Lost but Not Forgotten: The Significance of Nineteenth-Century American Brigs To a Developing Colonial Australia

Author: Walter Duane Hano

Hano, Walter Duane, 2018 Lost but Not Forgotten: The Significance of Nineteenth-Century American Brigs To a Developing Colonial Australia, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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At the turn of the nineteenth century, wooden brig-rigged sailing vessels were one of the most prevalent types of ship serving in both the naval and merchant sectors. The capabilities of these ships for open–sea sailing, operating in coastal waters and accessing smaller ports are just some of what made these vessels so popular, especially to the maritime-based economy of colonial Australia. Concurrently, the growing shipbuilding industry in the emergent United States quickly was becoming the world leader, and American ships were present the world over. The focus of this thesis is to highlight and investigate the participation of American brigs in Australian maritime commerce and its importance to the maritime-based economies of the Australian colonies. Supplementing this broad-based study is a more detailed and regionally focused examination of the American brig Ida, wrecked on the South Australian coast in 1857. Ida’s ship biography is developed within the framework of the so-called BULSI system, incorporating the results of archaeological site excavation and historical and archival research. These details provide a specific case example for the broader study context and help advance understanding of the presence of American brigs in Australian waters during the nineteenth century and the contributions that these ships made to the economic development of the colonies and, ultimately, the nation of Australia.

Keywords: American Brig, nineteenth century, Ida, Shipwreck, Port Willunga, Colonial Australia, Australian Economy, ERT

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2018
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Wendy van Duivenvoorde