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Hell Ship : The true story of the plague ship Ticonderoga, one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history - Michael Veitch

Hell Ship

The true story of the plague ship Ticonderoga, one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history

Paperback Published: 25th July 2018
ISBN: 9781760630843
Number Of Pages: 272

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The riveting story of one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian history, the plague-stricken sailing ship Ticonderoga that left England for Victoria with 800 doomed emigrants on board.

For more than a century and a half, a grim tale has passed down through Michael Veitch's family: the story of the Ticonderoga, a clipper ship that sailed from Liverpool in August 1852, crammed with poor but hopeful emigrants- mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and the potato famine. A better life, they believed, awaited them in Australia.

Three months later, a ghost ship crept into Port Phillip Bay flying the dreaded yellow flag of contagion. On her horrific three-month voyage, deadly typhus had erupted, killing a quarter of Ticonderoga's passengers and leaving many more desperately ill. Sharks, it was said, had followed her passage as the victims were buried at sea.

Panic struck Melbourne. Forbidden to dock at the gold-boom town, the ship was directed to a lonely beach on the far tip of the Mornington Peninsula, a place now called Ticonderoga Bay.

James William Henry Veitch was the ship's assistant surgeon, on his first appointment at sea. Among the volunteers who helped him tend to the sick and dying was a young woman from the island of Mull, Annie Morrison. What happened between them on that terrible voyage is a testament to human resilience, and to love.

Michael Veitch is their great-great-grandson, and Hell Ship is his brilliantly researched narrative of one of the biggest stories of its day, now all but forgotten. Broader than his own family's story, it brings to life the hardships and horrors endured by those who came by sea to seek a new life in Australia.

About the Author

Michael Veitch is an Australian comedian, broadcaster and author. His books include Flak (Pan Macmillan 2006), Fly (Penguin 2009), The Forgotten Islands (Penguin 2011), 44 Days (Hachette 2016).


Written from the heart


A great story told in a very engaging manner because of authors personal attachment. Excellent historical research puts the the story into context and would benefit any family historian to read. Very say to read.



Great read


I found this to be a really good read - had heard about the ship/ trip previously but didn't know anything about it really. This was a good description of the trip and was written in a way that I found engaging and worthwhile.



I would recommend this book for an excellant read.


This is a good insight into the conditions that our Ancestors had to endure to come to Australia to start a new life in the 1800's.



Fantastic Book expertly researched and written by Michael.


Due to my own personal family members on board, will review often. Will encourage my family to read and enjoy.

Blackburn South, Victoria, Australia


Missus enjoys


Missus seen author on tele & so i searched it on here & purchased it for her




4.8 5


ISBN: 9781760630843
ISBN-10: 1760630845
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 25th July 2018
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3