HMAS Castlemaine

We’ve seen H.M.A.S. Castlemaine tied up at Gem Pier at Williamstown, but when we there some time back, it was open for inspection (at the modest price of $6). The ship is preserved by the Maritime Trust of Australia.   It’s fascinating to see both the layout of the ship and the many displays that are on board.

I see on the specifications page that the ship had a complement of 89 (apparently this varied from time to time) and could carry up to 300 in an emergency.   Well, those 89 were certainly crammed in.    Everyone except the officers slept in hammocks, and at least in the seamen’s area these must have been almost on top of each other.   When you factor in the fact that many areas of the vessel would have been out-of-bounds to the ordinary seamen, you realise what a restrictive life it would have been.

If conditions were like this in the 1940s, the mind boggles when you think of the conditions endured by those traveling to Australia in “steerage” in the 1840s (as some of my forebears did).

Presumably life in the modern-day Navy is bit of an improvement, and  this site seems to put a positive spin on it.

HMAS Castlemaine
(Apologies to Wikipedia)



One thought on “HMAS Castlemaine

  1. For a graphic description of shipboard transport from UK to Aus in the first half of the 19th century borrow Single and Free by Elizabeth Rushen from your library.
    I learned a lot about what it was like for my free unaccompanied 14 year old great great great grandmother on her ship passage. Many of the free (ie not convict) ships get a review. One star out of 5 was probably terrific ( literally)


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