From shipyard to seabed: a multiphasic vessel biography of “Leven Lass” [1839–1854]

23rd December 2015

Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University Masters of Maritime Archaeology November 2014

On 12 December 1854, the Clyde-built brig “Leven Lass” was intentionally run aground off the northern shore of Phillip Island, Victoria, due to a substantial leak in the hull, ending its working life as a merchant sailor. The majority of the cargo and all the crew were saved, but “Leven Lass” was a total loss and eventually foundered. Many factors contributed to the life and death of “Leven Lass”, including the trade and exchange of Scottish maritime technology, the activities of everyday seafaring in mid-nineteenth century colonial Australia, tramping based globalisation, and Australia’s reliance on old wooden, rigged vessels to build a nation economically and outrun the Age of Steam. Through the production of a multiphasic vessel biography, using a Build, Use, Loss, Survival, Investigation (BULSI) system methodology, unique inferences of these wider maritime themes and a more holistic historic shipwreck study was achieved. The vessel biography, when compared and contrasted against a contextual chronology, expands beyond the history and archaeology of a single ship. The interrogation and synthesis of these two independent datasets, archaeology and archival/historical documents, effectively demonstrate how one particular ship can provide a broad insight into the sociocultural issues of the midnineteenth century maritime world.

Colwell-Pasch, C.
From shipyard to seabed: a multiphasic vessel biography of “Leven Lass” [1839–1854]
December 2015
Thesis Abstracts
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