Blast from the Past: The Shannon

The schooner “Shannon” was very well known in our port. She made up to 25 visits per year from when she was launched in 1880 until her final year in the port in 1925.  The Shannon was built by William Brisbane Piper at Brisbane Waters, who also built ships at Pipers Bay, Forster.

She was owned by Goodlet & Smith who had a mill at Coolongolook and yards at Tuncurry, as well as mills on the south coast and a brickworks and glassworks in Sydney.

The Shannon would come up the coast laden with bricks and other goods and return with timber from the local area.

Goodlet & Smith’s agent was Mr. Walton, who had a cottage in Tuncurry where the fisherman’s co-op is today.

The Shannon was 65 tons gross and 79 ft in length. She carried a crew of five. Her permanent captain was Alex Craighead. She was the longest lived and possibly best known ship along our coast. She was finally removed from the register in 1938, a life of 58 years on the coast.

“The Shannon” entering Cape Hawke Harbour, Pilot Hill in background, Sid and Glen McLaren in foreground, c1898.

Copies of this image are available at the museum.


  1. Interesting about the ships being built in pipers bay as one day several years ago I came accross a few acres in the bush a few hundred metres from the lake where I found heaps of trees that had been felled and left there and I couldn’t work out why anyone would have felled these trees in such a remote place. These trees would be 3′ round some of them others 2′ round.

  2. My great grandfather was Alex Craighead, the Captain of the Shannon. If you would like picture of him, let me know.

  3. Goodlet and Smith sold glass but it was all imported as they did not have a glass works that produced glass. Otherwise your summary of Goodlet and Smith is correct.

  4. Apologies Ron, we have had some teething issues with Blog and email security, all sorted now, but it led to accidental deletion of your Blog comment by the look of it. Your input is valued and appreciated and we will certainly check this out, after all if it helps us get our facts straight then we are all winners in the end. Will get back to you on this and other feedback shortly. Cheers, GLM

  5. Why was my comment deleted but my name and email address still shown? Please note that the photo is not circa 1898. Work on the breakwater did not commence until 1899. Circa 1900 would be a far more accurate indication.

    Ron Madden

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