John Speller's Web Pages S.S. Adelaide & S.S. Victoria

John Speller's Web Pages - Brunel's Steamships

S.S. Adelaide & S.S. Victoria
Brunel's steamships the "Great Western," the "Great Britain" and the "Great Eastern" are all well known. But what of Brunel's other two steamships, the "Victoria" and the "Adelaide" both built for the Australian Royal Mail Steamship Company? The two vessels seem to have been pretty much identical and were built to Brunel's design between 1851 and 1852 by John Scott Russell. It is especially interesting that Brunel and Russell had a track record of working together, apparently very successfully, before their collaboration on the "Great Eastern."

SS Victoria
The "Victoria" was described thus: "The steam-ship Victoria, built of iron in 1852 for the Australian Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company, gained the prize of £500 offered by the colonies for the fastest voyage to Australia. Her time from Gravesend to Adelaide was sixty days, including two days' stay at St. Vincent. She was designed by Messrs. I. K. Brunel and J. Scott Russell for a speed of ten knots under full steam, and to provide as much passenger accommodation and space for high-priced cargo as her coal requirements would permit. She was 261 feet on the water-line and registered 1350 tons. The entrance and run of the ship were of the wave-like form, while the central 45 feet were parallel ; the bilges were round, the topsides tumbled home, and there was no external keel, so that she was very heavy in a seaway. The hull was in twelve water-tight compartments, and longitudinal bulkheads were carried through from the engine and boiler rooms so as to separate the coal from the machinery. The engines were of the oscillating type. The ship had four masts and a sail area of 1540 square yards. Under steam alone the engines at full power made 59 revolutions per minute and gave a speed of 11 knots, with a coal consumption of 37 tons per 24 hours. Under sail alone, with the screw held vertically, the speed was 5½ knots, but when the screw was allowed to run freely the speed increased to 7½ knots. Her average speed was nearly ll¾ knots" [R. A. Fletcher, Steamships: The Story of their Development to the Present Day (1910), p. 263].
Model of the hull of Brunel's Steamship "Victoria" (1852) in the Victoria & Albert Museum
Brunel's Steamship "Adelaide" (1852), from Sir G. C. V. Holmes, "Modern Ships" (1906), vol. ii, p. 32
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