Shenandoah Down Under

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 49

Illness and death haunt the CSS Shenandoah in this week’s episode, as William Bill the Hawaiian and Sergeant Canning the mysterious Englishman lie on their deathbeds. The very skies seem to bear witness to the despair of the crew as a total eclipse of the sun blocks out even the light of day.

Poor William Bill is suffering from final stages of venereal disease, while Mr Canning is slowly succumbing an unhealed bullet wound which he claims he suffered at Shiloh. Will Canning ever see his English wife again? Did he care, given she wasn’t with him when he joined the ship in Australia and he never talks about her? Will the Confederate flag be lowered for the second-last time to mark the death of a shipmate? Find out in this week’s episode of Shenandoah Down Under, where the moon eats the sun and a Hawaiian dies far from home under a strange and defeated flag.

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 23

With the Shenandoah travelling through the equatorial Gilbert Islands, Rob and Mob reflect on the famously laconic declaration of victory made by the American General in the Second World War who took the main island, Makin, from the Japanese. The declaration was, of course, “Taken Maken”, which manages to be shorter than Veni, Vidi, Vici by one word (so take that, Julius Caesar).

Back in modern times, this episode has the second half of our interview with Barry Crompton, of the American Civil War Round Table of Australia, launching his Ebook “Dixie Down Under”. What Ship in the Sea Shepard fleet was originally going to be called the Waddell? How many US warships have been called the Shenandoah? What was US consul Blanchard’s connection to the Harriet Beecher Stowe’s massive hit “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Find out in this weeks episode of Shenandoah Down Under, and leave a comment by 13 April 2015 for a chance to win a copy of Barry’s Ebook.

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 22

Rob and Mob are joined by Barry Crompton from the American Civil War Round Table of Australia, to launch his intensively researched tome Dixie Down Under. Barry describes the efforts made to track down the Australian members of the Shenandoah’s crew, including William Kenyon, the only Australian born member of the crew, and the only Australian crewman whose grave has been identified. Find out what William did with the rest of his life (hint, it involved alcohol and ‘disorderly women’), on this weeks episode of Shenandoah Down Under.

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 21

With the Shenandoah heading through a patch of sea that Executive Officer Whittle calls ‘Oh, the terrible monotony’ Rob and Mob are lucky enough to have a listener alert them to the fact that they rather neglected the Shenandoah’s departure from Melbourne, which was much more exciting. In  full flashback mode  they describe the troubles of Union Consul Blanchard in trying to find a magistrate ready to stop the Shenandoah, when every magistrate in Melbourne is trying to avoid him….

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 20

After leaving Melbourne in 1865, Captain Waddell falls into what seems to be a depressive episode. Worn down by the cares of command, he constantly finds fault with his officers, and the situation is not helped as the long days pass without the sight of a Yankee prize. . . .


Back in 2015, we have the second half of our interview with Byard Sheppard of the Civil War Round Table of Australia, where we continue to discuss the career and eventual fate of the Sea King turned Shenandoah. Will the ship have a happy ending? Find out in episode 20 of Shenandoah Down Under.

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 19

in 2015, Mob and Rob are delighted to interview Byard Sheppard from the Victorian Civil War Round Table, who is an expert in the history and construction of the Sea King/CSS Shenandoah. In the first part of this two part interview you can hear how composite iron and wood construction was the latest thing in shipbuilding in the 1860’s, and how Cunningham’s patent self reefing topsails came to be known as the ‘sailors friend’.

Back in 1865 the Shenandoah has just left Melbourne town and the crew are shocked, shocked, to discover 42 stowaways aboard. By an even more amazing co-incidence all of these stowaways are happy, even insistent, on signing on as crew. But is Captain Waddell happy? Find out in episode 19, the one with too many stowaways for credibility….

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 18

After the excitement of the Ball serious events are brewing back in Melbourne for the crew of the Shenandoah. Union Consul Blanchard is busy building a case, and is accusing officers of the Shenandoah of recruiting British subjects. As this is precisely what they are doing it is not surprising that the police become involved. As the Ship lies helpless in dry dock 50 armed policemen surround it, and the Shenandoah is trapped, well, like a ship out of water. What happens next? Find out in the exciting eighteenth episode of Shenandoah Down Under!

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 17

In Ballarat in 1865 the officers of the Shenandoah are feted by the locals, being entertained at a grand ball where at least one Lieutenant gets his hand tenderly squeezed. there was also culture shock, with the officers going 420 feet down into a gold mine, and deciding that the lazy life of the sailor was preferable to digging for gold.

Back in Melbourne Midshipman Mason and Dr Lining are taken to Kew asylum, where they are entertained by the ‘Hanging Doctor’. And what is Executive Officer Whittle doing? Whatever it was, he tore out the pages from his diary that described them. . . .

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 16

The visit of the Shenandoah to Melbourne proves to be the social event of the year, with thousands flocking for tours of the ship, and the Officers hosted for dinner at the Establishment Melbourne club. But some among the populace are not happy about this, and are sending stern letters to the editor (and probably threatening to cancel their subscriptions).


One hundred and fifty years later Shenandoah celebrations have once more taken the city by storm (or at least, the part of the population that are Civil War buffs), and with a crowded lecture, re-enactment and conference program will Rob and Mob be able to stand the pace?


Finally, what on earth is Tofurkey, and what does it have to do with the 150th anniversary of the Shenandoah’s voyage?

Shenandoah Down Under Episode 15

On 25 January 1865, the Shenandoah arrived in Melbourne, Australia, on a day that will forever afterwards be known as the day before Australia day. So significant is this day that 150 years later, Rob and Mob were able to lift a tankard of Shenandoah Anniversary ale at the Seaworks museum in Williamstown, at the heart of Melbourne’s historic port district. Upon arrival the crew disburse their prisoners, with the redoubtable Mrs Nichols wishing they would come to harm at the earliest opportunity.

In the busy City of Melbourne news from afar is available after the long treck accross the Southern Ocean, and the crew learn that the Confederacy are still fighting and Abe Lincoln has been re-elected president. How will they spend their time in Melbourne? Will they party? Will they enjoy the favours of pretty ladies? Yup.