Building of the "Independence"Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Georgina Bliss

The cairn commemorates the building of the schooner Independence by American sailors and whalers and the launching of the ship near the site in 1804. Plans are presently underway to rebuild the schooner. 

Independence, a 35-ton schooner, was the first ship constructed in South Australian waters. The crew of the visiting American sealing brig Union, under the command of Capt. Isaac Pendleton, built her between April and August 1803 at what is now known as American River on Kangaroo Island. Daniel Wright, the ship's carpenter, was in charge of the construction of the Independence at the mouth of Ship Creek, 800 metres west of the present-day American River oval. As was common practice at the time, Union carried the frame of a small schooner. This, possibly with the addition of some locally sourced timber, was used to build a smaller vessel. As the new vessel was to be smaller than Union, it would have better access to shallow waters. Thus was born Independence.

The Union and the Independence set sail for China in 1804.  On 15 June 1805, Independence set sail from Sydney for the Antipodes Islands (860 kilometres south east of Dunedin New Zealand) and was never seen again. The Sydney Gazette reported the loss on 16 March 1806.



Address:Muston Road, Independence Point, American River, 5223
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.802876
Long: 137.745537
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 7th June, 1986
Front Inscription

This cairn commemorates the building of the 35 ton schooner "Independence" by American sealers and whalers and its  launching near this point in 1804   

June 7, 1986

Presented by Cliff Hawkins Pty. Ltd.

Back Inscription

Unveiled by His Excellency Mr. Laurence William Lane Jnr. Ambassador of the United States of America

In honour of this event and the visit of the U.S.S. Joseph Strauss under the command of Linton Wells II U.S.N.

June 7, 1986

Presented by Cliff Hawkins Pty. Ltd.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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