George (ship)

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George was an Australian sloop wrecked in 1806.

George was a sloop of 28 tons that had been built on the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales for John Palmer of Sydney.

On 15 May 1803 George ran aground on New Year's Island on its way to Bass Strait. It was eventually refloated on 1 February 1804, although a carpenter drowned in the process. In 1806, George under the command of Thomas Birbeck was carried onto rocks by a strong current in Twofold Bay in late January or early February. On refloating George it was found to be so badly damaged that it was immediately beached. The crew were attacked by aborigines throwing spears and burning grass. Birbeck and the crew opened fire and killed several aborigines. The crew then set off for Sydney in the ships boat and arrived there on 13 February 1806.

On 20 March 1806 the Venus left Sydney to find the wreck and refloat it. However on arrival it was discovered to be in such bad condition that the cargo of 5000 sealskins were removed and the ship set on fire to obtain the ironwork. The Venus returned to Sydney leaving a party of five behind for no apparent reason. One of the men, Yankey Campbell went missing on 20 April and was presumed to be killed by aborigines. The remaining four fought a pitched battle with some aborigines and then took to their small boat. Bad weather forced them to land at Jervis Bay where they asked two aborigines to guide them to Sydney. They arrived in Sydney on 13 May 1806.[1]


  1. Australian Shipwrecks - vol1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0 589 07112 2 p41