Historical information

Built by the celebrated shipbuilder Donald McKay, the Lightning was the first clipper built in the USA for a British firm. In 1862 on a return trip to Liverpool, it struck an uncharted rock in a rip. No water entered the vessel but on arrival a rock 6 feet long was found sticking through its timbers and beginning to work loose.
Under Capt. 'Bully' Forbes, the Lightning made its first voyage to Australia in 77 days, and on its return voyage, made it in a record 64 days.
The Lightning's entire life was spent on the Australian run carrying immigrants and cargo. It had the job of carrying free of charge immigrants and early consignments of introduced animals, including rabbits, which were sent to Thomas Austin of Barwon Park, Winchelsea.
The wreck of ‘Lightning’ caused by fire was the worst shipping calamity in Geelong's history.
Geelong's Centenary celebrations included a re-enactment of the burning of ‘Lightning’.


Framed picture of ‘Lightning’ which is a ship particularly historic to the region of Geelong because of its story, the worst shipping calamity in Geelong's history.

Physical description

Framed Picture of ship "Lightning"