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The immigrant ship Artemisia, The Illustrated London News, 12 August 1848, State Library of Queensland


In mid-December 1848 the barque Artemisia disembarked almost 250 of the first free settlers to Moreton Bay.

It appears that Artemisia was first named England’s Queen in Sunderland and launched on 11 October 1847 from Mr Richard Wilkinson’s Yard, Sunderland. Then somewhere between the movement from Sunderland to the East India Docks she was renamed Artemisia.

The East India Dock, London, was alive with activity on 27 July 1848. The Artemisia, the first vessel carrying free immigrants to arrive in Moreton Bay, was taking on passengers and preparing for the voyage to Australia.

She sailed from London with 209 immigrants, stopped at Plymouth where she took on a further 31 passengers. Under the captaincy of John Priest Ridley she left Plymouth on 18 August 1848.

Contemporary texts state she was a barquentine of 492 tons (558 tonnes burthen) built at Sunderland in 1847. She is recorded in Lloyd’s Register as a barque from 1848/49 through to 1854/55 and not mentioned again after 1855. Built in Sunderland, she was moved to the East India Docks in London, owned by Anthony Ridley, a subscriber in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. John Priest Ridley, possiby a relative of Anthony Ridley, served as the vessel’s captain 1848 through to 1853.

She arrived at Moreton Bay via Launceston, Tasmania and Sydney, NSW, on 13 December 1848. The barque was too large to cross the bar at the mouth of the Brisbane River, so that the first free immigrants to Brisbane, (around 240) were transferred to the Raven and put ashore. The settlers comprised 42 married couples (84 persons), 32 male children, 8 infants under 12 months, 28 females between 1-14, 42 single men and 20 single women.

Artemisia regularly served the London to New South Wales route from 1848 to 1853, China 1853/54 and Australia again in 1854/55. She carried cargoes back to England.

On 10 January 1849 on her return voyage she left Moreton Bay and sailed to Sydney where after stopping over until 15 March 1849 she was loaded with a cargo that included 1479 bales of wool.

Her second trip to the Antipodes saw her leave London on 5 September 1849 via Plymouth arrving in Sydney on 27 December 1849. She then sailed to Port Stephens (Newcastle), landing iron and machinery for the Australian Agricultural Company coal mine. Artemisia also then disembarked 40 passengers from England.

Her return trip meant she was in Sydney on 7 February 1850 before leaving for the Auckland Islands and Wellington, New Zealand. From there, on 19 May 1850 Artemisia sailed to San Francisco, America, arriving on 5 August 1850 after being on the seas for 74 days. Leaving San Fransisco, via Honolulu, she arrived again in Sydney on 12 December 1850 with timber from New Zealand still in its cargo.

On 16 March 1851 she left Sydney for San Francisco, again via Honolulu and managed the return trip 20 July 1851 with a few passengers and 23 in steerage arriving again in Sydney 20 September 1851. Towards Christmas 1851 on 19 December she left Sydney for Mauritius - it was presumed for a voyage to London. There is here a gap of a couple of years in the Artemisia’s journeying.

From London she arrived back in Auckland New Zealand on 4 April 1854 and left for Guam on 5 June 1854 in ballast. At an unknown date she bilged on the east side of Kangean Island, Java Sea, Indonesia. She was possibly plundered by locals and became a total wreck.

Captain S. Banes along with his wife and 23 crew arrived safely at Sourabaya, East Java, in a ship’s boat on 30 July 1854.

Researched and written by Dr Dorothy Wickham

Those emigrants from the Artemisia associated with Eureka or Victorian Goldfields Agitation

Thomas Amies

Charles Faulkner

Charles Faulkner's wife died on the voyage to Australia and was buried at sea.

John Barker

Hannah Barker, the wife of John, and Anthony their son, also sailed on the Artemisia.

Researched and written by Dr Dorothy Wickham

Also See

Robert Inglis Journal 1848 being the journal Inglis made on board the Artemisia on her voyage to Moreton Bay, Australia.

Acc M 1241, Box 3820, John Oxley Library, Brisbane, Queensland.