HMS Arachne (1809)

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Class and type: Arachne
Name: HMS Arachne
Owner: Captain Pearce
In service: 1824
Out of service: January 1837
Status: Yanerby
General characteristics
Class and type: Arachne
Tons burthen: 387[1]
Length: 102.99 ft 31.39m
Depth of hold: 16.4ft 5.0m
Armament: two x 6 pwd long guns [2]

HMS Arachne was an 18 gun brig sloop that served in the Burmese War and later as a fishing boat in Australia. She fought under the British Empire flag and under Captain Alexander Dawson, and Lieutenant Andrew Baird. The name Arachne originated from Greek mythology about a Lydian maiden who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest and was punished for her presumption by being turned into a spider.


HMS Arachne was built in Hills Yard at Sandwich on 18 February 1809 but was ordered in 1806. Based on a 1796 design, the Cruiser Class was identical to the Snake and Favourite Class of sloops, apart from the masts and an extra section inserted amidships to give extra length. These types of ships were by far the most mass-produced ships in the age of sail. From 16 January 1813 to 15 January 1814 she was employed in the West Indies.[3] In 1824 HMS Arachne was converted to a ship sloop. HMS Arachne in the same year saw extensive action in the 1824–26 Burmese War. The Arachne's arrival on 11 September 1824 Commander Chad immediately took naval command in the Rangoon River in present-day Myanmar.[4] She saw action in the defence of Kemmendine in 1824, operations in the Irrawaddy in 1824–25, and major action at Nepadee Ridge in 1825–26. Commander Chad transferred to HMS Alligator on 7 November 1825, replacing Captain Alexander who had died, and the command of the Arachne was taken by Commander John Francis Dawson. Commander John Francis Dawson died in the fighting at Nepadee Ridge on 2 December 1825. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Andrew Baird of HMS Boadicea. After Nepadee Ridge, a treaty was signed on 3 January 1826.[5] The conflict resumed on 19 January only 16 days after the treaty. The force that fought at Nepadee ridge (of which HMS Arachne was a part) returned to Rangoon on 6 May 1826. After the war, HMS Arachne was sold outside of the naval service to a number of private owners. First, there was Bidwell in the port belonging to Exeter under a Captain Thurtell. Then there was a Captain Pearce in 1841–1842. 1845–1846 the ship must have changed owners as the records showed a S.Souter as the owner. In 1848 the records showed a company called Burns & Company as the owner with its captain being Captain Harris. The Arachne was finally placed under the command of Captain William Young of Hobart after a long time being under command of Captain H.Pearce. Captain Young was part owner of HMS Arachne, master of the whaling vessel Camilla, and part-owner of the Elizabeth Rebecca. The Elizabeth Rebecca and Camilla were lost in the shores of South Australia. The brig-sloop Arachne, under Captain William Young, left Hobart for the South Seas with cargo in its stores on 13 January 1848.


In late May or early June 1848 the Arachne was anchored in Trial Bay, having on board 80 barrels of sperm oil. She sank in Yanerby and called for Trial Bay however it was too late for the ship was already under. The ship had a crew of 23 and it is known no people died with the ship sinking.[6]

The whaling barque Arachne, of Hobart Town, Young, master, was driven ashore in Trial Bay a short time since, in a gale of wind from the south-west. She had two anchors out; but it appears, besides being little better than an open bay, there is very bad holding ground there. 'She is, we understand, a totalwreck. The crew were all saved, and part of them came up yesterday in the schooner Captain Cook. The cutter Albatross is engaged to bring up the remainder, and the few stores that have been collected. ( Adelaide Observer sam. 17 June 1848)[1]

The ship is located at coordinates 135°38'.083 E, 32°22'.950 S[7]


  1. ^ a b "SV Arachne (+1848)". The Wrecksite. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  2. ^ "H.M.S. 'ARACHNE'". Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  3. ^ W. A Daziel. "Medical and surgical journal of HMS Arachne , for 16 January 1813 to 15 January 1814 by..." Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  4. ^ Charles Rathbone Low (1877). &pg=PA423 "History of the Indian Navy: (1613-1863)" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  5. ^ Various Captains of the ship. "HMS Arachne, brig-sloop (1809-1837)". Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database". Department of the Environment and Energy. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Streaky Bay to Whidbey Isles". The Wrecksite. Retrieved 10 November 2019.