C1842

English Corvette Fly. On the Road of Sydney.

Rare separately issued lithograph of HMS Fly an 18-gun sloop of the Royal Navy which made the first official hydrographic survey of the north-east coast of Australia. She surveyed much of Australia’s north-east coast, including Whitsunday Island, Capricorn Islands and … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

English Corvette Fly. On the Road of Sydney.

Date:

C1842

Artist:

Unknown

Condition:

Minor surface loss to sheet edges from original mount, otherwise in good condition.

Technique:

Lithograph with original hand colouring.

Image Size: 

369mm 
x 273mm

Paper Size: 

483mm 
x 342mm
AUTHENTICITY
English Corvette Fly. On the Road of Sydney. - Antique View from 1842

Genuine antique
dated:

1842

Description:

Rare separately issued lithograph of HMS Fly an 18-gun sloop of the Royal Navy which made the first official hydrographic survey of the north-east coast of Australia. She surveyed much of Australia’s north-east coast, including Whitsunday Island, Capricorn Islands and New Guinea. Shown at anchor in Sydney Harbour in October 1842. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales on Page 4 Thu 20 Oct 1842 has a column, SHIPS IN HARBOUR listing ships in Sydney with this entry recording the ship visit; Fly, H. M. S. l8 guns. Blackwood, commander, in in Farm Cove. Government, agent.

In 1841 Francis Price Blackwood had been appointed to command the HMS Fly in the first hydrographic survey commissioned by the Admiralty for exploring and charting the north-east Australian coast and New Guinea. The Fly, fitted with costly instruments, and carrying the scientists, Joseph Jukes, geologist, and John MacGillivray, zoologist, sailed from Falmouth in April 1842 with the cutter Bramble, under the charge of Lieutenant Charles Yule. After a stop in Hobart Town from August to October, the two ships called at Sydney and began the survey in December 1842.

In the next three years the Fly charted from Sandy Cape to Whitsunday Island, including Swain Reefs and Capricorn Islands and the broad passages between, and marked the outer line of the Barrier Reef from 16° 40′ S. to 9° 20′ S. Early in 1844 a beacon was successfully erected on Raine Island to mark the best passage through the reef. Meanwhile the Bramble completed a survey of Endeavour Strait. Late in 1844 the Fly visited Surabaya and returned in April 1845 to chart a track for shipping from Bramble Cay to Endeavour Strait (Great North-East Channel) through Torres Strait. The expedition then surveyed 100 miles (161 km) of the south-east coast of New Guinea, charting the dangerous off-shore shoals and the mouths of several rivers. The Blackwood discovered the Fly River in 1845 stating; that it would be possible for a small steam-powered boat to travel up the mighty river. In 1876, Italian explorer, Luigi D’Albertis, was the first person to successfully attempt this when he travelled 900 km into the interior of New Guinea, in his steamer, Neva.

On 2 September 1844, she rescued the survivors of the British merchant ship Lady Grey, which had been wrecked on Alert’s Reef the previous day while on a voyage from Sydney to Singapore.  Fly returned to the United Kingdom, arriving at Spithead on 19 June 1846. She was later commissioned on 14 October 1847 under Commander Richard Oliver for further surveys of the Pacific and New Zealand.

 

 

Collections:
National Library Australia: Bib ID 215690
State Library New South Wales: Reference code 845167
Te Papa Museum of New Zealand: Registration Number1992-0035-2025

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