The Hulk of the Riversdale in the Royston Breakwater.

by John MacFarlane 2017


The Riversdale under full sail 1907 (Photo courtesy of MMBC. )

She was built in 1894 at Port Glasgow, Scotland UK by Wm. Hamilton & Co. Ltd. rigged as a Ship (three–masted, square-rigged). 83.9m x 12.75m x 7.3m (275.8’ x 41.9’ x 24.0’) Steel hulled displacing 2,206 tons.

In 1896 she was sold to R. W. Leyland & Co. She was sold In 1909 she was sold to Schluyter & Mack of Hamburg, renamed as the Harvestehude. She was first operated from the Pacific Coast operating under the management of Eschen & Minor, San Francisco CA but registered in Victoria BC. In 1920 she was sold to to Robert Dollar Co. She was towed to San Francisco in 1922 and was laid up. In 1924 she was sold to Coastwise Steamship & Barge Co. (Captain Griffiths) and towed to Puget Sound. In 1929 she was converted to a barge, renamed as the Riversdale, registered in Vancouver, BC as a bulk carrier on BC coast, coal and copper concentrates. In 1935 she was owned by Island Tug and Barge Co., Victoria BC and placed in operation between Vancouver Island and the pulp mill at Port Angeles WA USA. In 1958–1961 she was owned by Canadian Tugboat Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC.

Hulk of the  Riversdale

The Hulk of the Riversdale in the Royston Breakwater. (Photo from the collection. )

In 1896–1909 she carried bulk cargo trade (coal, coke, wheat, lumber, nitrates, and other cargoes to ports around the world. In 1910–1914 she was in the bulk freight trade between Europe and the Pacific coasts of North and South America carrying coal, coke and fuels outbound, nitrates, copper, grain home bound. In 1914–1920 interned in Santa Rosalia, Mexico as she was owned by a belligerent nation in the First World War. In November 1961 she ended her life in the breakwater at Royston BC.

Hulk of the  Riversdale

The Hulk of the Riversdale in the Royston Breakwater. (Photo from the collection. )

Wikipedia reports that: "On 10 September 1883 the future writer Joseph Conrad signed on as Second Mate on the mainly Scandinavian–crewed British sailing ship Riversdale. The ship sailed from London on 13 September 1883, arriving on 6 April 1884 at Madras, India. There Captain McDonald, a Scot who kept the ship’s officers at a distance and treated them "as machines, to be worked by himself when and as he pleased," suffered some kind of "attack" which Conrad described to the physician whom he fetched, as alcoholic inebriation. After Captain McDonald learned from a friend, a steamer captain, how Conrad had represented his condition, on 15 April 1884 McDonald dismissed Conrad, with a less than satisfactory certificate, issued on April 17th, 1884. The episode seems to have subsequently inspired some of Conrad’s scathing literary depictions of sea captains. A court of inquiry later judged McDonald responsible for the subsequent stranding of the Riversdale, which would eventually enable Conrad to take his examination for First Mate (the Marine Board having initially delayed accepting his application, put off by McDonald’s certificate).(Pages 97–98 (Najder, Z. (2007) in Joseph Conrad: A Life. Camden House. (ISBN 978-1-57113-347-2)."

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Hulk of the Riversdale in the Royston Breakwater. 2017.

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