Ship model, lifeboat, Port Jackson Lifeboat Service, "Lady Carrington", made [in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia] c.1900
This large model represents the Port Jackson Lifeboat Service lifeboat "Lady Carrington" which was used as the Port lifeboat from 1880 to 1905. An official lifeboat service began in Sydney in 1858 in response to public pressure after the tragic sinking the previous year of the ship "Dunbar", wrecked off the Sydney Heads with the loss of all but one of the 122 on board, and the "Catherine Adamson" with 21 lives lost. The lifeboat service was based at South Head along the British tradition of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwrecks, now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution or RNLI. The lifeboat crew of oarsmen was sourced from volunteers from the local population, who had "nautical skills" in heavy conditions, with a coxswain in charge of the boat.
In 1879 a new British-built lifeboat, designed by the RNLI and built by Forrest & Co. Ltd in London, arrived in Sydney and was displayed at the Sydney International Exhibition, a showcase of the latest technology from around the world. Following the exhibition the lifeboat was put into service at Watsons Bay and launched as the Port lifeboat in 1880. Probably after 1885 it was named the "Lady Carrington" after Cecilia Margaret, wife of the NSW Governor from 1885 until 1890, Charles Robert Carrington, Marquess of Lincolnshire (1843-1928).
The "Lady Carrington" lifeboat was called out a number of times but actually undertook few rescues. One of them was the rescue of the entire crew of the Scottish barque "Centurion" which broke up off North Head while under tow in January 1887. By 1901 the "Lady Carrington" was showing signs of deterioration and was replaced in 1905 with a locally-built lifeboat, the "Alice Rawson", constructed at the government dockyards at Cockatoo Island.
The lifeboat model provides an insight into the commercial importance of Sydney Harbour in the nineteenth century when the port was busy with shipping and the inherently perilous nature of sea transport which saw the need for local rescue craft.
PDF file, "The 'Alice Rawson' and the Port Jackson lifeboat service", Woollahra Municipal Council Library, NSW, web site page, 1880-1889: Timeline of significant events.
Curator, Science & Industry
Nothing is known of the building of this lifeboat model.
The "Lady Carrington" lifeboat model was originally loaned to the Museum in 1907 by the Shipwrights Provident Union of Port Jackson, Trades and Industrial Hall, Goulburn & Dixon Streets, Sydney. It was later formally acquired into the collection in 1977.