Like many other Australians with European heritage, I have several ancestors who spent more than 100 days on a ship travelling to Australia in the nineteenth century. There was ample time for births, deaths (and the occasional marriage); so some Australian family historians study those ships as others might towns in the old country.
My current focus for study is the ship Persia which left Plymouth (England) on 16 August 1861 and docked in Brisbane on 3 December. It delivered 438 people (including 4 born at sea) to the new colony of Queensland after losing 22 people on the voyage.
Much information about the vessel can be obtained by analysing the entries in the annual Lloyds Register of Shipping (now available through Google Books).
I am confident of the following.
The Persia was a fully rigged ship of 1684 tons, over 200 feet long and almost 40 foot abeam. She was built in 1853 in Quebec from local timbers (Tamarack, Oak, Elm and Spruce).
In 1856, her bottom was covered in tar and felt then sheathed with yellow metal (an alloy of copper, zinc and tin). However she retained the iron bolts used in the original construction. The sheathing was renewed in 1860. This work was associated with other "minor repairs" in each case. Persia was again repaired in 1863.
In 1856, the vessel was operated by Thomas & Co out of London. By 1861, it was under the ownership of G Seymor but remained London registered. However, Persia continued to be subject to the inspection rules for British North American built vessels.
The major hole in my understanding is the name of the builder in Quebec and the identity of the yard in which the various repairs were made. Was the ship returned to the original builder for the refits?
The difficulty is that Persia was an extremely popular name for British ships in the period 1850-70. For most of that time there were at least four vessels of different sizes and rigging registered with Lloyds, all carrying the same name. For example, the vessel I am studying was NOT the Cunard steamship RMS Persia that held the blue riband for fastest trans-atlantic crossing.
I have seen an assertion that the builder in Quebec was George H. Parke (but have found no supporting evidence). Where should I look to find information on ship builders in Quebec in the 1850s?