Named for a Scottish semi-precious stone, the Cairngorm was a ship of
1,161 tons. For its 1855 voyage to Australia its master was a Captain T.
The Cairngorm left from Plymouth in southern England on 2 June 1855
and arrived in Portland, Australia on 5 September 1855. According to the
passenger list it carried 372 passengers on this voyage. There were two recorded
deaths during the voyage. An infant died from "hydrocephalus" and a
ten year old died from bronchitis.
"After inspection by the Assistant Immigration Agent, Mr James Blair
(also the Police Magistrate) the ship was cleared for hiring of labour on
September 13th. 172 of the settlers sailed for Port Fairy aboard the Champion
in late September. The Cairngorm carried a mixed cargo of clothing,
bottled beer, cider, ale rum, gin, wine, brandy, earthenware, tobacco,
saddlery, hardware rope, cordage, blacking, salted pork, pork hams, cheese,
cacon, salmon, sardines, candles, files, horse nails, pipe boxes, bullock
chains, hoops, iron, poison, clocks, white lead, oil, jams, drapery, boots,
saws, whips and stationery." (1)
The word "cairngorm" (pronounced "kern-gorm") refers to a
smoky, yellow, grey or brown variety of quartz used as a gem (smoky quartz).
Literally the Gaelic "Cairn Gorm" means "Blue Cairn". The
Cairngorm Mountains form part of the Scottish Grampians and it is in this area
that the gem is found.
This picture reportedly depicts the Cairngorm that travelled to Portland. It was
apparently published in a Scottish newspaper before sailing. (2)
This ship lists Michael and Bridget
Shanley and their daughter Mary an infant. The passenger list states that
they were from Donegal and that they were going to relatives at Belfast. The Chance
left Liverpool 6 June 1857 and arrived in Belfast (Port Fairy) on 12 September
This ship sailed from Liverpool, England, on 31 January, 1854, and arrived at
Portland on 25 April, 1854. On board were Michael and Catherine Madigan
(spelt Maddigan) on the passenger list and their 10 year old son Michael.
Someone has later written in at the start of the passenger list for this ship
that the "master" was a John Tierney and that the ship weighed 1238
On the passenger list of the Euphrates are Mary and Patrick Naughton
from Limerick in Ireland. It travelled from Southampton, England, on the 7
August, 1856 and arrived in Port Fairy 19 November, 1856.
Built in 1854 (UK), the Champion was a steamer which operated between
the ports of Melbourne, Geelong, Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland. It seems
likely that the Shanleys and Malones may have been among the 172 Cairngorm passengers
who travelled on the Champion to Port Fairy.
"With a top speed of exceeding 12 knots, accommodation for 40 cabin
and 60 steerage passengers, 200 tons of cargo, and sufficient coal to steam
for 10 days without refuelling, the Champion was an immediate success and
brought many changes to the Victorian West Coast trade." (3)
On her way to Melbourne in 1857, the Champion crashed into another
steamer, the Lady Bird, and sank on the Apollo Bay side of Cape Otway. 32
people drowned. (3)
"Only known sketch of the sensational steamer Champion, lost off Cape Otway."
- Rundell, Beverly. Portland Past and Present No 2 - The Immigrant Ships
- Grant, Anne - Personal communication from Anne at Portland's History
- Loney, Jack. Tales from the Surf Coast, Shipwreck Coast and their