Ticonderoga was a 169 feet steam clipper displacing 1,089 tons, launched in 1849 at Williamsburg, New York. The Ticonderoga was infamous for its "fever ship" voyage in 1852 from Liverpool to Port Phillip carrying 795 passengers, arriving on the 22nd December 1852. It was a double-decker ship, overcrowded, and with more than its recommended load. Many passengers were small children, as the restrictions on the number of children per family had been lifted. Most came from the Highlands of Scotland but there were other families from Somerset on board.
The ship was not designed well for passenger carrying, sanitary provisions were totally inadequate, and the doctors were soon overwhelmed, and themselves caught typhus. The decks were never swabbed properly and there was no cleaning undertaken below decks; contemporary accounts mention the dreadful smell and the lack of sanitation. Bodies were bundled into mattresses in tens and thrown overboard during the voyage.
100 passengers died during the voyage of what was later determined to have been typhus. When the ship arrived, it was initially moored off Point Nepean and the headland was turned into a quarantine station, where many more passengers died and were buried, rather haphazardly in shallow graves. Later memorials have since been erected by the descendants of survivors.
After the press furore about conditions, double-decker ships were no longer used for emigrants, and the restrictions about the numbers of children allowed were reinstated.
In 1872, the Ticonderoga was wrecked off India.
- Julie Ruzsicska. "The Journey". http://ticonderoga.com.au/journey.htm.
- Mary Kruithof. "Ticonderoga Heritage Page". http://www.qualityinsights.com.au/heritage/index.html.
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