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An intriguing Victorian unmarked silver Brooch.

A Victorian unmarked silver Brooch, the front engraved with a putto on a lake, seated in a shell-form boat pulled by a pair of swans with a temple in the background, the scene within a border of foliate scrolls. The reverse of the badge is engraved with a presentation inscription: ‘Presented to Jane Elizabeth Hutchins by William Carey, made and engraved on board Barque Winchester, bound for Melbourne, Australia. James Curry, Commander, Decr. 25th 1852.’

The Winchester sailed from Bristol in 1852. There were problems with the provisions for the journey. A number of casks of meat were found to be putrid and had to be removed and fresh supplies provided. The Bristol Mercury for August of 1852 carried a number of letters concerning the issues and, on August 17th, a letter signed by eight of the passengers, including William Carey, stated that they were then perfectly happy with the provisions and regretted the publicity that the matter had received.

The ship had arrived at Port Phillip, Melbourne, on 22nd January 1853, having sailed from Bristol on August 18th and Rio De Janeiro on November 14th. The Melbourne newspapers record the ship as 393 tons, commanded by Captain Curry, with one cabin passenger and 179 steerage passengers. One of the recorded passengers was a William Carey, aged 21. The English Census of 1851 records seven William Carey’s of that approximate age but the most likely is William Carey, a watchmaker, son of William Carey, also a watchmaker, of Back Street, Melksham in Wiltshire.

In April of 1853, the Winchester set sail from Port Phillip carrying a cargo, including gunpowder, to Newcastle. Not long after leaving port, however, she caught fire and the crew abandoned ship off Queenscliff without attempting to extinguish the fire. Captain Curry was rescued in a pilot boat. The ship was burnt to the waterline. The barque had been built in Sunderland in 1837 and was a three-masted vessel. The website of the State Government of Victoria carries the following information about the incident:

Was at anchor as a strong south-westerly breeze prevented proceeding to sea, head pointing north-east. At about 11 am fire broke out in lazarette (aft of vessel). The crew immediately took to the boats, refusing to assist in putting out fire. The Mate apparently prevented crew from leaving without captain. The 50 lbs gunpowder on board exploded after about 2 hours; half an hour later the vessel was burnt to within a few feet of its waterline. Lying between the two Pope’s Eye buoys, the lighthouse bearing N by W. According to captain, fire resulted from disobeying orders and carelessness when a crew member went below with a naked light. Either the captain did not issue the appropriate orders or the men would not obey him and the fire was not extinguished. Crew of 16 on 1853 voyage Bristol-Melbourne. The Winchester was burnt to its waterline while lying at anchor off Queenscliff. The crew did not want to assist the captain in extinguishing the fire.

There is, no record of Jane Elizabeth Hutchins amongst the passengers.

SKU: O4922 Category:



Good with light surface marking.


[To be added]


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