Summary

Schooner model with topsail rig. Made by Wemyss Thomson of Williamstown. Scale unknown. Probably represents the general type of vessel rather than a particular vessel. This is an example of a square-rigged schooner, or top-sail schooner, or coasting schooner. This model was built about 1864. This type of schooner were known as 'Fruiters' and were engaged in the fruit trade from the Azores, Italy, Malta and other orange-growing countries to London before steam ships. In the 1850s as many as 300 were employed in this trade and were very fast under canvas. This model is typical of this class of schooner, probably represents a vessel of between 89.5 and 101 tonnes register with a length of 24 to 27 metres, width of about 6 metres and a depth of about 3 metres. A top sail schooner differs from a fore-and-aft schooner in carrying square sails at the foremast.

The model is believed to have been exhibited by the builder at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition where it won second prize according to the donor's nephew. The Museum also holds the certificate awarded to Wemyss Thomson by the Exhibition. It was donated to the Museum in 1924.

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