Thursday, 19 January 2017

Edwin Fox - 9th Oldest ship in the world. (2nd oldest merchant sailing ship)

This is the first of a couple of Posts about my adventures down in the South Island last week. While I was over there I got a chance to go over to Picton where, tucked away and unknown to most of the world lies the Edwin Fox which is quite a remarkable vessel.

Artists rendition of the Edwin Fox
 Now I heard about this in the Coast NZ TV series and given my obsession interest in sailing ships I decided I really wanted to go see it. Fortunately for me I was lucky while staying in Nelson to get a chance to go over to Picton about a 2hr drive away. The Edwin Fox started out it's life carrying tea but it would go on to do many things during its life. Here are some basic facts for you.
  • It is the second oldest merchant sailing ship as well as the 9th oldest overall. Being constructed in Calcutta in 1853.
  • It is the last surviving ship that took convicts to Australia.
  • It is the last surviving Crimean War troop carrier.
  • It is the Oldest surviving wooden ship that brought immigrants to New Zealand.
  • And the only remaining ship of the Dunbar Shipping fleet which was once one of the largest on earth.
So this is rather a special ship and I got to have a look. If you want to know more Maritime New Zealand has a page on it.Below are some of the photos I took. I hope you like them.

The bow of the ship has been partially reconstructed to show what life would have been like onboard

A hammock seems like a sensible idea

These two photos show a contrast. On the left is a room what would have been occupied by wealthy passengers. The right is a mock up of the galley.

When used to transport immigrants which is what most people on board would have slept in.

But by far the most interesting thing about this ship is the size of it. This space in the hold. It has been described like an upside down cathedral. Although an exaggeration it is quite a space to be in.

Another shot from inside
A look at the rudder, with a helpful person for scale

The ship is kept in dry-dock and it is possible to go down and look from below. A really worthwhile experience.

The rudder again, this time looking up at the stern
A view of the bow. Note the Muntz metal plating

A view of the bow. Note the white paint. Compare this line to the artists drawing above. The ship has completely lost it's top deck.

Finally an interesting read. It shows the crimes and sentences of some of the convicts transported by this vessel. A full list is in the Museum itself. Note: Habitual drunkenness with a 7 year sentence.
 Well that is all for today. I will upload some photos from my trip to the Abel Tasman National Park soon. Oh and for those wondering the ships dimensions were:
  • Length: 44.1m
  • Mast height: 48.8m
  • Beam: 9m
  • Crew: approximately 50
  • Passengers: up to 400
  • Tonnage: (original) 900, (current) 630
Or in 1/72 scale:
  • Length: 61-62cm
  • Mast height: 68cm
  • Beam: 12.5 cm
 Which is not too large for a model. :-P Although I don't have the plans for it and unless there is interest in this being made in 1/72 I don't think I will bother the museum staff for a copy. So until next time have a good day/night and I hope you've enjoyed learning about this interesting ship.


  1. That is really cool. I didn't even know about it. Might have to have a look next time I am up that way.

    1. It's an interesting thing to see. Would recommend it.