Hell Ship

The Journey of the Ticonderoga sets sail with new show, ‘Hell Ship’

Renowned writer, historian and performer, Michael Veitch, will tour his one-man show, ‘Hell Ship’ to Brisbane’s Gardens Theatre this March.

Telling the true story of one of the most dramatic, yet now forgotten, chapters of Australia’s early maritime history, this is a production of love and tragedy.

‘Hell Ship’ is the tale of hardship and heroism, survival and love following the three-month voyage of the emigrant clipper Ticonderoga from Liverpool to Port Phillip Bay in 1852.

By the time the ship reached Australia, with mainly Highland Scots emigrants on board, the Ticonderoga was a floating catastrophe. Shortly after crossing the equator, typhus erupted throughout her decks, and within weeks almost 100 voyagers had perished and were buried at sea, with schools of sharks stalking the Ticonderoga across the ocean. Forbidden to enter Melbourne, the Ticonderoga was made to offload her desperate human cargo onto a small beach inside the heads at Port Phillip Bay, where for six weeks a makeshift quarantine hospital was established, when then endured for more than a century.

Ticonderoga limped through the heads into Port Phillip Bay. Her horrific voyage at an end, she appeared as a ghost ship…”

Thoroughly researched by Michael Veitch, this is mainly the story of two people: Annie Morrison, a young Scots nurse and Ticonderoga’s official surgeon, James William Henry Veitch, and their tireless efforts in saving lives. These two historical figures went on to marry, becoming Michael Veitch’s great-great grandparents.

Having premiered right where the story took place at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station to great acclaim, ‘Hell Ship’ and its associated book, both written by Michael Veitch, have tapped into many Australian families’ enduring fascination with their own heritage, hidden family stories and maritime history.

With a stunning soundtrack arranged and performed live by Michael’s son, Thomas Veitch, the show’s emotions and history run deep with a moving and profound story that will touch audiences everywhere.

‘Hell Ship’ performs for two nights only on the 22 and 23 March at 7:30 PM.

Information and tickets about the show can be found at QUT Garden’s Theatre’s website.

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