|13 October 2002
Re: Bunyup, Murray River.
I refer to your entries for River Murray Wrecks. It is stated that
two members of the crew were lost when the Bunyip burned and sank on 8
December 1866. One of the crew lost was a
George Gunner. My great-grandfather was a George Gunner who, according
history,"drowned in the River Murray". George Gunner married Jane Renfrey
on 26 June 1855 at Gumeracha, (in the Adelaide hills). Jane Gunner,a widow,
married Felix Perry on 3 December 1864. My research of the history of the
Bunyip indicates that the sinking happened on 8 December 1863. (note- 1863
not 1866 as indicated)
I believe that the correct date of the sinking of the Bunyip was in
1863, since, as my great-grandmother re-married in 1864, she would have
committed bigamy if George did not die until 1866. Further, my research
shows that George Gunner and his decendents are all "my Gunners".
Ross Thomson, Warradale, South Australia.
10 October 2002
Re: Countess of Seafield.
Presently we are trying to differentiate the Countess of Seafield from
another ship of the same name. The following is an overview of our
A few years back I managed to obtain a copy of Australian
Sea Heritage Number 36, Spring 1993 pp. 11-12 featuring Jack's article.
I tried to contact him only to learn that he had passed away. The the voyage
which you refer to on the internet doesn't get a mention.
Jack's article is on my web site:
I would be interested if you were able to shed some light on our dilemma.
Gary Danvers, New Zealand
9 October 2002
Re: Zheng Ho.
In the course of looking for references today to wreckage near Orchid
Beach on Fraser Island - which I believe has turned out to be davits rather
than cannon from a Portugese vessel - I came across in our departmental
library Jack's book on Wrecks on the Queensland coast, published in 1982.
I was interested in a reference to 1856 when "natives reported a wreck
of unknown origin on the northern end of Fraser Island". This would rather
put a squib on the latest theory this is a ship which sank in the early
1900s but of more interest to me personally is his introduction
to that book in which he states "The Chinese knew of the existence
of Australia in 1420 and in 1477, Emperor Ying Tsung produced a porcelain
map of the coastline after Admiral Chenge Ho succcessfully circumnavigated
the great south land with sixty-two ships".
Zheng Ho is famous for seven major voyages, which from my research
during trips to South East Asian nations led me to think Zheng Ho (known
in some places as Sam Ho) could not possibly have missed Australia. His
great junks must have come down to at least the coastline of the Northern
Territory. In his massive tome on Chinese contact with Australia, Eric
Rolls speculates that Chinese sailors could have visited these shores as
early as the 1100s but I was wondering if there are any clues as to where
Jack sourced this information about a circumnavigation of Australia. It
makes sense to me, but I have seen no reference to such an amazing voyage
in any books I have read which refer to Zheng Ho's voyages.
Inevitably they mention his visits to what is now Singapore and Malaysia
(where he put to rout a raid by the Siamese at Malacca) but nothing about
travels further south. I was really excited to read this comment by Jack
and I have no doubt he was acting on reliable sources.
James Collins, Brisbane.