Parkin : Sobraon [photograph]

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Parkin, Thomas

Ships' logs compiled by Thomas Parkin of Hastings, Sussex, on a voyage around the world.

Volume 1, England to Australia: London to Melbourne via Cape of Good Hope in the Clipper Ship Sobraon. Volume 2, Australia to New Zealand: Melbourne to Lyttelton, New Zealand via Tasmania in the SS Waichora; New Zealand to England: Lyttelton to London via Cape Horn, the Brazils and Canary Islands in RMS Coptic.

The most important of the ships mentioned here is the Sobraon, built by Messrs. Hall, of Aberdeen, to the order of Lowther, Maxton & Co. Launched in November 1866, the Sobraon was the largest composite ship ever built, being constructed of solid teak with iron beams and frames. The vessel displaced some 2131 tons when empty and 3500 tons when loaded, with a length overall was 317 feet, and a beam of 40 feet. The lower masts were made of wrought iron, and the topmasts and lower yards on each mast of were of steel. With all sail set, the Sobraon had a spread of just over two acres of canvas.

The Sobraon was one of the more famous vessels to ply the England-Australia sea route in the second half of the 19th century and was featured in the 1984 Clipper Ships issue of stamps by Australia Post. For 24 years she sailed between England and Australia and her spread of canvas meant she was capable of runs of over 2000 nautical miles in a week. Her record was some 340 nautical miles in 24 hours and she once sailed from Plymouth to Melbourne in 70 days.

In 1891 the Sobraon was purchased by the NSW Government as a replacement for the boys’ training ship Vernon. Later commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira in 1912, and refitted at the Cockatoo Docks, Sobraon continued in service until 1927 when she was sold. The Sobraon remained moored at Berry's Bay, Sydney until 1941 when she was broken up.

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