Historical information

The ship model of the Joseph Conrad represents the craft of ship model making, which has been enjoyed by many people over the years. Although the model is made from modern materials, it shows the elements of a sailing ship of a bygone era.

Ship Model of the JOSEPH CONRAD: -
The Joseph Conrad began as the iron-hulled sailing ship Georg Stage, launched in 1882. It was used in Denmark as a training ship for sailors. In 1905 while docked at Copenhagen the ship was rammed by a larger ship and 22 boys were killed while sleeping in the hull. The ship was later raised and on guard during World War I.

Alan Villiers, an Australian author and sailor, rescued the ship and renamed it Joseph Conrad in honour of the renowned maritime author. In 1934 the ship visited Sydney on its worldwide tour, then in 1936 it was sold to an American, who later donated it for use again as a training ship. After World War II the ship was in disuse until 1947 when it was transferred to the Mystic Seaport for use as an exhibit.

The author, Joseph Conrad (1857-1927): -
Joseph Conrad was Polish-born and became a British subject in 1886. He was a renowned marine fiction writer and also, for a short time, a mariner and Captain.

As a boy of 13 years old, Joseph Conrad’s desire was to be a sailor. At 19, he joined the British merchant marine, working in several roles. He eventually qualified as a captain but only served in this role once, from 1888-89, when he commanded the barque Otago sailing from Sydney to Mauritius. In 1889 he also began writing his first novel, Almayer’s Folly. He retired from life as a mariner in 1894, aged 36. Conrad’s visits to Australia from 1878 to 1982, and his affection for Australia, were later commemorated by a plaque in Circular Quay, Sydney.

Conrad continued as an author. It is said that many of the characters in his books were inspired by his maritime experiences and the people he had met. By the end of his life, he had completed many stories and essays, and 19 novels, plus one incomplete novel titled ‘Suspense’ that was finished and published posthumously. Shortly before he passed away, in 1924, Conrad was offered a Knighthood by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald for his work but declined.


The ship model represents the design of sailing ships built in the 1880s and can be used as a reference in understanding the construction of the ships of the Victorian era.
The model's name is significant for its association of its name with the famed early 20th-century maritime author, Joseph Conrad.

Physical description

Ship model; A three-masted sailing ship named the Joseph Conrad, with cabins on deck, lifeboats, a ladder on the side and a figurehead on the bow. The hull is black at the top and red below. The ship's name is painted on both sides of the bow.

Inscriptions & markings