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Built in drydock in 1843 by the Great Western SS Co., Bristol for their own company, she was a 3,270 gross ton ship, length 289ft x beam 50ft, clipper stem, one funnel, six masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 9 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 360-1st class only.
Floated on 19 July 1843, she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York on 26 July 1845 (arr.10 August, dep. 30 August). She arrived back at Liverpool on 15 September 1845. In 1846 she was fitted with bilge keels to minimise rolling, her six-bladed propellors replaced by four-bladed ones and her masts reduced to five. On 9 May 1846 she commenced her first voyage after alterations when she left Liverpool for New York. On 22 September 1846 she started on her fifth voyage but grounded in Dundrum Bay, Co Down, Ireland and was not salvaged until August 1847 when she was towed to Liverpool. In December 1850 she was sold to Gibbs, Bright & Co., reconditioned, fitted with new engines, two funnels athwartships, four masts and accommodation for 50-1st and 680-3rd class passengers. She started a single round voyage between Liverpool and New York on 1 May 1852 and on 18 August 1852 commenced sailings between Liverpool and Australia. On 28 July 1858 she made another single Liverpool - New York sailing and in February 1876 was laid up at Birkenhead at the conclusion of her 32nd round voyage to Australia.
Sold in 1882, her engines were removed and she was converted to a three masted sailing ship. In 1886 she became a coal and wool hulk in the Falkland Islands until 1933. In 1937 she was beached at Sparrow Cove and in 1970 was refloated, placed on floating pontoons and towed to Bristol. She has now been completely restored as a tribute to her designer - Brunel - and is open to the public. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.1,p.66] Contributed by Ted Finch
SS Great Britain's Australian Voyages
[Source: Is yours an SS Great Britain family? By Adrian Ball]
The Great Britain made 47 voyages between leaving Bristol for trials in January 1845 until she was brought back to the same port in July 1970. Of these round trips, 32 were between Liverpool, or London and Australian ports. (date format ddmmyyyy)
The first two voyages were from London to Liverpool. Voyage 3 was her maiden run from Liverpool to New York, which began on 26th July 1845. She remained on the Atlantic route until Voyage 8 in May / June of 1852.
Outward sailing dates (Liverpool - Melbourne)
* Great Britain sailed on to Sydney
** Great Britain Sailed on to Brisbane
*** This voyage began in London, not Liverpool
see also Rules for Passengers
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