HMS Fly (1831)

For other ships with the same name, see HMS Fly.
Fly off Sydney c.1842
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Fly
Ordered: 30 January 1829
Builder: Pembroke Dockyard
Cost: £11,761 (plus £4,648 for fitting out)[lower-alpha 1][1]
Laid down: November 1829
Launched: 25 August 1831
Commissioned: 27 January 1832
Out of service: Converted to a coal hulk in 1855
Renamed: C2 and later C70 whilst a hulk
Fate: Broken up 1903
General characteristics
Class and type: Fly-class ship-sloop
Tons burthen: 485 69/94 bm
  • 114 ft 4 in (34.8 m) (gundeck)
  • 93 ft 6 18 in (28.5 m) (keel)
Beam: 31 ft 7 in (9.6 m) oa
Depth of hold: 14 ft 5 in (4.4 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 120

HMS Fly was an 18-gun sloop of the Royal Navy. She was responsible for the exploration and charting of much of Australia's north-east coast and nearby islands. She was converted to a coal hulk in 1855 and broken up in 1903.

Design and construction

Fly was a development of the Orestes-class ship-sloop designed by Professor Inman of the School of Naval Architecture. She was 114 feet 4 inches (34.8 m) long on the gundeck and 93 feet 6 18 inches (28.5 m) at the keel. She had a beam of 31 feet 7 inches (9.6 m) overall, and a hold depth of 14 feet 5 inches (4.4 m), giving her a tonnage of 485 69/94 bm. Her armament was made up of sixteen 32-pounder carronades and a pair of 9-pounder bow chasers.[1]

Fly and her three sister ships Harrier, Argus and Acorn were ordered on 30 January 1829. She was laid down in November 1829 and launched from Pembroke Dockyard on 25 August 1831. Argus and Acorn were cancelled on 27 April 1831, leaving Fly as the lead ship of a class of two.[1]


She was commissioned at Plymouth on 27 January 1832 under the command of Commander Peter M'Quhae[2] and served initially on the North America and West Indies station, returning to Portsmouth on 30 September 1833. After another two years on the same station she paid off at Portsmouth on 5 September 1835. By September 1836 she was fitting out for the South America station, including work in the Pacific Ocean. She was under the command of Commander Granville Gower Loch on that station from 1838 to 1840.[3] She arrived at Spithead on 17 July 1840 from South America with 1,700,000 dollars and sailed for Plymouth to be paid off. In December 1841 she commissioned at Plymouth under the command of Francis Price Blackwood to survey the Torres Straits in company with the cutter Bramble.[4]

During the early to mid-1840s, she charted numerous routes through and from many locations around Australia's north-east coast and nearby islands, including Whitsunday Island and the Capricorn Islands.[5]

After being discovered during the survey of the Gulf of Papua, New Guinea, the Fly River was named after the ship. Embarked during her voyages of exploration were the geologist and naturalist Joseph Jukes and the naturalist John MacGillivray.[5]

Fly returned to the United Kingdom, arriving at Spithead on 19 June 1846 and proceeded to Plymouth to pay off. She was commissioned again on 14 October 1847 under Commander Richard Oliver,[2] and was employed in surveying in the Pacific and New Zealand. After 4 years of work in the area she returned to the United Kingdom, arriving at Plymouth Sound on the evening of 4 December 1851 and paying off on 13 December.[4]


During the 1840s, Fly surveyed Whitsunday Island, pictured here

She was laid up as a coal hulk at Devonport in 1855. During this part of her career, she was renamed C2, and then C70. She was finally broken up in 1903.[1]

See also


  1. A total cost accounting for inflation of approximately £1,343,700 in today's money.
  1. 1 2 3 4 Winfield (2004), p. 120
  2. 1 2 "HMS Fly at the William Loney website". Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  3. Laughton 1893, p. 25.
  4. 1 2 "HMS Fly at the Naval Database". Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  5. 1 2 Mozley, Ann. "Blackwood, Francis Price (1809 - 1854)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 2011-09-10.


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 4/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.