Apr 14, 2008

The 1874 Barque James Craig

Launched in 1874 as the Clan Macleod, the vessel began her career on the South America run, subsequently carrying British emigrants to Australia. However, within a decade her kind had been superseded by steamers that didn't require three to four months for a voyage to the Antipodes.

As a New York based general cargo vessel she became a familiar sight at Canterbury ports from the later 1880s. Much of the enameled Granite Ware saucepans, pie dishes and kettles, etc. now keenly sought by antique collectors, arrived in the province via Cape Horn aboard the Clan Macleod.

Acquired by the Craig Line of Auckland at the turn of the century and renamed James Craig five years later, she worked the Tasman carrying timber to Australia, returning with hardwood railway sleepers and general cargo.

Sold to Sydney in 1911, she ended her working career as a Tasmanian coal hulk. Rescued in 1973, restoration began in 1981 and the vessel is once again registered at Sydney. Although still bearing the James Craig name, the $12.5 million "restoration" has not included the distinctive Craig Line livery.

The Craig Line's Louisa Craig of 1876 ended her career as the Lyttelton coal hulk Raupo and now lies beached on Quail Island.

Fourth in a series about surviving ships of significance to Canterbury history.

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