HMS Success pictured grounded off Carnac Island
There were two ships named Success operating at the same time, that have entered the records of Western Australian history and they are quite often confused with one another.
Both called in to the port of Fremantle, both grounded on the same sand bar (now known as Success Bank), both were scheduled for demolition and both were reprieved, so it is little wonder that the ships have been confused with each other.
Stirling's ship, HMS Success, was a 6th rated warship (frigate) with 28 guns. She was the 7th ship in the Royal Navy to bear that name and her keel was laid down at the Pembroke shipyards in July 1823. (Launched August 30 1824.) HMS Success was commissioned on January 25th 1826 and had cost 14,310 pounds to build.
HMS Success returned to W.A. and was badly damaged on November 28th 1829, when she ran aground off Carnac Island and was laid up for repair in Fremantle for almost a year. During this time she was repaired using the newly discovered Swan River mahogany (jarrah).
Note: varying dates are given for the grounding of HMS Success. November 28th, 30th and December 3rd are widely quoted.
In 1831 orders arrived for the HMS Success to return to England to be broken up. On inspection the repairs were found to be so good that the ship gained a reprieve from the breaker's yard and went on to serve as a harbour ship at Portsmouth until 1849.
The Admiralty was so impressed with the hardwood jarrah that an order was placed for 200 loads to be delivered. Unfortunately, at that time, there was no infrastructure in place in W.A. for the timber to be collected and shipped to England and an early opportunity for export income was lost.
The other ship Success:
The other ship named Success was an East Indiaman. She brought settlers to W.A. in 1843 and managed to ground on the same sand bar as HMS Success had many years before.
The second Success was used as a convict hulk for some time and instead of being broken up, as planned, she eventually went on to become a 'show boat' in American waters.