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Clipper Ship Shackamaxon

The Ship Shackamaxon was built in hiladelphia USA in 1851. She was launched on 10 July and put to sea on 2 August. She was a large clipper style vessel of 1241 tons, 170 foot long, a beam of 37 foot 6 inches and drawing 16 foot 3 inches forward and 17 foot 3 inches aft. Like all the big North American built vessels of that time she had two decks beneath the main deck.

It seems that she was named after the part of Pennsylvania where William Penn concluded a treaty with the local Indians in 1641.

Soon after launching she was acclaimed as a beautiful vessel that resembled a frigate due to the painting of false gun ports along its strake. Her figurehead, is thought to be a representation of Chief Tamamend of the Lenape tribe. It was said that when the Shackamaxon was under sail the figure head was visible riding the waves like a gilded billet head.

The Shackamaxon is one of six large North American built vessels that will feature in my next book. All six vessels were engaged to bring emigrants to the Australian colonies following the discovery of gold in 1851. They were all magnificent looking vessels but the story about each vessel transporting very large numbers of emigrants in two decks below the main deck ended in disaster.

With only a small amount of research still to complete the manuscript is almost complete. I hope to be in a position to submit the manuscript to a publisher early in the New Year. Keep an eye out for it if you are interested in sailing ship and nineteenth century Australian history - look for "Death Ships".

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