Edwin Fox

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The Edwin Fox was built in Calcutta in 1853.
On December that year, she departed Calcutta for London via Capetown on her maiden voyage with a crew of 60 and 10 passengers on board, most of whom were one family going to Capetown. The cargo consisted of bags of rice, rapeseed, linseed, safflower, horn tips, caster oil, cow hides, jute and various other items.
From these humble beginnings, the wooden barque was chartered to the British Government as “Transport No.109” and was used in support of the British and French during the Crimean War.

The Edwin Fox was built in Calcutta in 1853.On December that year, she departed Calcutta for London via Capetown on her maiden voyage with a crew of 60 and 10 passengers on board, most of whom were one family going to Capetown. The cargo consisted of bags of rice, rapeseed, linseed, safflower, horn tips, caster oil, cow hides, jute and various other items.From these humble beginnings, the wooden barque was chartered to the British Government as “Transport No.109” and was used in support of the British and French during the Crimean War. The ship was used mainly for personnel transport and to move stores and ammunition between Malta, Constantinople and the Crimean War area. Today it remains the oldest surviving wooden troop ship, which transported soldiers during this conflict.

She has had an exciting and adventurous past. A history which visitors can discover at the centre alongside the ship on the Picton Foreshore. While only the hull is left today, the centre gives an excellent interpretation of the Edwin Fox in its hey day.

Some excerpts from a history compiled by the Edwin Fox Society on her varied past:
In August 1858, she was a convict charter to Australia. Departed Gravesend in London for Swan River, Fermentable, with 280 convicts a crew of 42 and a “Pensioner Guard”. Pensioner Guards were a special group of Military pensioners drawn from British infantry and cavalry regiments and included many Crimean War Veterans. They worked for free passage and intended to become servants and/or settlers on arrival.

On February 14, 1860 the ship sailed from Bombay. Included in the cargo was a substantial quantity of “Taylor Walker’s India Pale Ale”. It was to be the first of several voyages in which she carried alcoholic beverages to India and earned the name “Booze Barge”.

In 1872, a new phase came began for the Edwin Fox. She was 20 years old and had become relatively absolute because of the introduction of Clipper ships and eventually iron steam ships, which were much faster.

The new phase came about through a charter by the owners, Shaw Savill & Co, to carry emigrants to

New Zealand under the Vogel scheme for assisted migration. It is this 12-year period in the life of Edwin Fox that she is best remembered today in New Zealand.

In June 1885 the Edwin Fox sailed from London on her last voyage. She arrived at Dunedin on October 19, 1885 with a cargo of 500 tonnes of coal and salt plus various items of freezing equipment which was to be assembled in her at Dunedin.

The Edwin Fox served as a freezehold there until January 1889. From there, she was towed to Lyttleton to serve in the same capacity and subsequently was towed to Gisborne, Bluff, Port Chalmers and in 1897, to Picton where she has been ever since.

Dunbar Wharf, Picton

A detailed history of the 9 th oldest ship in the world – the Edwin Fox. A large collection of
artifacts from on board the ship was found whilst cleaning between the frames.

The Maritime Centre is located a 100 metres from the Rail Ferry Terminal on the Picton Foreshore. Access is available to the ship and also the Graving Dock she is housed in.