Part One: A Grecian Beauty

GF Gregory, The Star of Greece, 1888. Watercolour. Reproduced in monochrome, courtesy State Library of South Australia


The Star of Greece was a three-masted ship of 1227 tons built in 1868 by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Ireland. The full-rigged iron ship was a sleek, elegant vessel that spent 20 years sailing to ports of the world delivering various loads of cargo. The most iconic and well known part of the ship was its Grecian figurehead. The noblewoman was painted white with gold accents on the neckline of her tunic, a bracelet on her wrist and a gold leaf coronet in her hair. Beautifully carved, it reflected the elegance of the Irish Star vessel which it adorned.

She Was Torn Asunder From Her Ship (Christobel Kelly)

The Star of Greece sailed to South Australia from Great Britain on 17 March 1888 loaded with a 22-ton gun for a proposed fort at Glenelg. The ship arrived in Port Adelaide on 11 June and reloaded with 16,000 bags of wheat bound for the UK. The vessel then set sail at 6pm on Friday 12 July for the four-month journey back to Europe.

Little did the 28 members of the crew know that this would be the ship’s last journey.

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