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Figurehead, Star of Greece

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Fast Facts
Type of thing Business
Date made or found 1868
Place made Belfast
Place used Star of Greece
Current location South Australian Maritime Museum


Mr Corry’s maiden: The Star of Greece figurehead When you walk upstairs to visit the Star of Greece exhibit in the South Australian Maritime Museum, you will notice a pale young woman with an unblinking stare. She wears a white dress with a gold embroidery trim in a geometric Greek design. In her hey-day she sailed the oceans around the world, but was later condemned to stay ashore. Her last resting place is in Port Adelaide where her ship visited several times before it came to grief in an angry sea. She is the Star of Greece figurehead.

The Star of Greece was part of the Star line owned by J.P. Corry & Co, often known as “Corry's Irish Stars." The Star clippers were known for being called “Star of … [usually a country]”. The design of the 19th century clipper ships enabled full-length figureheads to be mounted at the bow. On each Irish Star ship, the figurehead was a maiden dressed in the costume of the country after which the ship was called.

The Star of Greece sank at Port Willunga in 1888. Mr Walter J. Kimber, who had helped in the rescue efforts, bought relics including the figurehead from Messrs. Russell & Turner. Messrs Russell & Turner were ship chandlers from Port Adelaide who had purchased the rights to the wreck and its fixtures. Mr Kimber kept the figurehead in his garden in Joslin until his death in 1937. His widow, Annie Kimber, then donated the figurehead and other relics to the Port Adelaide Nautical Museum and they are now held by the South Australian Maritime Museum. Mr Vernon Smith, the curator of the Nautical Museum when the Star of Greece figurehead was donated, noted her “… penetrating eyes, solemn and awestruck, as if she is aware of the awful tragedy about to befall her ship and its gallant crew.”

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