Onboard the "Elissa" a barque.

NZ Bound   Index   Search   Hints    Lists   Ports

The Elissa

The Elissa was launched in October 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland for a builders price of �7,046. She is a fully restored iron hull 411 ton cargo barque, three masts - fore and main masts rigged square (from side-to-side), and the last (the mizzen) fore-aft rigged (front to back), built by Alexander Hall and Son moored at the Texas Seaport Museum, Galveston. The builder's plate was found below deck attached to the main mast.

Bow sprit and figurehead.   

The number is the hull number and was the 294th hull built at that yard. Usually if you want the drawings for a ship you would ask for the drawing for hull #___, but many of the  Alexander Hall and Son records were destroyed during WW2. Today the builder's plate is usually mounted on the bridge with the builder's name and yard (order) number on it. 

Builders plate, usually found below deck attached to the main mast.

Alexander Hall and Son Shipbuilders built 751 ships from 1811 to 1958, the  yard was located in York Street, Footdee, Aberdeen and the company operated from 1790 to 1957. List of Vessels built at Alexander Hall & Co. Vessels 1811-1899  1900 - 1958

  Chart house. Keeps the maps dry.         Stairwell

The chart house is in front of the helm.

elissacabin.jpg (15945 bytes) 

elissacabin1.jpg (9603 bytes)

"It will be the old ship. The ship has been through many things in its lifetime. It has sailed the oceans of the world, it has battled with nature through her life.  This ship has been through many things. She's over 100 years old. She's been through recessions, storms, hurricanes. She's been battling all her life. She's not dead yet, far from it."

History || photos || 

Falls of Clyde
Star of India
US Large vessels
The Melbourne Maritime Museum - home of Polly Woodside
City of Adelaie - in peril
Cutty Sark

Tall Ship Race vessels
The Tui

The Elissa was a British merchant ship and spent 20 years delivering cargo around the world including bananas to Galveston before being sold in 1897 to a Norwegian company and being renamed the Fjeld. In 1911, the ship was sold again, renamed the Gustav and handed down through a series of Swedish, Finnish and Greek owners. In the 1950s, the vessel was known to have been used to smuggle untaxed cigarettes between Italy and the former Yugoslavia, then later taken out of service and docked in Greece.  It was found in 1974 in a Greek shipyard and purchased for $40,000 in 1975 by the Galveston Historical Foundation, which owns the vessel. It was towed to Galveston after four years of fundraising and hull repair work. Experts and volunteers returned the ship to its original 1877 condition in Galveston and it was opened to public tours at Galveston's Pier 22 in 1982 after a restoration costing about $7 million. The ship, one of only three pre-20th century square-riggers in the United States restored to full sailing capability, sails with a licensed captain and officers and a trained volunteer crew on day sails annually at the end of March for about ten days and one over night voyage to reward the volunteers who constantly maintain the vessel.

Daily Southern Cross, 25 April 1870, Page 4
Lufra. On January 29 was launched at Footdee, by Messrs. Alexander Hall and Co., a full-rigged snip, composite-built, and of 810 tons builders' measurement, named the Lufra, and intended to trade between England and Australia and China, She is owned by Messrs, William Anderson, Storm, and others, in Macduff and neighbourhood, and is to be commanded by Captain Hodge. She measures 180ft. in length, 31ft. in breadth of beam, and 17ft. in depth, and will register 704 tons.

Daily Southern Cross, 1 February 1872, Page 2
The Hokitika : On November 2 a large iron barque-rigged vessel, named the Hokitika, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Alexander Hall and Sons, Footdee. She is 290 tons register, 130 ft in length, 23ft in breadth of beam, and 12ft. 6in. in depth of hold. She is classed 100 A at Lloyd's, and is entered in the Liverpool books for 20 years. The Hokitika has been built at the order of Spence Brothers, London and Melbourne, and is intended for the colonial trade,

Otago Witness, 31 October 1874, Page 12
We have heard a great deal in praise of the
Calypso, how she was a clipper of the first water, built of fine lines, while yet provided for ample stowing capacity. She was described as the counter-part on a large scale of that ship yacht the May Queen. For once reports were not exaggerated, the Calypso is all that she was described to be. The commander and owner, Captain Leslie, is to be congratulated upon possessing so handsome a vessel. She was towed into port on October 26th by the Geelong, and anchored for the time being off Deborah Bay. She is, indeed, a fine ship, long and lofty, with a sweet entrance, fine enough to cut a feather, and yet backed by bearings sufficiently defined to pick the ship up smartly on a sea. Her after lines are no less noticeable for their fineness, combined with a good curve for weatherly purposes. We should image that the Calypso leaves very little dead water behind her. The ship is built of iron throughout, and and on exactly the same lines (only enlarged) as the May Queen. Her builders were Messrs Alexander Hall and Co., of Aberdeen. She has a full poop and topgallant forecastle, and the accommodation of the latter is both commodious and elegant, combining a roomy saloon with capacious well-finished sleeping cabins. The ship is otherwise well appointed  she has a capital steam winch and fresh water condenser, patent double action pumps, worked by either hand or steam, and one of Walker's patent windlasses, a small thing of marvellous compactness and strength. There are roomy houses on deck for the accommodation of her officers and some passengers, and the fore part is devoted to galley space. The latter is fitted with a capital range and ample cooking appliances. The crew are of course berthed in the topgallant forecastle, and have very commodious quarters. The Calypso's rig is modern throughout, the lower masts, bowsprit, lower yards, and lower topsail yards are of iron, and the whole of the standing rigging of iron wire. That the ship is a clipper is demonstrated by her time 81 days� from London to the anchorage at Port Chalmers, or 74 days from land to land : and that she is a good sea boat is shewn by the admirable condition in which a number of prime Leicester sheep and a short-horn bull that were carried on deck have arrived in. Forty sheep were placed on board, and out of the number only one died. Fourteen saloon passengers, 17 second cabin, and 13 intermediate arrived with her. Mr Stollery, late chief officer of the May Queen, holds the same position on board the Calypso ; and we also intend one or two more or the May Queen's hands satisfied, no doubt, to follow the fortunes of their old commander. We may observe that the poop is 48ft long, and that the cuddy can accommodate 20 passengers. The Calypso's report states that she left London August 3rd: had strong head winds in the Channel ....The Snares were sighted on the morning of the 24th, and Otago Heads were reached next day, and a Pilot shipped in the afternoon. She brings a large cargo, of which between 600 and 700 tons is dead weight.

West Coast Times, 1 December 1874, Page 2
On Aug. 29 there was launched from the building yard; Messrs Alexander Hall and. Co., Aberdeen, an iron sailing vessel, named the
Avalanche, The vessel,- which is 1150 tons register, and of 'the highest class at Lloyd's, is intended for, the Australian and New Zealand -trade. The Avalanche is on the berth for Wellington.

Tuapeka Times, 24 October 1894, Page 6
Captain Roger Turpie, commander of the new John Williams, who is making a tour of the colonies at present, is a perfect specimen of the hale and hearty mariner. He is a native of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, has a powerful physique, and is full of genuine enthusiasm for the work of missionary advancement. He is, moreover, every inch a sailor, and his fund of quaint and thrilling stories of the islands, among which he has spent so many years, seems to be inexhaustible. This, coupled with his love of children, made him a great favorite with the scholars of the English schools, who have parted with him as with a loved and delighted friend. A representative of a contemporary called upon Captain Turpie during his stay in Liverpool, and reports the conversation that took place in these terms :  "It is thirty-seven years," said the captain, " since I joined the first John Williams in London as chief officer, and I have been twenty-three years in command of the present ship. The first
John Williams was launched in June, 1854, at Harwich. She ran for ten years and eleven months, and was lost on May 17, 1864, in a calm. "In a calm?"  "Yes, in a calm, with our boats out trying to keep her off land, and with water too deep to afford an anchorage. She was driven ashore by a current at Danger Island. There were sixty souls on board, all of whom were saved. I was eight years in her as chief officer, having joined her in in June, 1836. The second John Williams was built at Aberdeen by Messrs Alexander Hall and Son. She was 296 tons, N.N. measurement, and barque-rigged, like the first. She was lost at Savage Island. She, too, was driven on shore by the current and wrecked during a calm in January, 1867, no lives being lost. The present ship, 'No. 3,' was also built by Alexander Hall and Son, and launched in October, 1868. She is barque-rigged, and is 186 tons net, or 200 gross register." "We have heard a great deal about mission work during the last four years. There are those who think progress has not been as rapid as it should be. What is your opinion?"  "Progress! Any impartial witness who knew the isles as they were and as they are now cannot but admit the extraordinary progress made in the South Pacific. The evidence is before the eyes of any impartial judge." "I understand that you sail under the peace flag, on Livingstonian lines. Is that so ?"  " Yes, I can safely say it is this. I have been amongst the islands as captain and mate for thirty-seven years, and we never carried a weapon and never had a man injured. I think it has been our safety. I believe a great many of the massacres and injuries received by white men in distant parts are the results of maltreatment by those who have preceded them. We have not, during those thirty seven years, had occasion to lift a hand in anger to a Native. I am not speaking of what I have heard. These are facts that have come within my own knowledge. The ship bears on her tows the motto ' Peace on earth, good-will toward men.' That policy is inculcated by the directors of the London Missionary Society, and has been carried out to the best of my ability." " I have heard that the missionary ships do not engage in trade. Is that correct ?"  "It is. The three ships have been the absolute property of the juvenile constituents of the London Missionary Society. Their ships do no trade. Neither our ships nor crews are permitted to engage in trade or barter other than for food or vegetables necessary for the ship's use." .... 'English Independent.'

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."  Mark Twain