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The WILLIAM GIFFORD was a whaler of 232 tons built by the Gifford family in Dartmouth, Ma.

The ship made three whaling voyages between 1858 and 1873. Her third and last voyage as a whaler was to the Pacific and she was sold while on that voyage and became a coastal vessel in New Zealand. In 1877, under the command of Captain Bishop, she left Oamaru, bound for Dunedin in a leaking condition. It was thought at the time the captain overshot the entrance to Otago Harbor and with the water overwhelming the pumps and 11ft 7in of water in the hold, he was forced to run the ship ashore at Tois-Tois, (Toetoes Bay) to the east of Bluff, on the extreme south coast of the South Island of New Zealand. All the crew were saved but the cargo was a total loss.

The bell is inscribed Bark / William Gifford / New Bedford / 1858

Acquired Hobart, Tasmania

155mm High. 167mm diameter.

Replacement clapper and lanyard. Old crack, repaired.

Bells from nineteenth century whalers are exceptionally rare.

The painting of the William Gifford is by Charles Sydney Raleigh 1830-1925 and is displayed in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Ma. U.S.A.  Photograph courtesy of Flo Costello. 



SHIP'S BELL. Bark William Gifford. New Bedford. 1858.

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