Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust
The historic heart of Stanley
Wooden barque built in Liverpool by Joseph Steel & Son – Launched 24th May 1849 -
123ft long, 27ft beam - 466 tons
The Jhelum - the last wooden hulk to grace Stanley Harbour - finally lost her fight with the elements in October 2008.
Her final voyage began in June 1869 from Cardiff, Wales. The ship was carrying a cargo of coal, bound for Rosario. She had a smaller crew than usual (only 12 including the ship’s boy) the logbooks show that they gave trouble on the outward voyage and while in South American ports a number of them deserted.
While in Montevideo in March 1870 the crew petitioned the Consul to have the ship surveyed because they thought it was unseaworthy. The captain was forced to comply and when the ship was found to be seaworthy he had the cost of the survey ($48) deducted from the wages of the crew who had made the complaint.
After more short trips, the Jhelum sailed from Callao for Dunkirk in July 1870. She arrived at Stanley on 18th August, distressed and leaking, with a badly stored cargo of guano. Her crew were exhausted and refused to continue. The ship was surveyed and declared unseaworthy. The captain wrote repeatedly to the ship’s owners but was unable to get a response.
In May Captain Beaglehole signed the ship over to Dean & Co. in Stanley. His last entry in the log book was on 27th May, explaining that he was taking passage to England on HMS Charybdis. The Jhelum was scuttled to serve as a jetty head and workshop.
The Jhelum was not built to be particularly fast or glamorous, she was a workhorse and this is perhaps what made her so fascinating, as a very real and evocative link to our past… “a ship that deserves to be famous for being ordinary.” (Mike Stammers, John Kearon “The Jhelum”).
The bow of the hulk collapsed during a winter storm in October 2008 and in August 2013 the stern followed suit. Her loss was inevitable, but keenly felt by the community who had grown up with the beautiful old hulk, sitting largely unappreciated, on the shoreline.