Hibernia was built in 1861 and was originally owned by the Atlantic Royal Mail Steamship Navigation Company of London. Her role was to carry mail and passengers. She was bought by Telcon in 1869 and was used in many parts of the world in cable laying work. HMS Hibernia was the principal laying ship for the Tasman cable, between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, carrying 1200 nm of cable, as well as the cable for the Australian end.
As well as activity in Aotearoa New Zealand, the ‘Hibernia’ helped to lay telegraph cables from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1873 -1874 and helped repair the French Atlantic Cable. In 1877 ‘Hibernia’ sailed from Gravesend in Kent to replace a broken cable for the Western & Brazilian Telegraph Company in Brazil. While anchored in a river the ship touched bottom. Despite attempts to free her, she flooded and sank. She spent 8 years laying cable for Telcon.