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The LADY NELSON, the first ship that entered Port Philip - The Sydney Mail

Date: 29 December 1888
Overall: 474 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Magazine clipping
Object No: 00004856

User Terms

    This article features an engraving of the first European ship to enter Port Phillip, the LADY NELSON. It was published on a detached page in The Sydney Mail on 29 December 1888 and was accompanied by an article outlining the discovery of the bay by Lieutenant Murray RN, commander of LADY NELSON. The engraving is believed to have been taken from a painting of the LADY NELSON as it was moored on the Thames.
    SignificanceThis newspaper article details the LADY NELSON and its achievement being the first ship to enter Port Phillip and pass through Bass Strait from west to east. The ship played a key role in the exploration and settlement of sites in Australia including Melbourne, Hobart and Launceston.
    HistoryBuilt at Deptford Dockyard, England in 1799 the brig LADY NELSON was named after the wife of Horatio Nelson. Purchased by the Royal Navy it was launched on 13 January 1800 with the intention of undertaking survey work on the River Thames and exploring coastlines close to shore. It had a unique sliding keel that moved upwards and allowed it to get close to shore for charting and navigational work - avoiding reefs and rocks that would have stopped other ships.

    In 1802 the LADY NELSON gained fame as the first ship to sail through Bass Strait from west to east - made possible because Bass and Flinders proved that Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was an island in 1798. Port Phillip's entrance was found on 4 January 1802 however Murray put off entering it in the dangerous conditions. On 14 February LADY NELSON returned and became the first ship to enter Port Phillip. Under the command of Lieutenant John Murray the ship also undertook exploration around Norfolk Island and Australia's south coast including Jervis Bay, King Island and the Kent Group of islands.

    In 1803 the ship accompanied HMS INVESTIGATOR for part of the second leg of Flinders' circumnavigation of Australia to survey the coast north of Sydney extending into Queensland. However Flinders sent the LADY NELSON back to Sydney in poor condition after only three months. Accompanying HMS TAMAR to Melville Island in 1825 the brig was captured by pirates, the crew killed and the ship burned and abandoned off the Babar islands of Indonesia.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: The LADY NELSON

    Primary title: The LADY NELSON, the first ship that entered Port Philip - The Sydney Mail

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