Originally published June 14, 2017.
Built by William Henry Forster in 1853 the Edwin Fox is the world’s second oldest surviving merchant ship and the only remaining example of a ship that transported convicts to Australia.
Made of teak and constructed at Calcutta in West Bengal, the Edwin Fox was built as a standard trader for the East India Company. During her construction she was sold to Sir George Hodgkinson who decided to name her after a well known Quaker from Southhampton.
Her maiden voyage was in 1853 and saw the Edwin Fox sail from Calcutta to London via the Cape of Good Hope. After her arrival in London she served as a Troop Ship transporting British Forces during the Crimean War.
On St. Valentines day 1856 the Edwin Fox left on her first journey to Melbourne, Australia carrying passengers. After this journey she began trading between Chinese ports.
The British Government chartered her as a convict ship in 1858. This saw her transport “convicts” to Fremantle, Western Australia.
Reconfigured to a Barque in 1867 she commenced service on the emigrant route to New Zealand. In this role she carried 751 settlers on journeys that lasted between four to six months.
In the 1880s she was again refitted, this time as a freezer hulk, and was towed to Picton on the South Island of New Zealand.
The Edwin Fox now sits in dry dock in Picton, New Zealand and serves as a museum ship.