John Pirie 1836

John Pirie was the only ship actually owned by the South Australian Company &  fitted for use as a store ship for the Company’s sealing & whaling enterprise.  For this trip it carried a load of stores &  a large supply of dry staves to be used by the Coopers to manufacture casks for packing salted & cured fish & meat. 

An accurate list is difficult to find,  but  it appears  Captain Martin was responsible for a crew of 11 plus 22 passengers including 6 children.  

Four of the crew deserted the ship at the start of the voyage. On arrival at Kangaroo Island only 19 passengers disembarked.  Sadly one passenger, Elizabeth Chandler, had died enroute. On a happier note,  the first two weddings in the new Province were performed aboard the John Pirie, by its Captain at Kingscote. William  Staple, seaman who replaced one of the deserters, married passenger Mary Ann Powell - a fortuitous change of events for both!

Other passengers included brothers James & Joseph Jones, John Nash & the Powell family. Charles Chandler was left with 4 children under 10 after his wife died in unusual circumstances.

Chandlers Hill is named for the area where he farmed.

The John Pirie stayed in Australia waters after the voyage to Kangaroo Island, transporting goods & passengers between South Australian settlements, Launceston, Hobart & Sydney.  

Declared overdue at the end of 1848, wreckage believed to be from the ship was discovered on the coast of Prime Seal Island in Bass Straight in October 1850.

Anthea Taylor

Published on Pioneers Association SA Facebook 

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