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HMS Calliope (1837)

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NameCalliopeExplanation
Type6th rate   
Launched5 October 1837
HullWooden
PropulsionSail
Builders measure717 tons
Displacement 
Guns28
Fate1883
Class 
Ships book
Note1860 floating chapel.
1865 factory
Snippets concerning this vessels career
DateEvent
10 November 1837Commanded by Captain Thomas Herbert, South America, then East Indies (including the first Anglo-Chinese war)
14 June 1841Commanded by Captain Augustus Leopold Kuper, East Indies (including the first Anglo-Chinese war)
(October 1843)Out of commission at Devonport
18 July 1845Commanded by Captain Edward Stanley, East Indies
28 November 1850
- 2 November 1853
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain James Everard Home, Australia (senior officer) until Home died
20 January 1854
- 16 June 1855
Commanded (until paying off) by Captain John Coghlan Fitzgerald, Australia
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Th 7 November 1850The frigate Calliope and brigs Pandora and Britomart are ordered to be commissioned forthwith.
Fr 15 November 1850The frigate Calliope was undocked and masted on Monday.
Fr 29 November 1850

Woolwich, Nov. 28.

The Calliope, 26, is expected to be commissioned to-morrow.
Sa 30 November 1850The Calliope, 26, to be commissioned at Devonport, is to be commanded by Captain Sir James Everard Home, bart., C.B. (1837), and will proceed to new Zealand for service on that station.
Ma 9 December 1850The Calliope, 26, was commissioned on Tuesday by Lieutenant Marcus F. Brownrigg, Flag-Lieutenant to Port Admiral Sir William Hall Gage, for Captain Sir James Everard Home, and is to have a complement of 195 officers and men.
Sa 25 January 1851

Plymouth, Thursday

Het majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, Captain Sir J.E. Home, was worked to her sailing moorings yesterday. In consequence of the stormy weather on Monday, a liberty boat from the frigate ran ashore near the new works at Keyham, and one of her crew broke his leg when landing.
Sa 25 January 1851Great complaints are made in the city of the practice of announcing Government ships to sail for Rio de Janeiro on a particular day, and of their being then detained without the slightest notice from the Post-office. The amount of postage is 2s. 9d., and in addition to this the disappointment occasioned to merchants by forwarding important documents in a vessel which subsequently sails later than others is most serious. On the 22d the Calliope was appointed to depart with letters of the 21st, and on the morning after the mail had been made up an announcement appeared that the ship would not sail for "several days." The same thing constantly occurs, and with the importance which now attaches to all commercial operations it is highly discreditable to the authorities that steps should not be taken by a timely intimation to remedy the inconvenience which it causes.
Tu 28 January 1851Her Majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, Captain Sir J.E. Home, Bart., will leave Hamoaze for the Sound on Monday. Her sails were bent yesterday, and she will probably sail on Wednesday for New South Wales.
Fr 31 January 1851Her Majesty's steamer [incorrect!; a sailing friagte] Calliope, with mails for Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, and Sydney, New South Wales, is still detained at Devonport.
We 5 February 1851

Plymouth, Tuesday morning.

A serious accident occurred yesterday afternoon on board Her Majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, Captain Sir J. Everard Home. Bart., C.B., in Hamoase. She was about to be towed into the Sound, had slipped from her moorings, and was attached to a buoy near the flagship Impregnable, lying under the Obelisk. One end of a towing warp was fastened to an iron boiler on board the steam tug Avon, and several turns of the other end were passed round the capstan on the upper deck of the Calliope; but the pauls of the capstan were not adjusted. When the Avon went ahead, the sudden jerk on the capstan caused it to revolve with frightful velocity, and, as the capstan bars were not secured by swifters and pins, they flew about destructively in all directions among the officers and crew. Captain Home received several bruises about the head and body; an assistant surgeon and a quartermaster were severely injured, and a marine had his ear cut off. Signals were instantly made to the different ships in commission, from which the surgeons promptly attended. Some 18 in all were hurt, and it was found necessary to send Sir Everard Home and five others to the Royal Naval Hospital. The frigate was in consequence of the accident replaced at her moorings.
Th 6 February 1851

Plymouth, Wednesday.

Her Majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, was towed yesterday afternoon from Hamoase into the Sound. The unfortunate accident which occurred on board her on Monday afternoon, on the first attempt to tow her, took place just after she was in tow, and when they were about to round a transporting buoy off Cremhill. It then became necessary to pay off from the warp round the capstan, leaving the second warp fixed; and, it is stated, that while doing so one of the men at the capstan fell, and, this throwing the others into confusion the force of the steam-tug overpowered them, and the accident took place as before described. So great was the projectile force of the revolving capstan, that one of the bars struck the mizenmast a considerable height from the deck.
The present condition of the wounded at the Royal Naval Hospital is as follows: —
Captain Sir J. Everard Home.— Severe wound in the head. Going on favourably, and will probably be able to resume active command of the Calliope in about fourteen days.
Th 6 February 1851

Plymouth, Wednesday.

Her Majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, was towed yesterday afternoon from Hamoase into the Sound. The unfortunate accident which occurred on board her on Monday afternoon, on the first attempt to tow her, took place just after she was in tow, and when they were about to round a transporting buoy off Cremhill. It then became necessary to pay off from the warp round the capstan, leaving the second warp fixed; and, it is stated, that while doing so one of the men at the capstan fell, and, this throwing the others into confusion the force of the steam-tug overpowered them, and the accident took place as before described. So great was the projectile force of the revolving capstan, that one of the bars struck the mizenmast a considerable height from the deck.
The present condition of the wounded at the Royal Naval Hospital is as follows: —
Captain Sir J. Everard Home.— Severe wound in the head. Going on favourably, and will probably be able to resume active command of the Calliope in about fourteen days.
Mr. Nettleton, Assistant-Surgeon.— Amputation below the knee in the Royal Naval Hospital, on Monday afternoon, Feb. 3, at 4 o'clock, by Dr. Rae. A very severe case. Present condition favourable.
Knowland, Quartermaster.— Fracture of cranium, Most dangerous condition, and not likely to recover.
John Oxford, Marine.— Contused face. Recovering.
M, Jenkins, A.B., contused leg, and James Dominy, contused thigh, are likely to do well.
We 26 February 1851

Plymouth, Tuesday

The crews of the Calliope and Fantome are to be paid wages on Thursday.
Fr 28 February 1851Her Majesty's steamer [incorrect!; a sailing friagte] Calliope will shortly sail from Devonport with mails for Madeira, Rio do Janeiro, and Sydney (New South Wales). Letters and newspapers in time to-morrow evening. They must be specially addressed if intended to be sent by this vessel.
We 5 March 1851

Plymouth, Monday

Her Majesty's frigate Calliope, 26, Captain Sir J. Everard Home, and the brig Fantome, 12, Commander John H. Gennys, sailed yesterday for New Zealand.
Ma 31 March 1851The Fantome, 12 Commander Gennys, and the Calliope, 26, Captain Sir Everard Home, arrived at Madeira on the 11th inst., and the Pandora, 6, on the 15th.
Ma 17 November 1851By letters from New Zealand we learn that the Calliope, 26, Captain Sir J.E. Home, C.B., arrived at Sydney on the 20th of July, and, the Fantome, 12, Commander Gennys, on the 25th of the same month, from Hobart Town and England. The Pandora, 6, Commander Drury, arrived at Sydney on the 21st of July from the Cape of Good Hope. All remained quiet at Sidney on the 14th of August. The Acheron steam sloop, Captain John Lort Stokes, has been paid off on station, and Captain Stokes and Commander Richards ae coming home passengers in the Havannah; the Acheron having served four years on the station. The engineers have been left in her until further orders from the Admiralty, until the receipt of which by the Commodore she would act as a tender to the Governor of New Zealand. The Fly, 14, Commander Oliver, was daily expected from the New Zealand station at Rio, on her way to England, on the 15th ult. The Havannah, 26, Captain Erskine, is bringing home a freight of about 4,000l. in gold from the Bathurst diggings on Government account, and a very rare bird, called the "kiwi," for Professor Owen,[presumably Richard OwenExternal link] intended, we believe, for the Zoological Society. This bird will be the first of its species ever brought to England alive, should success attend its transmigration; and it is probable Captain Stokes may bring home in the Havannah some very extraordinary specimens of parrots, which he has obtained in New Zealand, called the "kakapo." The Bishop of Lyttelton tried this summer to bring one of this species to England alive for the Zoological Society but failed. Should Captain Stokes succeed, it is hoped he will present one to the Society.
Sa 27 December 1851

Plymouth, Dec, 24.

On the 16th of July last, when Her Majesty's ship Calliope was on her passage from Hobart-town to Sydney, in lat. 59 S., long. 152 E., a furious discharge of lightning fell on the mainmast at 6 p.m., and threatened the destruction of the ship. Captain Sir Everard Home, in an official despatch to the Board of Admiralty, says he was first made aware of the circumstance by seeing a mass of fire, as it seemed, in the fore part of the cabin, and by observing an explosion as loud as if the nearest gun to the cabin door had been fired. The whole was instantaneous. The electric fluid struck the copper spindle at the main royal mast head, which it slightly fused, pasted down the conductors on the masts, and went out by the conductors through the ship on both sides into the sea. The copper covering the bolts externally where the electrical discharge passed into the water was forced outwards.
We have been favoured with the following interesting account as extracted from a letter by one of the officers of the ship, dated, "Calliope at sea, Wednesday, July 19, 1851, 50 miles from Sydney: —
"On Wednesday evening last we had severe flashes of lightning: it had been blowing hard all the day. While sitting in the gun-room, we were suddenly startled by a blaze of light, and then a most terrific explosion as loud as the report of a 68-pounder, but with the sharpness of a brass fielder. The first impression was that one of our long guns had been fired to disperse a water-spout but a moment's reflection revealed the whole truth — we had been struck by lightning. We made a general rush to the upper deck to see what mischief had befallen us. Most fortunately, the mainmast conductors had received the shock, and the electric fluid, overcoming all impediment, passed safely through the ship into the sea. Had we not had the conductors, the Calliope must have been shattered in a thousand pieces. Even after the explosion our fears were not at rest. There was a strong smell of burning sulphur all around. The pumps were rigged and a strict search made, but the conductor had done its work most effectually, and here we are once more safe, and I think every one is most thankful for our escape. Not one of our crew ever before experienced so terrible a crash. Several felt as if a severe blow had been struck across the legs, and many fell from its effects; indeed, the sensation was most painful."
The conductors on board the Calliope are constructed upon the principle of Sir William Snow HarrisExternal link, who deservedly received the first medal of the Great Exhibition, awarded him by the jury on naval matters, of which the celebrated D rel='nofollow'upin was the chairman.
Fr 23 January 1852

THE VOYAGE OF HER MAJESTY'S SURVEYING STEAMER ACHERON.
(From the Sydney Herald.)

Although the service performed during the last four years by Captain J.L. Stokes and the officers in the Acheron has been principally on other shores than those of this continent, yet, connected as we consider this colony to be with New Zealand, politically and commercially, and at the same time much interested in her prosperity, it will not be considered that we devote too much space in our columns if we sum up briefly an abstract of the results of the voyage which has just been completed, and from the labours of which the captain, officers, and crew have been relieved by Captain Drury, in Her Majesty’s brig Pandora, which has been sent out for the purpose of completing the survey.
The Acheron's officers have been sent home passengers in the Havannah, and the Acheron remains laid up at her anchorage near Garden Island. We do not profess to be sufficiently acquainted with naval economy to understand the propriety of the measure; but it does seem strange that a vessel like the Acheron, which, from her efficiency, character, and steam power, is so well adapted to the survey of a coast, particularly like that of the Middle Island of New Zealand, on the southern and south-western coast of which no sailing vessel can prudently approach, and certainly not without running much risk, should be laid up in idleness, and a new ship commissioned to complete the few remaining portions of a coast that has been already so nearly brought to a finish; unless it be that the Admiralty have calculated upon the probability that the work to be performed is more extensive than could reasonably be expected to be completed during the period usually allotted to a ship in commission.
In consequence of the numerous applications of the authorities in New Zealand to the Admiralty to have the coast surveyed — for the coasts were but very indistinctly traced on the chart, and the ports almost unknown — Captain Stokes was appointed to the service, with instructions to make a detailed survey of the coasts and plans of the harbours and roadsteads, and to procure all possible information as to the character of the interior and the productions of the Middle and Southern Islands, which, although occupied, by stragging settlers, were but little known even to the neighbouring colonies. This service has been all but performed, and, had the Acheron remained in employment for six months longer, the whole of the coast would have been planned and charted. Indeed, all that now remain to be done, as we are informed, are the following portions of the North Island, containing about 500 miles of coast:- The north extreme, from the Bay of Islands and the west coast to Cape Egmont, at the northern entrance of Cook's Straits, and a portion of the north-east coast between Tauranga and East Cape, with the ports of Wangarooa, Okiahangtea, and False Okiahanga, Kiapara, and the entrance of Port Manukao. Cook’s Straits require a little detail on the south shore, about Pelorus River, and other portions of minor consequence; but all to the south is complete. Sufficient, however, remains to make the Pandora's voyage one of much interest. We wish Captain Drury and his officers every success, and a more agreeable termination of their voyage than has been the fate of their predecessors.
It may, however, be useful to enumerate the principal features that have been effected by the Acheron's officers. Large and detailed plans have been made of the Gulf of Shouraka, including Waimate, Waikeke, and the River Thames, Mercury Bay, Poverty Bay, Hawke Bay, all the ports and anchorages in Cook’s Straits, excepting the Pelorus River, Port Cooper, Akaroa, Otago, Molineux Harbour, on the east coast of the Middle Island; and the numerous and deep sounds on its south-west part, viz. — Preservation Harbour, Chalky Bay, Dusky Bay, Doubtful Harbour, and that most remarkable feature of the coast, Milford Haven, which has been already described. Indeed, all the sounds in that part are of the most extraordinary character, running for 20 miles into the land, bounded by perpendicular masses of rock scarcely half a mile wide, the space between being unfathomable. The mountains of Milford Haven were found to rise almost perpendicularly from their base to a height of 4,000 feet, of which we have seen some remarkable and most interesting drawings. Stewart Island, with its numerous and beautiful harbours, has also been examined and planned with great care and detail, and the position of the "traps" and "snares" ascertained with precision.
The Acheron arrived in Sydney on the 22d of May, to await the arrival of Her Majesty’s ship Calliope, to meet the orders from the Admiralty, reported to have been sent out for her recall. In the meantime, at the suggestion of the Government, and by order of the senior officer (Captain Erskine), Captain Stokes employed his vacant time in a survey of the coast from Port Stephens to Cape Howe, and in completing a plan on a large scale of Newcastle, with others of the entrance of Broken Bay, Port Hacking, Bateman Bay, and Cape Howe; and, in connexion with the last, to report upon the best position for the erection of the lighthouse, which it is understood he has performed with great advantage to the colony, and merited the approbation of the Government.
The importance of this coast survey may not be generally known; the only chart that exists of that part of the coast that exists between Port Jackson and Cape Howe was made by Captain (then Lieutenant) Flinders, and Mr. Bass, the discoverer of Bass's Strait, in the year 1798, in an open whaleboat; indeed, the part between Illawarra and Svdney was performed by Flinders and a boy, in the Tom Thumb, a small boat 12 feet long. The coast was necessarily very incorrectly laid down, and an increasing error of longitude between Sydney and Cape Howe of upwards of 10 minutes was the consequence. That this error so close to Sydney should have remained so long, is a matter of surprise; but its collection has been contemplated by the hydrographer to the Admiralty for many years, and only unavoidably omitted from its being always left to the last. Had the late Captain Stanley lived it was to have been made, but his unfortunate and lamented death stopped it and had not Captain Stokes, at some considerable inconvenience and interruption to his preparations, for giving up his ship, willingly met the wishes of the Government, it might have remained incomplete for many years.
It should, however, be observed that all the materials for a chart were already in existence, being the tracings by chain made under the order of Sir Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General; but, his map being drawn on a stereographic projection, it was not available for mariners; nor did it contain the soundings and other particulars necessary for the navigator's use. Now that this survey has been effected, it is to be hoped that the erection of the lighthouse on Cape Howe may be proceeded with without delay. And from an intimate knowledge of the necessities of Newcastle, we think that a lighthouse ought to be erected on Nobby, the trade of the port being sufficiently large to meet the expense, towards which the small traders, by whom the chief benefit will for some time be derived, ought to pay a moderate quota.
Ma 14 June 1852

Portsmouth, Sunday, June 13.

Yesterday evening the merchant ship Vimiera, Captain Neatby, passed this port for London from Sydney, an sent in mails by a pilot boat to the 10th of March and passengers. … Her Majesty's ships Calliope, Captain Sir James E. Home, C.B.; Fantome, 16, Commander Gennys; and Pandora, 4, Commander Drury, were at New Zealand on the 10th of March; the Bramble, tender to the Calliope, at Hobart Town; and the Acheron steam sloop was laid up at Sydney.
We 23 March 1853

Southampton, March 22.

By the Royal Mail steamship Parana we have received our usual advices from the Pacific ports. ... "Her Britannic Majesty's ship Calliope, Captain Sir Edward Home, was at Apia, Navigation Islands, last from Sydney, She was cruising among the islands."
Tu 19 April 1853

HOUSE OF COMMONS, Monday, April 18B

MR. BOYD.

Mr. M. MILNES wished to ask the Secretary of the Admiralty whether, in consequence of any instructions issued to Sir Everard Home, of Her Majesty's ship Calliope, with a view to ascertain the fate of Mr. Benjamin BoydExternal link, that officer had transmitted any report on the subject to the Admiralty in connexion with his recent cruise among the South Sea Islands, from which he was understood to have returned to Sydney on the 19th of December last; also, whether any report had been received from the officer in command of the China station on the same subject?
Mr. OSBORNE said, that Her Majesty's ship Calliope left Sydney on the 22d of July last, but that no report had yet been received as to the success of her mission. The Serpent had also been ordered by the chief officer commanding in the East Indies to leave Hongkong for the South Seas, and left on the 9th of November last, but no report had yet been received. He might add that Captain Denham's surveying vessel,[Herald] which left in May, 1852, was ordered to call at the Solomons Islands to ascertain, if possible, whether Mr. Boyd was still alive, or had been murdered by the natives.
Tu 17 January 1854We regret to announce, on the authority of letters from Australia, that Captain Sir Everard Home, of the Calliope, senior officer on the Australian station, was very ill. He had imprudently been on an exploring excursion to some unhealthy islands, contrary to good advice.
Ma 13 February 1854Captain Sir Everard Home, Bart., C.B., of the Calliope, 26, senior officer on the Australian and New Zealand station, is reported by the mail just in from that region to have died at Sydney on the 2d of November last. Captain Fremantle, in the Juno, was going out to relieve him.
Tu 21 February 1854

DEATHS.

On the 1st of November, at Sydney, 1853, Sir James Everard Home, Bart., C.B., Captain of H.M.S. Calliope, and senior officer on that station. He was buried with military honours, and his funeral was attended by the Governor and chief officers of the civil departments, the officers and crews of the Calliope, Fantome, and Torch, and the military officers and regiments stationed there.
Sa 14 October 1854

Southampton, Oct. 13.

The General Screw Steam Shipping Company's steamship Queen of the South, Captain W.H. Norman, arrived here at noon to-day from Australia, having left Sydney on the 15th and Melbourne on the 22d of July. ... Her Majesty's ship Calliope was at Sydney; the Electra and Fantome at Port Phillip. The General Screw Company’s steamer Croesus was at Sydney undergoing repairs, and would, it was expected, leave for Southampton about the 15th of August.
Tu 8 May 1855Her Majesty's sloop Lily, 12, Commander Sanderson, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from the China and Australian stations, last from the Brazils. She was detached from the China squadron and left Singapore on the 18th of November, 1854, arrived at Port Phillip December 29, left on the 23d of January, arrived at Rio on the 10th of March last, and left on the 17th for Spithead. She brought golddust from Australia to the amount of 40,000l. sterling, on merchants' account. She met with strong westerly gales and in latitude 58·46 S. longitude 161·8 W. fell In with large icebergs, and was running among them for a fortnight; on coming upon them the barometer was observed to fall a great deal, accompanied by heavy snow-storms. She passed the Exodus, of Liverpool, about 300 miles S.W. of the Lizard, on the 28th ult., with loss of topmasts. When she left the Australian station Her Majesty's ships Calliope and Acheron were at Sydney, and the Fantome and Electra at Melbourne; the marines and seamen of the Electra had been landed on several occasions to act with the military in the late disturbances. The Electra had been to King's Island to rescue the crew of two merchant vessels wrecked there, and had saved 20,000l. in specie. The Lily has been five years and three months in commission, during which time she has circumnavigated the globe. She brought home Lieutenant Davis, on promotion from the Electra; Lieutenant Brock, on promotion from the Lily; Mr Howarth, mate, from the Electra; Mr. Tucker, clerk, from the Fantome; and Mr. Douglas, mate, from the Styx, to join the Bulldog.
Sa 9 June 1855

Plymouth, June 8.

Her Majesty's ship Calliope, 26, Captain Fitzgerald, with 70,500 oz. of gold from Melbourne, arrived in the Sound this afternoon. Her dates are Sydney, Feb. 7; Port Phillip, March 27; and Rio Janeiro, April 19.
Ma 11 June 1855The Calliope, 26, Captain Fitzgerald, which arrived at Plymouth on Friday, left England on the 2d of March, 1851, and reached Sydney on the 20th of July. She then entered upon a service of civilization, by visiting, with one or two exceptions, every port in the islands of New Zealand, and, after calling at Hobart Town, performed the next year a similar duty among the Feejee Isles, including the penal settlement of Norfolk Island, and then returned to Sydney. Captain Sir Everard Home, who put her in commission, and whose loss was felt by all hands, died November 3,1853, from a complaint which was increased by devotion to his profession. While in Australia the Calliope lost several of her crew, who were replaced in the colony, but from her detachment of Marines, commanded by Lieutenant Leslie, only one deserted. This frigate's passage from Australia to Cape Horn presents some remarkable features, especially at the present moment, when a knowledge of the shortest and most free route is so valuable. She left Melbourne February 27, and was off Cape Horn March 30. Her commander endeavoured to preserve the parallel of 50 degrees S. Hail fell on the 24th of March, in lat. 51 6, long. 98 14 W.; hail and snow on the 28th, in lat. 55, long. 76. Off the Horn they were in 50 S. In this passage they experienced no check; strong breezes prevailed occasionally, but no inconvenience from sea or wind, and there would have been no difficulty in heaving to, if necessary, at anytime. Excepting four days, an observation was taken regularly. Winds chiefly from the westward, varying from S.W. to N.N.W.; force, 7 to 8; and four days only reached 10 or 11 weather generally overcast and cloudy. The lowest latitude, 56 10 S., was made on the evening of the 28th of March. Lowest thermometer, 31°, was felt after passing the Horn, and when near the Falkland Islands, lieutenant D'Arcy, of the surveying vessel Herald, 8. Captain Denham, on promotion, and Mr. Chevalier, from Rio Janeiro, came home passengers in the Calliope. Her freight from Melbourne is 7,500 oz. of gold, and not 70,500 oz., as telegraphed on Friday.
The frigate Juno, 26, Captain S.G. Fremantle, arrived at Sydney on the 30th of January, and, in consequence of the appearance of smallpox, was put under quarantine, but relieved again previous to the departure of the Calliope, on the 7th of February. The sloop Fantome, 12, Commander John H. Gennys, left Melbourne on the 22d of February for New Zealand. The Calliope has been towed up Hamoaze, where she is to be dismantled and put out of commission. Her crew will be paid down and transferred to the Sanspareil and other ships.
Fr 15 June 1855The crew of the Calliope, 26,Captain Fitzgerald, will be paid wages to-morrow, and have three weeks' leave of absence.
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