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The Skeleton Closet

Black Joke

Some of the ships that brought our ancestors to this country had infamous past histories. This is one of them.

A wooden brig built in Havana before 1836, was condemned for slaving at Siera Leone on 2 November 1836.


219 tons om 113 tons nm
85' 8" x 20' 7" x 10'


She visited Adelaide on 17 May 1838 from Launceston under the command of Captain John Miller and James Harding was second officer. She brought a cargo of furniture and some type settign eqipment for Mr McDougall, two other sea captains and two passengers. [List]

She visited Adelaide again from Launceston on 23 December 1838 under command of James Harding, her former second officer. This time she brought sheep.


The Black Joke visited Adelaide five times in 1839 under the command of James Harding.

On 29 January she brought horses and 900 sheep from Launceston. On her return jouney to Launceston (30 January) she carried 3 passengers.

On 22 February she brought sheep from Launceston.

On 17 March she brought 1000 sheep from Georgetown.

On 5 May she brought 912 sheep and 4 horses from Launceston.

On 27 May she brought sheep form Launceston.

Passengers of Black Joke - May 1838:-

Allan, J
Hurst, Captain
Hulme, Captain
McDougall, Mr A.