Three masted barque ALTCAR at anchor, Sydney Harbour

The image captures a three masted barque at anchor, possibly a port of registry at Sydney. The image captures four long-boats approaching the ship’s stern. This is a stern portside view.


This photo is part of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s William J Hall collection. The Hall collection provides an important pictorial record of recreational boating in Sydney Harbour, from the 1890s to the 1930s – from large racing and cruising yachts, to the many and varied skiffs jostling on the harbour, to the new phenomenon of motor boating in the early twentieth century. The collection also includes images of the many spectators and crowds who followed the sailing races.


The ANMM undertakes research and accepts public comments that enhance the information we hold about images in our collection. This record has been updated accordingly.


Object no. ANMS1092[186]

  • Andy Brill PRO 3y

    Steel three-masted barque built 1864 by Jones, Quiggin & Co. Liverpool . Length 210', 1283 gross tons. The Altcar was one of the first ships constructed with Bessemer steel plates, which were lighter and more durable than the conventional and fracture-prone iron plates.
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Saturday 20 December 1890 - Thanks Mr Hall - She had just had a refit in Mort's Dock, new sternports and poopdeck etc - interesting article -

    Owned by Alexander Burns of Baltic Wharf, timber merchant importer.

    Looks like some sort of a race going on ... ?
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Here we are - I think this is the "Service Regatta" of the NSW Naval Brigade Aquatic and Athletic Club, held at Farm Cove on Saturday afternoon 20/12/1890. The ferry BUNYA BUNYA was the flagship - the ALTCAR is not mentioned in this article, but it looks like she was one of the markers around which the "whalers" of "5 oars" raced. Boats are from HMS ROYALIST, WOLVERINE, NAVAL BRIGADE, DART, CORDELIA and ORLANDO. - SMH 22/12/1890 p.6 -
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Oops! I got the oars wrong! They are "cutters" of 10 or 12 oars, handicapped 5 seconds per oars, see article.
  • slaverobertslut12 3y

    beautiful photo friend
  • mambo1935 3y

  • jm ecléctico 3y

    Precioso, very much, have a nice end of the year,,,saludos!
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Andy Brill The last direct information I can find for the ALTCAR is this article about a message in a bottle from November 1893 -
  • Andy Brill PRO 3y

    beachcomberaustralia Interesting snippet.
    I suppose sailors have been putting messages in bottles ever since they started drinking, but this one could be ominous.
    I looked at the name change sites and nothing of note is there.
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Andy Brill A closer look at the message in the bottle shows that it was written on 26/12/1892, a Boxing Day prank?! The ALTCAR arrived in Sydney on 2/1/1893 (with baltic pine from Gothenburg, Sweden and after repairs in Belfast Lough) - . And left Sydney for Liverpool 31/3/1893 - .

    Strange that there are no reports of a missing or sold ship.
  • Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons PRO 3y

    Andy Brill beachcomberaustralia Thanks guys. Our database is updated and looking full of info!
  • Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons PRO 3y

    beachcomberaustralia Andy Brill An article from the British Colonist, 18 July 1897 page 3, mentions that ALTCAR was just about to transfer to Chilean owners: "The ALTCAR will sail from here (Port Townsend) under the Chilean flag, the change being made by the British and Chilean Vice consuls of this port".
  • Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons PRO 3y

    beachcomberaustralia Andy Brill Hmm perhaps this article records the vessel's fate. British Colonist, 21 June 1903, page 8 has a headline reading 'The overdue ALTCAR: Fears Held for the Well Known Chilean Vessel". The article goes confirms the vessel is the same (built by Jones Quiggin, Liverpool 1864) and reports a 'terrific southerly gale' that occured off Cape Flattery at the end of March. Captain Bolderstone of the INVERMARK reported seeing a quantity of large timers the day after, which was the ALTCAR's cargo at the time.
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    It makes me think that there is no end for a ship that is not sad - blown up, wrecked on a rock, sunk, converted, or possibly worst - restored and preserved in a dry dock overrun by tourists! Call me cynical. If I was a ship I think I would like to become an (artificial) reef ...
  • Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons PRO 3y

    beachcomberaustralia Yes I agree, although I always feel saddest reading about those trusty vessels who end their run being dragged to a scrapyard! I think a (non-violent) end being a new home to sealife might just be the way to go for an old vessel!
  • Vinko Sunde PRO 1y

    Awesome capture, splendid colours and work !
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Taken on December 20, 1890
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