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The yacht WANDERER

Date: mid 19th century
Overall: 549 x 352 mm, 150 g
Medium: Watercolour paint, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00015136

User Terms

    This watercolour painting depicts Benjamin Boyd's two-masted topsail schooner WANDERER from port side under sail. Three flags can be seen flying from the vessel's mast. Several other sailing vessels can be seen in the foreground and distance.
    SignificanceThis is a fine example of ship portraiture and depicts Benjamin Boyd's ship WANDERER which was a regular sight in Sydney Harbour until it left for California in 1849.
    HistoryScottish born British entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd (1801-1851) hoping to develop the resources of Australia, left Plymouth, England on 14 December 1841 aboard the yacht WANDERER of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

    The WANDERER arrived arrived in Port Jackson on 18 July 1842, and made many trips along the Australian coastline. Boyd established settlements and pastoral stations between Eden and Sydney, and by May 1844 he had become one of the largest landholders and graziers in the colony. The WANDERER was a regular sight in Sydney Harbour and was one of the best known vessels. It was renowned for its sleek lines, and its expensive interiors and opulence made it a popular attraction with fashionable society. An Australian newspaper at the time described his 'schooner of architectural proportions... her hull low and black, her taut and tapering masts, her choice of armaments, her luxurious accommodation and matchless sailing qualities'.

    Boyd established two settlements at Twofold Bay, New South Wales. The first a victualling port at Boyd Town for his fleet of whaling vessels, and the second a shore-based whaling station at East Boyd. In 1849, Boyd's investments had financially collapsed and he left Australia without his extensive plans for Twofold Bay reaching full fruition. Many operations at the settlement stopped but the whaling station continued and became the longest operating shore station in New South Wales, only closing in 1930.

    Boyd saw the Californian gold rushes as a solution to his financial problems, and in October 1849 left on the WANDERER bound for San Francisco. Unsuccessful at the diggings, Boyd decided to explore the Pacific Islands. In 1851, Boyd was presumed murdered by natives on the Solomon Islands and the WANDERER was later wrecked off Port Macquarie upon its return to Australia.
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