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Anyway, in 1826 he changed occupations & started a ship repair facility on North Sands 'with a repair slipway up which the ships were hauled by capstans worked by horses'. The word 'graving' was used, but perhaps is no longer used, to refer to the cleaning of a ship's bottom, the term being derived, perhaps from a French word which meant 'beach'.) I am advised that that graving dock is still there today - in Jun. Re-registered in 1919 as a lighter by 'Victorian Lighterage Pty.

These two pages summarise what Corder wrote about the history of the many 'Austin' businesses & companies over the years, as you can see here. It would seem that the shipyard came into existence way back in 1826! Founded by Peter Austin, born in 1770, whose name this site knows because he was in 1805, I understand, a partner with Samuel Moore in the Wear Pottery & had earlier than 1805 been trained in the pottery business by Robert Fairbairns at High Pottery in Newbottle, located just a few miles away from Sunderland. Austin and Son' does not seem to make sense - where perhaps 'S. (A graving dock is, for those like me who do not know these things, is a multi-purpose dry-dock, which can be used for a variety of purposes - for new ship building, for ship repair, & for ship maintenance. In 1888, the vessel was hulked (which is this case means converted to a lighter), at Melbourne, & became 243 tons only. Name changed to Birchgrove - earlier than 1910, but was it truly so? Nicholas, of Ballarat (near Melbourne), as the then owner of the 219 ton Birch Grove.

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Visible to all who crossed that bridge, since they just had to look down to see the pontoon & its activity laid out before them. There must be hundreds if not thousands of photos of the pontoon, 'out there' somewhere, taken by passers-by over 60 or more years. In a snippet of data, I read that the yard made a net profit of 51,900 in the year to Apl. And on this site, at page 140 is a list of 'Austin' built vessels, starting in 1831 & ending in 1959. A 2 masted sailing ship carrying square sails & a trysail on a small jackmast.

It would be good to have one or two of those images on site, wouldn't it! Which list includes unnumbered vessels built as much as 43 years prior to the very first Miramar listing.

The boats were ordered out & a gig with all the ship's papers was swamped & lost.

22, 1875, the vessel struck three times on a reef to the westward of Dog Island, maybe at West Cay. The pumps were manned but the vessel had 2 feet of water 'in the well' which rapidly became 6 feet.

The main Austin yard would however seem to have been just a short distance away, on the same bank & a little closer to the sea. Names of just a few of the vessels constructed by 'Austin' of Sunderland - added as I happen to spot references to them.

A sign at the site today, shown here (& in the image strip above), in an Alan Collie image, advises us that the pontoon was towed half way around the world to a shipyard in Hong Kong a year or so after the 'Austin' ship building yard was closed. Now it is really not for the webmaster to criticise from afar re such matters, but the sign looks to my eye to be have been 'low budget' - a more distinguished sign, perhaps illustrating the pontoon, might better have been commissioned in the first place to commemorate such a significant part of the city's history.

Not sure why Internet Explorer cannot identify the applet as being harmless) Corrections in any of the material which follows, however tiny, would be most welcome. PETER AUSTIN (1) (1826-1846)PETER AUSTIN (2) (1846-1860? For simplicity, I will call them Peter Austin (1) & Peter Austin (2). In 1846 Peter Austin (1) retired and his son, Peter Austin (2) 'crossed to the site now occupied by the Company, where he conducted the business on his own account'. Which site was previously occupied by a bottle works which had gone bankrupt. I am most sympathetic with the difficult of assembling accurate data so far into the past. And 'Samuel Peter Austin' of the third generation & his father entered into a partnership in 1860 entitled S. The yard expanded eastwards into premises previously occupied by John Denniston (& William Pearson before him). So we know roughly the dating of the image that follows. Grice of Sunderland as the owner of the 543 ton vessel. I previously noted one voyage reference to Australia but there probably are many.

Austin, page bottom (have had to disable it, a beautiful Lake Applet featuring a frog, since it makes access to the whole page impossible. To search for specific text on this page, just press 'CTRL F' & then enter your search term. At a date after 1826, but at a date unstated, Peter Austin was joined in the business by his son, also named Peter Austin. It is interesting to read there that Robert Thompson, (1797-1860), also served his apprenticeship at the Allison yard. I presume, however, that they mean a site on the south bank of the River Wear, east of but close to the road bridge. I am advised, however, that 'The Standard' of London, referred on Nov. I think that the vessel was 'Choice' rather than 'The Choice' however. And that the company published a large series of stereo images of WW1, 'The Great War'. A Melbourne, Australia, ship from 1871 it would seem but LR of 1876/77 first mentions the registry at Melbourne of the vessel now (LR') of 543 tons. Grice of Melbourne as her then owner - thru, per LR, 1883/84.

AUSTIN LTD.(1826/1954 - originally founded in 1826, in 1954 became a part of 'Austin & Pickersgill Limited.')Can you help with the history of this company? A part at least of that history would surely be contained in a small 1954 volume of oblong format, published by 'S. Austin & Son, Ltd.' (as per the cover of the volume) or maybe by 'S. A copy of the volume was sold via e Bay for GBP 40.00, in early Sep. The paragraphs that follow have been revised & re-revised over the years as new data has been located. It would seem that there were major changes in 1869 & in the following years as the yard was extended again & again as wooden shipbuilding came to an end & iron shipbuilding became the norm. Now the webmaster has a number of 'Lloyd's Registers' ex 'Google' books available to him (image at left) for what would appear to be most of Thomas Wood's life. But we can tell you that the ship's bell has survived, & a composite image of it is at left, thanks to a kindly site visitor.

Entitled 'Shipbuilding & Repairing' & covering the history of the shipyard from 1826 to 1954. 'Ritson & Co.' presumably later changed their name & by the 1876/77 register, 'F. At this point, I am unable to tell you what finally happened to her.

Which postcard would seem to have been made available in colour also. I have placed all material where your help would be welcomed, together, on page 105.