The HMS Buffalo was built as the Hindostan in Calcutta in 1813. She was subsequently purchased by the Royal Navy as a storeship and renamed HMS Buffalo. Prior to the event for which she is remembered in Glenelg, the Buffalo, after service in the Napoleonic Wars had made a number of trips to Australia and New Zealand as a freighter, quarantine ship and perhaps most notably as a convict ship (to Australia) in the early 1830s.

The trip for which she is remembered here in Glenelg is the one on which she (though described as “an old tub” totally unfit for surveying work) departed Portsmouth on 23 July 1836 carrying 176 colonists. These included Captain John Hindmarsh, who was to become the first Governor of the new colony of South Australia following his proclamation of the colony on 28 December 1836 – the day he arrived here in Holdfast Bay. Hindmarsh was not a particularly good Governor or administrator and was replaced replaced eighteen months later on 16 July 1838, by Governor Gawler.

The ship you see here in the Patawalonga River is a replica of the Buffalo which operates as a restaurant though the ship is owned by the local council. As I have not dined on the vessel I cannot comment on its culinary offering.

35The ship is in a very bad state of repair and the council is actually considering destroying it as neither the restaurant owners nor other developers have shown any interest in restoring it due to the cost involved. Perhaps you need to get in quick if you want to see it!

The original HMS Buffalo was wrecked on 28 July 1840 by a storm while anchored in Mercury Bay off Whitianga on the North Island of New Zealand. The wreck was located in 1986.

The South Australian Maritime Museum in nearby Port Adelaide has on display a number of models of the Buffalo including the one depicted below. The Maritime Museum has a really good section on the colonisation of South Australia and I encourage you to visit it. See my separate on it on it.


A bronze replica of the HMS Buffalo adorns the Pioneer Memorial in Moseley Square about 10 minutes walk from here. I have also prepared a separate review on the Pioneer Memorial.

Address: Wigley Reserve
Directions: Corner Adelphi Terrace and Anzac Highway
Website: http://www.thebuffalo.com.au/

For my next GLENELG review click HERE.
To start reading at the beginning of my GLENELG reviews click HERE.


2 thoughts on “HMS Buffalo

  1. I think we can all be happy that we don’t have to travel on this sort of ship, convicts or not. I’ve read that they averaged one death per day among the passengers on a typical voyage.

    Liked by 1 person

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