The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah’s visit to Port Phillip in January, 1865, is one of the greatest stories of early colonial Melbourne and Australia’s only significant link to the American Civil War. The ship arrived unannounced in Hobsons Bay on its way to the north Pacific Ocean to destroy the Union whaling fleet. While docked in Melbourne, it illegally recruited 42 British subjects. It went on to capture or sink 39 commercial Yankee ships by June 1865. But as the civil war had ended in April that year, the Shenandoah’s crew risked being captured by the Yankees and hung as pirates. The Shenandoah fled to England and surrendered in November 1865. Them recruitment of the Melbourne crew later contributed to a court ruling against England in 1871 and it was forced to compensate the United States with $US15.5 million in gold.
January 25, 2015, marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the ship into Melbourne. Seaworks in Williamstown will commemorate the events over the Australia Day long weekend as part of the Seaworks Maritime Festival. It will include the largest collection of American Civil War memorabilia ever shown in Melbourne and even an original civil war canon which will be fired over the weekend.
But the Seaworks Maritime Festival is not just about the American Civil War. It will include a variety of exhibits and special displays.
- Canon and musket firing
- Wooden boats
- Ship models
- Deep sea diver show
- Maritime exhibits
- Roving performers
- Music everyday
- Amusements for kids
- Cruises from Workshop Pier
- Sea Shepherd ship tours
- Opportunity to sail on Melbourne’s tall ship, the Enterprize
Shenandoah commemoration: Sunday, January 25, at 11.30am. Come see a spectacular show of canon firing.
Dates: Saturday, January 24, Sunday, January 25 and Monday, January 26, 10am to 6pm
Entry fee: $15 adults, $2 children, $25 a family, concession $5
Click here for tickets for the Seaworks Maritime Festival.
Special Event: An Evening with Sam Craghead and Dr Angus Curry
Special talk on the Shenandoah by American Civil War Museum public relations specialist Sam Craghead and author of the Officers of the CSS Shenandoah Dr Angus Curry. Sunday, January 25, at 7.30pm in the Pirates Tavern. Click here for tickets to the Special Evening with Sam Craghead and Dr Angus Curry.
Entry fee: $5 adults
We acknowledge he generous support of our corporate sponsors: