112761: HMS Hercules (1815)

One of a line of Royal Navy ships with the same name, this HMS Hercules was launched in 1815, a full-rigged ship with 74 guns.

In 1852 it was arranged that the Hercules was to take over 750 emigrants from Skye, North Uist and Harris to Australia, under the command of a Captain Baynton. Many of the emigrants were assisted by by the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society, who arranged for clothing, bibles and a surgeon on board.

Although the Hercules was originally to sail from Portree, the plans changed and it sailed from Campbeltown instead on 26th December 1852, the local steamer Celt having collected islanders from Barra and Uist. It was not to be an easy voyage, with 56 deaths before the ship reached Australia.

First, a storm caused the ship to take refuge at Rothesay. Leaving there on 14th January, an outbreak of smallpox and typhus caused an extended stay in quarantine at Cork. Following this, many of the passengers were transferred to other ships. 375 stayed on the Hercules, leaving Cork on 14th April 1853, passing the Cape of Good Hope on 21st June, arriving at Port Adelaide on 26th July 1853. The next day the Hercules sailed for Melbourne with the remaining 183 passengers, arriving there on 1st August.

An article about the voyage appeared in the Illustrated London News on 15th Jan 1853. A transcript plus extensive additional information is to be found on The Ships List website.

Record Type:
Date Launched:
5 Sep 1815
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