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Clipper ship LIGHTNING

Date: c 1989
Overall: 573 x 345 x 1055 mm, 5.3 kg
Medium: Wood, copper and ivory
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00009329
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This ship model represents the three-masted fully rigged clipper ship LIGHTNING on a scale of 1:70. The ship fly’s a white signal flag from its main mast and the red Union Jack from its stern. The LIGHTNING was a record breaking vessel built by American shipbuilders for the British shipping line, James Baines & Co. This model was commissioned by the Australian National Maritime Museum.
    SignificanceThis model illustrates the impact of American ship building techniques on maritime trade and commerce in the mid-19th century. It highlights the famous vessel LIGHTNING and the contribution of the shipbuilder, Donald McKay to the age of clipper ships.
    HistoryPeople have been making ship models since ancient times. During the 19th century they were commonly used by shipwrights when designing and building vessels. People also made models for commercial or recreational purposes, with model making still a popular hobby today.

    The era of the clipper ships was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. The sleek and graceful ships were a symbol of modern America and a fundamental part of the expanding global economy. In order to compete in the competitive global trade British interests were inclined to purchase American built clipper ships, whose modern streamline technology allowed them to reach destinations more quickly. Clipper design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity, which was a great benefit to shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.

    The LIGHTNING was designed by the famous ship builder Donald McKay in 1854 and built for James Baines & Co of the Liverpool Black Ball Line of Australian passenger ships. The vessel allowed British interests to have a more competitive presence on the Australian trade route. LIGHTNING set the all-time record for a single day’s sail, covering 436 nautical miles in a twenty-four hour period. The vessel was used as a passengers and cargo transport ship before it became involved in the Australian wool trade. It was destroyed by fire at Geelong, Victoria on 30 October 1869 and subsequently scuttled.
    Related People
    Model Maker: Wayne Masters

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