Launched in 1874, at the height of the boom in iron clipper ships, the Thessalus was the largest and perhaps the fastest of all the beautiful ships built for the Golden Fleece Line.
Not designed for any special purpose, the Thessalus traveled everywhere and was known to be "extraordinarily free of accidents." Once she was carrying a pack of foxhounds for the Calcutta Jackal Club when a cyclone appeared. The captain, seeing the approaching storm, ordered the ship to prepare for heavy weather. Knowing that the dogs probably would not survive in their kennel stowed on the deck, the hounds were let out. The storm hit and the kennel was washed overboard. When the cyclone passed, everyone thought that the dogs had gone overboard with the kennel, but they appeared from their hiding place under the foccsle, all safe and sound.
On another voyage, she was transporting horses from Melbourne to Calcutta. Her skipper, Captain E.C. Bennett, was congratulated for delivering his equestrian cargo intact, for although the passage was a slow one, all the horses arrived alive and well. This was unlike the Udston which arrived shortly afterwards with only four of her cargo of horses alive. They had broken loose in the "tween decks" during bad weather on the Bay of Bengal and kicked each other to death.
Here, artist Efren Erese has captured the elegance of this historic ship.