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Burning of the barque INDIA

Date: 1841 - 1845
Overall: 417 x 550 x 2 mm, 4.7 kg
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00004246
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This watercolour depicts the burning of the barque INDIA in the South Atlantic Ocean on 19 July 1841. The ship was on its way from Greenock, Scotland, to Port Phillip Bay, Victoria when it caught fire. The French whaling ship ROLAND is seen in the distance; it is this ship that rescued the survivors and took them to Brazil. More than a million people emigrated to the Australian colonies in the 19th century - fewer than 4,000 lost their lives in shipwrecks.
    SignificanceDisaster at sea was greatly feared by many of the emigrants coming to Australia. Fire, icebergs, collisions, storms and running ashore were just some of the hazards which could result in shipwreck.
    HistoryTo boost immigration in the early 19th century before the gold rush, the Australian colonial government implemented a bounty system to encourage skilled migration. INDIA sailed from Greenock, Scotland on 4 June 1841 carrying 193 bounty immigrants and crew bound for Port Phillip Bay, Australia.

    On 19 July, six weeks into the voyage and 200 miles from land, the ship caught fire and sank. The fire is believed to have started when a candle accidentally fell on spilled rum.

    Seventeen people died and the survivors were rescued by the French whaling barque ROLAND. These survivors were given a passage to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the British Government then hired the GRINDLAY to complete the voyage. The GRINDLAY arrived at Port Phillip Bay on 22 October 1841- some four and a half months after leaving Scotland.

    The Courier Hobart, Tuesday 16 November 1841 reported the following:
    The India.- The Grindlay, of Liverpool, Captain Grindlay, arrived from Rio de Janeiro on Friday afternoon, with the surgeon-superintendent, Dr. Houston, and 159 of the survivors from the wreck of the ill-fated India. We are indebted to the polite attention of Dr. Houston for the following additional particulars concerning this disastrous voyage. The India sailed from Greenock on the 5th June, with 186 bounty emigrants on board; the health or the people, was good, and the voyage as prosperous as could possibly be desired until the 19th July, in 16 ° 41' S. lat., when the ship was destroyed by fire, as narrated in a former number, and 17 lives lost. The survivors were picked up by the Roland, a French whaler; belonging to Havre de Grace, and carried into Rio de Janeiro. The sufferings of the poor emigrants on board the Roland were truly deplorable, though every assistance in the power of the master and seamen was kindly afforded them. Many of them were taken on board, literally in a state of nakedness, others only half-dressed, and most of them suffering from wounds, bruises, and burns. The Roland fortunately had been fitted out for an eighteen months' voyage, the crew wore well supplied with clothing, and there was abundance of water and provisions on board: to afford the poor people shelter sails were spread upon the deck, under cover of which they slept ; but the canvas proved but a sorry protection from the cold damp air and occasional heavy showers of rain. On the 24th July they reached Rio, and were furnished with comfortable lodgings on an island, a short distance from the town, where they remained until the 22d August, when they embarked on board the Grindlay for this port. There were three births on the voyage, one on board the India, one at Rio, and one on board the Grindlay ; the latter was still-born ; both the former are doing well. The deaths in all amounted to nineteen, of whom seventeen were drowned at the wreck of the India ; one, a child, died at Rio de Janeiro ; and one, a young woman named Eliza Quinn, accidentally fell overboard and was drowned on the 2d October. At Rio, three widows and three children were sent back to Scotland, and two men and three women remained behind ; the number was consequently re- duced to159, who have arrived in safety in the Grindlay. At the time the India was burning, one of the passengers, Mr. Rooney, had to swim nearly a mile before he was relieved by a boat from the whaler.'
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Burning of the barque INDIA OF GREENOCK

    Web title: Burning of the barque INDIA

    Assigned title: Verbrennung der Barke INDIEN

    Assigned title: Verbranding van de bark INDIA

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