the BEAGLE returned to England the survey was continued by HMS FLY (1842- 46) commanded by Capt. Blackwood and HMS RATTLESNAKE (1846- 50) commanded by Capt. Owen Stanley.

    After surveying in Australia, the vessel was transferred to the British Customs and Excise service and anchored permanently in the River Roach, Essex. The vessel was sold for scrap in 1870. In 2004 archaeologists located what they believe is part of the BEAGLE's hull in the Essex marshes.

    This model shows the Beagle as fitted by Captain FitzRoy in 1831. Among the changes made for this voyage were the addition of a poop cabin and a forecastle. These provided greater storage and some protection for the crew. Charles Darwin lived in the poop cabin. The BEAGLE had the following dimensions: Length on deck 27.5 metres; beam 7.5 metres; draught 3.8 metres; burthen 235 tons.
    Additional Titles

    Exhibition object title: HMS Beagle

    (not entered): Model of HMS BEAGLE

    Related People
    Model Maker: Mike Bass

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.