Ketches were river & coastal traders brought to the colonies of Australia by Europeans in the early nineteenth century that evolved into designs that suited Australian coastal & river waters. The vessels had two masts and a simple sets of sails so they could be managed by crews of three seafarers.
Ketches were integral to Australia’s maritime history. They connected the city and country before the advent of road and rail. The ketch is quite manoeuvrable in light winds and with a shallow draught they were well suited to negotiate the coastal rivers to transport farm products, grain and minerals to the city and shipping goods and supplies to isolated river and coastal communities along the extended coast of east and south eastern Australia.
The ketch Mary Byrne is named after a young Irish girl. In 1826 Mary Byrne was sentenced in Dublin to seven years and transported to the colony of New South Wales from Dublin. Her crime was stealing a lace handkerchief. Mary’s mother Jane appealed in writing to the local authorities to save her daughter on the grounds that she was an only child and her father was dead. This was all to no avail. Mary was transported on the Lady Rowena, which left Dublin in January 1826 and arrived in Sydney in May. The ship carried 102 females from Ireland, most transported for 7 years for minor crimes.
Upon arrival in Sydney Mary was assigned to Mr Still, at Bunkers Hill as a servant. The Sydney Gazette reported that Mary had an argument with a fellow worker in the kitchen which resulted in the police being summoned. Her employer Mrs Still came to her defence saying she was a church going lass and engaged to a policeman. Mary, again, found herself in trouble when another employer refused to pay her and Mary confronted the woman demanding her wages. This time, Mary received 3 months in the Female Factory at Parramatta. There is no doubt Mary was a feisty lass, for upon sentencing Mary was heard to state that she didn’t care as she’d just have to sweep a few floors.
Mary eventually set-up house in the Rocks area of Sydney with John Burke, himself a convict who was issued with a ticket of leave. John Burke was a blacksmith, by trade but did serve some time as a police officer. The 1828 census shows that Mary and John had a daughter called Margaret, but sadly there is no further evidence of her existence. In about 1832 they had a son called John, who went on to marry Mary Coe at St Mary’s church in 1856. Mary Coe too, was descended from convicts.
We next hear of Mary Byrne, when she was admitted to the Sydney General Hospital in May 1842. She died soon after of Erysipelas, which was also written up in the Sydney Gazette. The government records of Mary’s autopsy state that she had a ‘visitation from God’. Mary died, a convict, when she was just 36 years of age. Mary Byrnes descendants lived in The Rocks for well over 100 years and continue to live in Australia today.
A double plank on bulkhead construction with laser cut plywood. The kit comes complete with all timber, rigging cord, and wooden and metal fittings. All parts and fittings are of the highest quality. It Includes 46 A3 pages of full colour photos and detailed drawings.
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The four hour 2 DVD set on ‘The Complete Guide on: How to Build the Colonial Ketch Mary Byrne’. This DVD set takes the modeller through planking the hull and deck, building the deck furniture and completing the rigging. Many tips and techniques of building a period wooden model ships are presented.
Modellers Shipyard offer historically accurate Wooden Model Ship Kits and Wooden Model Boat kits which are faithful interpretations of the original vessels. The comprehensive instructional DVDs, plans and highly detailed English instructions will assist you throughout the whole construction process. All ship model kits are double plank on bulkhead construction and only use the highest quality parts.