Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust
The historic heart of Stanley
The imposing hulk of the Lady Elizabeth lies in Whalebone Cove at the bottom of Stanley Harbour and is the only semi-intact hulk left in the once-busy harbour. The ship was built for John Wilson as a replacement for another ship of the same name which sank off Australia in 1878. In 1885 she was bought by George Karran of Castletown, Isle of Man. Karran captained his acquisition for the next seven years.
The Lady Elizabeth was engaged mainly in the liner trade and tramping, carrying general cargo from Britain all over the world – to North and South America, Australia and the Far East, and then a variety of tramp voyages back to Europe. She visited the Falkland Islands a number of times, including in 1889, when she delivered bricks and cement for the construction of the new Cathedral and wood for the Tabernacle church.
In 1906 the ship was sold for about £3,250 to Norwegian owners and was registered at Tvedestrand, near Oslo.
The Lady Elizabeth’s final voyage began at Vancouver on 4th December 1912, with a cargo of lumber for southern Mozambique. On 14th March 1913 she arrived in Stanley in distress, having lost four men and some of her deck cargo in severe weather. The extensive damage was made worse when, less than 20 miles out of Stanley, the Lady Elizabeth hit Uranie Rock, adding a six foot break in her keel and a foot-long hole in her bottom to the list of woes. The ship was towed into Stanley by the steam tug Samson.
Due to the high cost of repairs the Lady Elizabeth was condemned and sold to the Falkland Islands Company, along with her valuable cargo of timber, for a mere £3,350. For three years she served as a timber warehouse alongside the East Jetty. The hulk was then moored in the harbour, staying there until 17th February 1936 when she broke her moorings in a storm and drifted to her present location.
The Lady Elizabeth was reunited with the Samson when the aging tug followed suit, breaking her moorings in the great gale of 1945, and running aground on a beach near the Lady Elizabeth, where she remains today.
Three-masted, iron-hulled barque
– Built by R. Thompson in Sunderland, England – Launched 4th June 1879 - 223ft x 35ft – 1,208 tons
The Lady Elizabeth