James Craig (barque)

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File:James Craig.jpg
The James Craig in Geelong in 2006

James Craig is an iron-hulled, fully restored three-masted barque, part of the Sydney Heritage Fleet
Career Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: Clan Macleod(1874-1905),
James Craig (1905-)

Mr. T. Dunlop, Glasgow, Scotland (1874-1883),
Sir Roderick Cameron, Glasgow, Scotland (1883-1899),
Mr. J. J. Craig, Auckland, New Zealand (1899-1911),
British New Guinea Development Company (1911-1918),
Henry Jones & Company(1918-1925),
Catamaran Coal Mining Company (1925-1932 ),

Sydney Heritage Fleet (1972-current)
Builder: Bartram, Haswell & Co, Sunderland, England
Cost: £11,375
Yard number: 75
Launched: February 18,1874
In service: April,1874
Renamed: James Craig, 1905
Reclassified: Storage hulk 1911-1918,
Coal lighter 1925-1932
Reinstated: February 2001
Homeport: Glasgow (1874-1900),
Auckland, New Zealand (1900-1911),
Hobart, Tasmania (1918-1925),
Sydney Australia (1972-current)
Identification: 68086
Fate: museum ship since 1972
General characteristics
Class and type: Cargo
Type: Iron hull,Barque rig
Tonnage: 671 gross
Length: Hull:179.8 feet (54.8 m)LOA:229.6 ft (70.0 m)
Beam: 31.3 ft (9.5 m)
Height: 108.2 ft (33.0 m)(mainmast)
Draught: 12.3 ft (3.7 m)
Depth of hold: 18 ft (5.5 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Speed: 14 kt
Capacity: 1,100 tons
Complement: 16

The James Craig is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque restored and sailed by the Sydney Maritime Museum.


Built in 1874 in Sunderland, England, by Bartram, Haswell, & Co., she was originally named Clan Macleod. She was employed carrying cargo around the world, and rounded Cape Horn 23 times in 26 years. In 1900 she was acquired by Mr J J Craig, renamed James Craig in 1905, and began to operate between New Zealand and Australia until 1911.

Unable to compete profitably with freight cargo, in later years James Craig was used as a collier. Like many other sailing ships of her vintage, she fell victim to the advance of steamships, and was first laid up, then used as a hulk, until eventually being abandoned at Recherche Bay in Tasmania. In 1932 she was sunk by fishermen who blasted a 3-metre hole in her stern.


Restoration of James Craig began in 1972, when volunteers from the 'Lady Hopetoun and Port Jackson Marine Steam Museum' (now the Sydney Heritage Fleet) refloated her and towed her to Hobart for initial repairs. Brought back to Sydney under tow in 1981, her hull was placed on a submersible pontoon to allow work on the hull restoration to proceed. Over a number of years the vessel was restored, repaired by both paid craftspeople and volunteers and relaunched in 1997. In 2001 restoration work was completed and she was able to set sail.

Current situation

James Craig is currently berthed at Wharf 7 of Darling Harbour, near the Australian National Maritime Museum. She is open to the public, and takes passengers out sailing on Sydney Harbour and beyond. She is crewed and maintained by volunteers from the Sydney Heritage Fleet. The cost of maintaining her is approaching $1 million a year and the ship relies on generating income from visitors alongside, charters, events, and regular fortnightly daysails with up to 80 passengers.

The ship has now made historic return voyages to Hobart (2005 and 2009) and to Port Philip (Melbourne and Williamstown) in 2006 and 2008.

Historical Value

James Craig is of exceptional historical value in that she is one of only four ships of her era and rig, still afloat and putting to sea at regular intervals. As such she is a working link to a time when similar ships carried the bulk of global commerce in their holds. Thousands of similar ships plied the oceans in the 19th and early 20th centuries linking the old world, the new world, Asia and Oceania.




Online sources

External links

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