Clipper The Murray c. 1863
|Owner||James Thompson & Co.|
|Builder||Alexander Hall & Co., Aberdeen, Scotland|
|Launched||25 May 1861|
|Maiden voyage||July 1861|
|Length||193.7 ft (59.0 m)|
|Beam||33.2 ft (10.1 m)|
|Depth||20.2 ft (6.2 m)|
The Murray was a clipper ship of the Orient Line which sailed from London to South Australia for 20 years.
The Murray, a clipper of 1,019 tons B.M. and 902 tons register, length 193.7 feet (59.0 m), breadth 33.2 feet (10.1 m) and depth 20.2 feet (6.2 m), was built in 1861 by Alexander Hall & Co. in Aberdeen, Scotland for the packet service of James Thompson & Co. of London, the first ship built for that company, better known as the Orient Line, the last of their ships to be built entirely of wood.
She was launched on 25 May 1861, her first master being the highly regarded Captain Legoe, whose wife gave her the name of "The Murray". She sailed from Gravesend on her first voyage to Australia in July 1861.
She carried both passengers and cargo, making very fast times. In 1863 she left Plymouth on 15 July and arrived at Adelaide on 26 September, making the entire journey in 73 days, equal to the 1860 record of Yatala, considered the fastest on the route until the advent of Torrens.
Captain Legoe, previously of Celestial, was succeeded by James Norval Smart in 1867, William Begg 1869–1872, previously of Sebastian and Coonatto, and Thomas L. Wadham 1874–1876.
On the night of 26 May 1870 in mid Atlantic between Brazil and West Africa, a lookout saw a ship on fire, and Begg made towards it. The ship was the Italian barque Mannin Barabino, out of Genoa bound for the River Plate (Puerto Rico) with a cargo of spirits. The fire had started in the galley and swiftly engulfed the ship; the ship's boat was lowered but was soon overloaded and capsized, and the few survivors managed by clinging to the upturned boat or floating spars, and over 120 were lost by fire or water. Captain Begg was awarded a silver medal by the Italian government for his part in the rescue.
An interesting article on conditions of passage in 1871 may be read here.