Star of Peru




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Ship Name:Star of Peru; Sailed: 1863-1926 but still afloat in 1948; Type: Iron 3-masted later bark; Built by: Sunderland, England by Pile & Hay for J. D. Tyser & Co.; Dimensions: 201.6' x 33' x 20.5'; Tonnage: 1027 tons.


Built as a full-rigger, Himalaya was cut down to a bark in 1880. J. D. Tyser operated Himalaya for only two years, and sold the ship to Shaw, Savill & Co., which used the ship to carry immigrants out to New Zealand and occasionally to Australia. In 1898, Shaw, Savill & Co., sold Himalaya to J. J. Moore of San Francisco who placed the ship under Hawaiian registry. Thereafter for a number of years, Himalaya engaged in the so-called triangular Pacific trade, taking lumber out to Australia, coal from Newcastle NSW to Hawaii, and sugar to the west coast. When Hawaii was annexed to the United States in 1900, many formerly British ships came under USA registry, and Himalaya was one of these. J. J. Moore sold Himalaya at auction to the Alaska Packers Association for $18,000 in 1902, and the Alaska Packers Association lengthened the poop to accommodate more hands. They also rebuilt the forward house for greater accommodation. The company built a Chinese galley under the forecastle deck and installed steam windlasses. The ship was thirty years old at the time, and the Alaska Packers Association had begun to update their fleet inventory with metal-hulled vessels in some cases replacing newer wooden vessels with older iron and later steel vessels. In 1906, the same year as the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, the Alaska Packers Association changed Himalaya’s name to Star of Peru (see photograph). At Star of Peru’s age of fifty-eight in 1921, the Alaska Packers Association performed a thorough inspection and survey of the old iron ship. Holes bored in the iron plates revealed that the venerable vessel was in such good condition that it was worth the investment to keep Star of Peru in first class condition. Thus Star of Peru continued until 1925, when the ship was laid up after sixty-two years of sailing. In 1926, the ship sold to French owners and renamed Bougainville. Before this occurred, the male figurehead was removed and became a decoration on one of the Alaska Packers Association buildings in Alameda. Bougainville sailed to the New Hebrides, became a copra hulk and rode out World War II as such—Bougainville was still afloat in 1948. I do not know the ship’s ultimate fate.


Merchant Ships, Ships