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This Page was Last Updated on 2nd July 2002

A1 Ship; 1170t.; 1851…1859+
see also Parsee, Iron Clipper; 1281t.; 1869…1890+
Selected Voyages:

Jan Glasby (17 March 2002) kindly forwarded the following report from a Brisbane newspaper:
Moreton Bay Courier 15th January 1853:
"The "Parsee" has made an excellent voyage of 102 days from Plymouth to Moreton Bay, leaving England more than a month after the "America" and coming to anchor in the Bay a little before her. The "Parsee" crossed the equator on the 2nd November and came round Van Diemen's Land on the 22nd ult., being the 84th day from England; but was detained on this coast by northerly winds. Sighted land at Sugar Loaf Point on the 1st instant. She brings 493 immigrants, of whom 105 couples are married, 18 males and 106 female adults are single, 144 are boys and girls between one and fourteen and 15 are infants under one year. There were six births and seven deaths on the passage, only one adult being among the latter. There were some severe cases of diarrhoea, chiefly in the tropics, but no infectious disease is on board, and the people all appear in good health and spirits. Their decent and orderly demeanour reflect great credit upon their management. The "Parsee" is a splendid vessel, newly built for the New York trade, having only made one voyage to that port. The loftiness and extent of the space between decks afforded ample ventilation, and great regard to cleanliness appears to have been observed. We regret to learn that some of the seamen of this ship have behaved very badly. The second officer was placed in irons about three weeks ago, for threatening the Captain's life; and eight of the seamen absconded from the ship on Tuesday last, in a boat belonging to the "America" which had come alongside for a supply of fresh water. They landed near the mouth of the Brisbane river, and there left the boat, which has since been recovered."

On 27 February 1854 the Parsee, a ship of 1172 tons, sailed from Plymouth under the command of E Thomas, reaching Melbourne on 8 June with 365 government migrants.

The Parsee arrived in Moreton Bay again in 1857, bringing Richard Clarke from Cambridgeshire who eventually settled in NSW, becoming one of the pioneers of the town of Mudgee and was great-grandfather of Jacky Sherman (2 June 2002) who forwarded the following account of the Parsee’s arrival.
Moreton Bay Courier, Saturday, February 14, 1857:
"The Parsee has made a very good passage of eighty-seven days, having left Southampton on the 14th November, and arrived at the anchorage in the Bay on Monday, the 9th instant. She brings 366 immigrants to our shores. There have been several cases of measles on board; and 26 deaths, mostly children, have taken place during the voyage, the last case occurring about a fortnight previous to her arrival. It has not been thought necessary to place her in quarantine, and it is intended to bring up the passengers on Monday . The captain complains of the delay which took place in the boarding of the vessel. He arrived in the Bay at one o'clock on Monday, and reported his arrival to the Pearl, which was also at anchor. He waited till Wednesday for the proper authorities to board; and on that day, finding that no one came near, he proceeded himself in the ship's boat to Brisbane, and reported the arrival of the vessel. He was not allowed to land at Brisbane, and returned the same evening to the ship. It was not until Thursday that he was visited by the parties whose duty it is to be on the look-out for ships arriving in our port. The case is one which requires investigation."

The Parsee also made a voyage from London to Adelaide with no passengers in October 1857: rf Register 26 Oct. 1857 (cit. in Parsons 1988).

Departing Southampton on the 7 June 1859 with 424 immigrants, the Parsee reached Sydney on 14 September 1859 after a voyage lasting 95 days. The ship's surgeon was Dr John Sebastian Wilkinson. Among these assisted immigrants was 27 year old housekeeper and dressmaker Elizabeth Humphries from Salop, travelling with her sons John (7) and George (5). Elizabeth's husband was already resident in the colony at the time.

Brett (1928) and Lubbock (1929) refer to a 1281 ton Parsee, an iron clipper built by Robert Steele at Greenock on the Clyde in 1869 for J & W Stewart for their Eastern and Colonial trade. A sister ship of the beautiful little main skysail Assaye, she measured 227.4' length, 35.9' breadth and 22.4' depth. During the 'eighties these ships had the yards stripped from their mizzen masts, making very handsome barques. Built as an "Indiaman", the Parsee made some very fast runs trading between Clyde and India before starting runs to New Zealand. Her first run to New Zealand was to Auckland under Captain Nelson in 1873 with five saloon passengers and "a fine batch of [98] immigrants, including some comely girls", as the Daily Southern Cross announced. Leaving Gravesend on 14 January, she landed her pilot off Portland on the 18th, sighted the Canary Islands on 5 February, crossed the Equator on 18th, sighted Trinidad on the 1 March, passed the Cape on the 25th, Cape Maria Van Diemen TAS on 3 May and reached Auckland on the 6th.
Her next voyage she left Gravesend under Captain Nelson on 11 June 1874, crossing the Line after 24 days and reaching Port Chalmers on 4 September, a voyage of 84½ days port to port and her fastest run. She brought 246 passengers. It was nine years later that she next visited Port Chalmers, leaving London on 1 February 1883 under Captain Bailey and reaching Port Chalmers 103 days later on 15 May. Another eight years passed before she next docked at Port Calmers on 9 February 1891 after a voyage of 99 days, having departed Gravesend on 1 November 1890 under Captain Pinel, bearing general cargo.

Lubbock, in The Last of the Windjammers, details an encounter by the Parsee and other ships with a huge ice field with walls towering up to over 1000'. It extended into 46 S, between 26 and 32 W.

Source(s): Glasby (pers comm 2002).

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Ross Beattie
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