Hell Ship: The True Story of the Plague Ship 'Ticonderoga' one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 220 pages
Author: M. Veitch
Year: 2020
ISBN: 9781760877460
Other: b&w photos, bibliog
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

For more than a century and a half, a grim tale has passed down through Michael Veitch's family: the story of the Ticonderoga, a clipper ship that sailed from Liverpool in August 1852, crammed with poor but hopeful emigrants-mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and the potato famine. A better life, they believed, awaited them in Australia.

Three months later, a ghost ship crept into Victoria's Port Phillip Bay flying the dreaded yellow flag of contagion. On her horrific three-month voyage, deadly typhus had erupted, killing a quarter of Ticonderoga's passengers and leaving many more desperately ill. Sharks, it was said, had followed her passage as the victims were buried at sea. 

Panic struck Melbourne. Forbidden to dock at the gold-boom town, the ship was directed to a lonely beach on the far tip of the Mornington Peninsula, a place now called Ticonderoga Bay. 

James William Henry Veitch was the ship's assistant surgeon, on his first appointment at sea. Among the volunteers who helped him tend to the sick and dying was a young woman from the island of Mull, Annie Morrison. What happened between them on that terrible voyage is a testament to human resilience, and to love.

Michael Veitch is their great-great-grandson, and Hell Ship is his brilliantly researched narrative of one of the biggest stories of its day, now all but forgotten. Broader than his own family's story, it brings to life the hardships and horrors endured by those who came by sea to seek a new life in Australia.

1. A lonely beach
2. Birkenhead
3. Wakefield and 'the Board'
4. Australia 1851: Gold versus wool
5. The Scots
6. The age of the clippers
7. The 'Ticonderoga'
8. Emigrants and numbers
9. Departure
10. Clearances and numbers
11. Life at sea
12. Death at sea
13. A lonely encounter
14. The Great Circle
15. Surgeons at sea
16. The first cases
17. Typhus takes hold
18. The box with the dull pink ribbon
19. The Southern Ocean
20. Hell Ship
21. Arrival
22. Protecting the colony
23. A colonial crisis
24. The 'Lysander'
25. Quarantine and outrage
26. A Christmas escape
27. A visit from the Governor
28. The last journey
29. The 'Maitland'
30. Life goes on
31. The aftermath
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Hell Ship: The True Story of the Plague Ship 'Ticonderoga' one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history


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