last modified 11th July 2020
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The Commodore Perry was built and launched in 1854 at the shipyard of Donald McKay in East Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  Sold to James Baines, Liverpool, to form part of his Black Ball Line of clippers.  She made several voyages to Australia. 

  12 Jan1855 - 26th Apr 1855 from Liverpool to Sydney (>275 passengers)**
  17 Feb 1856 - 1 May 1856 from Liverpool to Sydney (>460 passengers)**
  - Sep 1857 to Melbourne (640 passengers)*
     (captain John Thomas Webb)
  28 Jun 1859 - 23 Aug 1859
  - Aug 1860 to Melbourne (524 passengers)*
     (captain James Kiddie)
   Aug 1861 - Dec 1861 Liverpool to Melbourne (558 passengers)*
     (captain William Williams)
  1862 to Port Chalmers, NZ
  - Nov 1863 to Melbourne (469 passengers)*
     (captain Daniel Owen)
  5 Mar 1865 -1 Jul 1865 London to Brisbane

(* no. entries in Public Record Office Victoria database - Unassisted Shipping Index 1852-1923 )

(** no. entries in State Records NSW database - Index to assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney and Newcastle, 1844-59)

The Commodore Perry was sold to Thompson & Harper, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by Barned's Bank in Dec 1866 following the failure of Baines & Co in April 1866.  On Aug 27 1869 she caught fire when carrying cargo of coal from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was beached the next day near Bombay and burned to the water's edge.

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index

Passenger List

The complete passenger list for the 1861 voyage of the Commodore Perry is available on line from the Public Record Office Victoria


Steerage Passengers
Moad *
Arthur (48) labourer

Martha (40)

Martha (10)

Robina (9)
* appears as Mold in the passenger list,  The coincidence of first names and ages suggests the identification is correct.

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index

Newspaper Reports

The Boston Daily Atlas, 1854 September 30.

The New Packet Ship "Commodore Perry"

This is the pioneer of McKay's line of European Packets; and a magnificent ship she is, both in model and workmanship. She will register between 2300 and 2400 tons, has three decks, a full topgallant forecastle, which extends to the foremast, a large house before the main hatchway, and a full poop deck, 55 feet long. We have not been able to procure her exact dimensions, but by pacing her deck and guessing, we give her length on deck as 212 feet, extreme breadth of beam 47 1/2 feet, and depth 29 feet. She has very little dead rise, but great width of floor. Opposite the main hatchway, across the floor, between the curves of her bilge, she is 36 feet wide; and although she has all her spars aloft, and her boats stowed on the top of the house, and on gallows frame. she only draws 10 1/2 feet water, on an even keel, and has not an ounce of ballast in her hold. Here then, are two rare elements combined, buoyancy and stability. We have little hesitation in asserting that there is not another ship of her capacity, which will stand up like her, under the same circumstances.

She has fair ends for sailing, with slightly concave lines below, but almost semi-circular above; and her bow is ornamented with a bust of her namesake, in naval uniform. Her stern is rounded, and is ornamented with a large gilded eagle, and her name in gilded letters is over it, also her name is on each quarter, and on the curves of the bow. Her bottom is painted green, and the rest of her hull black; inside she is buff-color. Notwithstanding the space occupied by the topgallant forecastle, the house and poop, she has very spacious deck room for working ship, and grand accommodations below for second class and steerage passengers. Her main deck has three cargo ports on each side, square air ports for state-rooms, and large ventilators amidships, and along the sides of the house. The deck below has also three cargo ports on each side; and the height of her decks is between 7 and 8 feet.

She has two fine cabins; the after one finished in beautiful style, with fancy woods, gilding and flowerwork, and the forward one, a dining saloon, though white, is richly ornamented with gilding, and both are handsomely furnished. her accommodations throughout are upon nearly the same scale as the Australian clippers, recently built by Mr. McKay.

The ship herself is a wonder of strength. her frame, nearly all her knees, all her hooks and pointers, are of white oak, and she is diagonally crossbraced with iron, and all her ceiling, from the bilge to the covering-board, is scarphed, square fastened, keyed, and bolted edgeways. She has two depths of keel, each 16 inches square, four depths of keelsons, two depths of sister keelsons, and double bilge keelsons on each side, and the rest of her ceiling in the hold varies from 12 to 10 inches in thickness, and above, from 8 to 6, with thick work over and inside of her waterways, and her outside planking varies from 8 to 5 inches in thickness. She has also eight wing-stanchions on each side, which clasp the beams of two decks, and are kneed below, and the midship stanchions also extend double under the beams of two decks. Without going into further particulars, we may safely sum up, by stating that she is, in every particular, a well-built ship.

She has built lower masts; hard pine topmasts and jibbooms, double topsail yards, (the lower ones standing,) and is rigged upon Capt. Howe's principle. She has sliding-gunter royalmasts, so that in bad weather these can be sent down, and thereby ease her aloft, without interfering with the yards on the masts below.

She is well found - has eight capstans, a large windlass, Crane's chain stoppers, six boats, and a patent steering apparatus and a wheel-house. We advise those who wish to see an original design for a packet ship, to call and inspect her.

She is commanded by Capt. Beauchamp, one of the most experienced and successful sailors belonging to Boston, and is owned by her talented builder, Mr. Donald M'Kay.

Her sister ship, the Japan, will be launched in a few days, and when she is completed, we shall endeavor to obtain the full particulars of her construction and equipment. The Com. Perry is now lying at the Junction Railroad wharf, East Boston. Call and see her.

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index


Ships description
Sailing Ships "Commodore Perry" (1854)
The New Packet Ship "Commodore Perry"

Passenger lists
Unassisted Shipping Index 1852-1923
Index to assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney and Newcastle, 1844-59

Additional information
Passenger Ships Arriving in NSW
Australian shipping 1788-1968

Contents * Brief Description * Passenger List * Newspaper Reports * References * Links * Ship Index