Scott Bird's Family Tree



The Merkara was a steamship operated by the British India Steamship Company. Between 1881 and 1896 it made an incredible 31 voyages from London to Queensland, averaging just 57 days.

The Merkara inaugurated a new regular mail service on 12th Feb 1881 when she left London for Naples, Suez, Colombo, Batavia, Cooktown, Townsville, Rockhampton and Brisbane; arriving on 13th April. This service filled a gap left by other shipping companies which tended to concentrate on the Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney routes. A four weekly service was run with the Merkara, Roma, Almora, Chyebassa and Dorunda. All were barquentine rigged, single funneled vessels of between 2600 and 3000 tons with a service speed of around 10 knots. They also chartered the "Durham" until delivery of their new vessels "Compta" and "Camorta" in late 1881 enabled the company to operate the service with their own vessels.

The "Merkara" made her last sailing in Oct 1896 and was broken up in Bombay in 1901.

The Merkara

Code letters : PDCW
Official registration # : 71749
Master : Captain Withers, appointed to the Shipping Line in 1872 and to the ship in 1886
Rigging : iron single screw Schooner; 2 decks, 1 of iron & 1 partly of iron; 3 tiers of beams; 6 cemented bulkheads.
Tonnage : 3,094 tons gross, 2,919 under deck and 1,996 net.
Dimensions : 368.2 feet long, 37.2 foot beam and holds 28.5 feet deep.
Construction : 1875, William Denny & Bros., Dumbarton.
Propulsion : compound engine with 2 inverted cylinders of 47 & 82 inches diameter respectively; stroke 48 inches; operating at 65 p.s.i.; 400 horsepower; engine by the builders
Owners : British India Associated Steamers Ltd.
Port of registry : Glasgow

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