When you note the location of King Island it is easy to understand why it has been named The Graveyard of Bass Strait. Lying at the western end of Bass Strait, the island forms an impenetrable barrier to ships that sail too far south on entering the Strait, making for Port Phillip or Sydney. Over one hundred vessels, large and small have been wrecked on the island, with the loss of over 700 lives. The Cataraqui, with 399 lives lost, remains as Australia’s greatest single national civil disaster. The island was first discovered in 1798 by Captain Reed in the Martha, and named in 1801 by John Black, commander of the Harbinger, after Governor King. The island stands guardian to the western entrance of Bass Strait , 64 km long and 26 km wide, about 80 km north- east of Cape Grim on the north-west tip of Tasmania, and 100 km south-east from Cape Otway in Victoria. It is relatively flat with no high peaks; the two major towns of Currie and Grassy are the centres for the 2000 population engaged in raising beef cattle and sheep, dairying, mining, fishing and crayfishing, and kelp harvesting.
Vessels on their last leg to Melbourne and Sydney from England had to "thread the eye of the needle"; having rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and taken the Great Circle route which led south into the Southern Ocean, captains had to navigate through the comparatively narrow 100 km entrance to western Bass Strait - too far south and they ran on to the shores of western King Island, and the smaller New Year Isles, too far north and they struck the western Victorian coast. For a time, the lights from Cape Otway (Victoria, 1848), and Cape Wickham (King Island, 1861), were confused adding to the destruction. The tallest lighthouse in Australia is located at Cape Wickham to the north of the island, a beautiful white granite tower 52 metres high, its light visiblefor 54 kilometres.
Of the 140 or so wrecks around the island, the tragic loss of the Cataraqui is the most significant, followed by the convict ship Neva, 218 lives, and the iron ship British Admiral, 79 lives. The largest vessel lost was the fully-rigged ship Carnarvon Bay, 1932 tons, lost at the southern end of the island in 1910. She has not been reported as found. The fully-rigged ship British Admiral, 1808 tons, lost 1874, is next, followed by the Loch Leven, 1439 tons, 1871, and the barque Flying Arrow, 1100 tons, 1855. All of the major vessels, including the barque Blencathra, and ship Netherby, are well and truly flattened with little but scattered wreckage to be seen.
Broxam and Nash [TS1},[TS2], and Loney [NK] provide the greater part of information on the island wrecks. Stone [LI],[DA] adds personal experiences of diving the wrecks in the group. Lemon and Morgan's Poor Souls They Perished, [AL] is the definitive work on the loss of the Cataraqui.
Associated links: FURNEAUX
Advance. Crayfishing vessel, 10-metre. A freak eight-metre wave sank the boat 4 km west of Currie, King Island, 2 February 1977. The two cray fishermen were lucky to be saved. [LK]
Agnes. Schooner, 18 tons. Lbd 39.1 x 11.1 x 6.1 ft. Built at Melbourne, 1851; reg. Melbourne, 7/1851. According to the newspaper Hobart Advertiser, a schooner of this name was lost on King Island within the eighteen months prior to December 1855. Loney states lost 1853, in turn based on O’May. A chart subsequently produced as part of a Victorian Government Report on the desirability of erecting a lighthouse at Cape Wickham, showed the position of a wreck named the Agnes on Yellow Rock Beach, about mid-way between Cape Farewell and the Yellow Rock River. She may have been involved in salvage from the vessels Whistler, Elizabeth and/or Maypo. [TS1],[LK]
Alacrity. Tug. Involved in rescue - see ship Carnarvon Bay, King Island, 1910. [LK]
Amelia J. Schooner. Left Newcastle for Hobart with a cargo of coal on 21 August 1920 and was not seen again. Possibly lost in Bass Strait. HMAS Platypus and HMAS Swordsman searched Bass Strait. She disappeared about the same time as the barquentine Southern Cross, wrecked on or near King island. [LK],[LV]
Anna. Barque, 144 tons. Built at New York; reg. Melbourne 45/1865.
Lbd 39,676 94.6 x 24.8 x 9.6 ft. Captain James Alonzo Thompson. From
Fremantle, WA with a cargo of jarrah timber for Manukau, NZ, encountered
a westerly gale, and when Cape Wickham light was sighted soon afterwards,
it was mistaken for Cape Otway; sailed straight onto a sand-bank,
wrecked, on Yellow Rock about six miles south of Cape Wickham, King Island,
26 October 1873. A seaman swam ashore with a line, and with a strong rope
later secured to the mast-head, a basket swung was used to ferry the Captain’s
wife and children and a female passenger ashore. The Government steamer
Victoria, and the sealer schooner Julia, assisted in the rescue;
all reached Melbourne. The captain’s certificate was suspended for
twelve months. [TS1],[LK],[LV],[ASR]
On the night of 6-7 September 1873, was loading at Rockingham Timber Station near Fremantle when driven ashore in a gale, but soon refloated.
Ariel. Composite hulled, full-rigged clipper ship, 853 tons. # 52743. Built at Greenock, Scotland, 1865; reg. London. Lbd 197.4 x 33.9 x 21.0 ft. Captain Talbot. Well known for her speed and beautiful lines, the Ariel sailed from London for Sydney on 31 January 1872 but failed to arrive. Around August 1872 the remains of a teak-built ship’s boat, the only marking being a brass mounting bearing a gothic-script ‘A’ was found on the north-west coast of King Island. Otherwise, there has been no trace of the ship, nor her crew and passengers. [TS1]
Arrow. Three masted schooner, 166 tons. Originally built for the South
American copper trade, she later served for a number of years as the British
Minister’s yacht Dart at Valparaiso, during which period she had been armed
with four large guns.Captain Dirk Cloosen. From Mauritius for Melbourne
with a cargo including sugar, spices and merchandise, mistook the light
on Cape Wickham for that on Cape Otway, and thus ran on to rocks, wrecked,
at Fitzmaurice Bay, north-west King Island, 25 June 1865. Seas swept away
the boats and trapped the crew on board; one seaman lost his life attempting
to swim ashore, another made it safely. At low tide the remaining crew
reached the shore, where they were met by hunters who remained with them
until the schooner Sir Isaac Newton took them off and set sail for Queenscliff.
When the Arrow struck she carried four brass howitzers ondeck and also
kept a stand of Enfield rifles. Captain R.Leggett, in the cutter Ben Bolt,
arrived to recover the weapons, but they could not be found. It was
decided to open the grave of the sailor who had drowned attempting to swim
ashore, and there were the missing 370 lb. brass guns. They were
after wards purchased by the Victorian Government and used on a training
ship in Port Phillip Bay. The assistant light-keeper William Weight (himself
a survivor of the Brahmin wrecked in 1854), was later arrested and sentenced
to two years’ imprisonment and dismissed from the lighthouse service for
obtaining goods, including furniture, illegally from the schooner. At an
inquiry it was revealed that her master was navigating using an old Dutch
chart on which the Wickham light was not marked. To this day the hull is
occasionally exposed by movements in the beach sand. [TS1],[LK],[LM],[LV]
Beagle. HMS. Under Captain Wickham, surveyed King Island in 1838. [NH]
Ben Bolt. Cutter. Captain R. Leggett.
Recovered weapons from the lost schooner Arrow on King Island, 1865. [LK]
Involved in salvage of cargo from the ship Netherby on King Island,1866. [LK]
Bernadette. Motor fishing vessel, 26/21 tons. # 191770. Built
Triabunna, Tasmania, 1947, as the Minnamurra; reg. Hobart 7/1955. Lbd
45.4 x 14.2 x 6.4 ft. Renamed on registration. Skipper Sholto Gordon Douglas.
Left Apollo Bay on a crayfishing trip to the area around Reid's Rocks,
south-east of King Island, early in March 1964, and did not return. Wreckage
was later found but no sign of the three crew. [TS2],[LK]
On 13 March 1953, as the Minnamurra, part-owner crew member drowned in a dinghy mishap while working craypots from the vessel at High Rocky Point, Tasmania.
On 26 May 1955, sprang a leak near the Pot Boil off Flinders Island.
Bertie. Cutter. Wrecked two miles south of Lavinia Point, on the
far north-east coast King Island, sometime after October 1874. [TS1],
On 6 September 1874, ashore on the north-west coast of King Island during a violent gale. The master arrived at the Cape Wickham lighthouse station seeking tools and nails to repair the vessel; he was evidently successful, as she sailed for Melbourne on 20 October.
Bertie. Cutter. Lost south of Lavinia Point, King Island, 1855 [LK]
Bertie. Cutter. Lost on King Island, 1860. [LV]
Blencathra. Iron barque, 933/899 tons. # 69716. Built Whitehaven, UK,
1874; reg. Whitehaven. Lbd 202 x 32.3 x 19.9 ft. Captain D. Nicholas. Bound
from Glasgow to Sydney on her maiden voyage, with general cargo, one passenger
and a crew of nineteen, wrecked on a reef off Currie Harbour, King Island,
near where the present lighthouse stands, 3 January 1875. As so happened
many times before, her master mistook the Cape Wickham light for that on
Cape Otway. The captain and crew were taken off by the gang working on
the British Admiral and next morning they moved on to the Blencathra, sending
the sails and everything moveable ashore. Efforts were then made to refloat
her using clay and green hides to patch the holes in her hull, but this
was soon abandoned and the captain and crew then left for Melbourne on
one of the vessels carrying salvage from the remains of the British Admiral.
The Blencathra hung together for many months, but eventually broke up.
[TS1],[LK],[NH],[ASW6],[AS1],[LV - Captain Nicholls]
@ No recognisable ship structure remains o the shallow, rocky seabed. [LAH]
Brahmin. Ship, 616 tons. Built at Greenock by John Scott & Sons, 1842; reg. Greenock. Lbd 124.8 x 26.4 x 20.6 ft. Captain Malcolm McEachern. Bound from London to Sydney with forty-two passengers and crew, ran ashore, wrecked, three kilometres south of Whistler Point on the west coast of King Island, 21 May 1854. The captain, first and second mates, boatswain, nine Lascars and four passengers were drowned but the remainder reached safety and existed on the island for five months, when they were rescued by the steamer Electra out of Port Phillip. The Electra had come to King Island to assist in the rescue of survivors from the schooner Water Witch, wrecked 17 September 1854. The wrecksite is known, on the seaward side of a small reef lying 700 metres offshore, the bow marked by two anchors and the windlass lying in six metres of water, the stern in two to three metres close to where the reef breaks at low tide.[TS1@],[LK],[LV]
Brisbane. Sloop, charted for scientific experidion with botanist William Baxter on board. Crew members were involved in a plot to plunder the sloop James, anchored on the north-west coast of king Island, 1826. The James was lost ashore in a gale. [TS1]
British Admiral. Full-rigged ship, iron, 1808/1286 tons. # 69329. Built
and reg. at Liverpool, 1873. Lbd 257.6 x 41.9 x 23.9 ft. Captain James
Taylor. In January 1874, on her second voyage Liverpool to Melbourne, returned
to Liverpool after being extensively battered in heavy weather in the Bay
of Biscay.With a new bowspritt, a reoaired foremast and a suspicion that
she was over-rigged, Captain Taylor left Liverpool for Melbourne once again
on 23 February 1871. She hove to in heavy weather off St. Paul Island,
where she was again swept by heavy seas; her compasses had given triouble
and the chronomenter was unreliable. Course was set for King Island, which
she made in a most unfortunate manner. With forty-nine passengers and a
crew of thirty-nine, she was wrecked, four miles south of Currie, King
Island, 23 May 1874. Only nine survived. Expected to sight Cape Otway on
the Victorian coast, the ship struck the east coast of the island and remained
fast with huge seas washing over her. Most on deck were washed overboard
and drowned and more were lost while the forward boats were being launched.
One seaman and three passengers made Currie harbour in a boat whilst four
others struggled ashore. The ketch Kangaroo searched in vain for more survivors.
Hunters gathered at the wreck and found the beach covered with bodies;
most were buried in a mass grave. When the Government steamer Pharos arrived
on the scene it found the cargo spread out along about twenty kilometres
of beach. A Melbourne syndicate used the schooner Cygnet and the schooner
Royal Charlie assisting a diving gang who spent twelve months recovering
the submerged cargo. A Court of Inquiry thought that the ship’s chronometers
may have been affected by bad weather and cleared the captain and officers
of any blame for her loss.
[LK],[NH],[ASW6],[TS1 - 1868/1744 tons],[CWR],[LV - 1781 tons],[LAH]
~ A marble headstone stands on the beach near where the vessel struck.
Bronzewing. Ketch, 78 gross. # 57531. Built at Shipwright’s Point on the Huon River, 1872 (the register says 1873); reg. Port Adelaide 5/1873. Lbd 78.5 x 21.7 x 7.0 ft. The ketch was used to convey building materials to the site of a new jetty at Fraser River (later Naracoopa), on King Island, and arrived at Sea Elephant Bay on her first voyage on 10 November, 1914. While unloading her cargo, which included machinery and steel reinforcements, dragged her anchors and went ashore between Fraser Bluff and the entrance to the Fraser River, where she became a total wreck. [TS2],[LK - lost 11 November]
Bruthen. Ketch, 45 tons gross. # 95958. Built Footscray, Victoria, 1889;
reg. Melbourne, 13/1889. Lbd 72.0 x 20.6 x 5.5 ft. Captain William
Jones. Sailed from Burnie for Port Adelaide with a cargo of palings,
struck Sea Elephant Reef, south-east of King Island, 13 March 1901. All
hands landed safely, reaching Stanley on board the fishing ketch Elsinore.
[TS2],[LK - schooner, ashore south of Sea Elephant River, 1898.
Cape Pigeon. Cutter, 9 tons. Probably unregistered. Wrecked at Stokes Point, King Island, on or prior to 17 July 1874. [TS1]
Cape Pigeon. Cutter, 26 tons. Wrecked at Surprise Bay on the south-west coast of King Island, 1874. [LK]
Carnarvon Bay. Steel full-rigged ship, 1932/1795 tons. # 102132.
Built Glasgow, Scotland, 1894; reg. Liverpool. Lbd 265.4 x 40.1 x 22.9
ft. Captain William Griffith. Bound from Liverpool to Sydney with 4000
tons of cargo, was blown to the south and struck Stanley Rock, off
Seal Bay, King Island, 16 September 1910. Huge seas pounded her and
the men were ordered to the boats as the ship developed a list and seemed
likely to slip off into deep water at any moment. Two boats got away; one
made it within sight of Cape Liptrap on the eastern Victorian coast where
the steamer Tarcoola was signaled. After the steamer arrived in Melbourne
the Lady Loch and tug Alacrity set out to search for the other boat. It
had also made a safe landing, with SS Wauchope landing the men at Launceston.
The Carnavon Bay sank and has not been found to this day.
Castlereagh. Motor fishing vessel, trawler, 55/47 tons. # 199172. Built
Tuncurry, NSW, 1948; reg. Melbourne11/1958. Lbd 60.0 x 17.1 x 6.3 ft. Skipper
David Felmingham. Foundered when she ran her bow into a heavy sea off Stokes
Point, at the southern end of King Island, 21 August 1963. Crew rescued
by fishing boats Sea Scout and Subaron. [TS2]
In January 1960, stolen at Stanley and subsequently went aground at Queenscliffe, near Port Phillip Heads; two crew arrested.
Cataraqui. Wooden ship, 810/710 tons. Built at Quebec, 1840; reg. Liverpool.
Lbd 138 x 30 x 22 ft. Owned by William Smith & Sons of Liverpool. Chartered
by the Land and Emigration Commissioners to carry emigrants to Melbourne.
Captain Christopher William Findlay. Ashore, wrecked, on the western coast
of King Island, 4 August 1845. The loss of the ship with 367 emigrants
and 41 crew (some reports 369 emigrants and 46 crew), still rates
as Australia’s greatest civil disaster. She was the last vessel to be chartered
by the Immigration Commissioners under the bounty system, and left England
for Australia on 20 AprilAfter more than three months at sea she
encountered heavy weather; although the captain had been unable to obtain
an accurate position he believed his ship was about fifty miles south-west
of Portland and on a course which should take him clear of Cape Otway up
to Port Phillip Heads. Actually, he was about sixty miles farther south
and heading straight for King Island. Immediately she struck, the shock
imprisoned many of the passengers, including women and children, below
decks and they were drowned in their quarters under the hatches, while
about two hundred clung desperately to the ship, swept by giant seas.
Towards evening the vessel broke in two, one half disappearing and carrying
many to their doom. When the vessel finally went to pieces only nine were
washed ashore alive - the Chief Officer, six seamen, one apprentice and
one emigrant named Brown, whose wife and four children had all been drowned.
The survivors were found by a party of sealers who looked after them for
a month until the cutter Midge called on 7 September and took them to safety.
The ‘Constable of the Straits’, David Howie, visited the island in his
tiny craft David Howie, and buried the bodies washed ashore. A total of
342 bodies were buried in five main graves, and several smaller graves.
There are conflicting reports on the number of lives lost some say 406;
others 399. [LK],[#NH],[ASW6],[#MJ],[#TS1],[#AS1],[CWR],[LV],[#AL]
See ship Grimenza, lost off Queensland coast, 1853, for further comment regarding ‘ Australia’s greatest civil disaster’.
@ Virtually nothing remains of the vessel. In 1975 divers recovered two cannon, an anchor and other relics. [LAH]
~ A memorial cairn has been erected near the wrecksite.
Christine Carol. Steel motor fishing vessel, LFB No. 464 (RA8), 27/22 tons. # 332776. Built Dover, Tasmania, 1967; reg. Hobart 7/1969. Lbd 11.92 x 4.27 x 2.04 metres. With a rope around its propeller, sank west-south-west of South Reid Rock, off the east coast of King Island, 8 June 1992. Two crew saved. [TS2]
City of Melbourne. Wooden screw steamship, 180 tons. Formerly Black
Warrior. Captain Saunders. First ocean-going screw steamer built
in Australia. Converted to a three-masted barque, lbd 118.4 x 18.5 x 8.5
ft. Was steaming between Melbourne and Launceston with 250 passengers,
many of them gold diggers from Ballarat, when forced ashore in a gale on
the eastern coast of King Island, 7 August 1852. After the crew and passengers
were safely landed the mate and several of the crew took one of the boats
and set out for Tasmania, arriving at Stanley two days later. After several
difficulties were overcome, the steamship was successfully towed over the
reef and steamed back to Sydney, arriving on 14 January 1853.
[LK],[LV][LV],[LSS],[DG - converted to a schooner],[WL - 300 tons]
Note 1: Several authors list both this steamship, and the 1828 ton fully rigged ship of the same name lost in Corio Bay, as both being previously named Black Warrior. One reference is, obviously, incorrect.
Note 2: Not listed by Broxam and Nash.
Clutha. Brigantine, 150 tons. Missing after sailing from Melbourne to
the Clarence River, NSW, November 1868. [TS1]
Broxam and Nash mention wreckage, possibly from her, under the listing for schooner Sarah Barr.
Clytie. Ketch,19 tons gross. # 78066. Built at Cape Barren Island, Furneaux
Group, 1878; reg. Launceston 2/1879. Lbd 46.3 x 13.1 x 5.8 ft. Skipper
Benjamin Raddings. Wrecked ashore in a gale after her anchors dragged,
Surprise Bay, King Island, 9 April 1902. Two crew saved. [TS2]
Clyte. Ketch, 19 tons. Ashore, wrecked, in Surprise Bay, King Island, 17 June 1902. [LK],[LV]
Comet. Schooner. Captain Cork. Assisted the stricken barque Isabella, 1840. [LK]
Coorong. Steamer. Involved in salvage of the wool crago from the ship Loch Leven, King Island, 1871. [LK]
Corio. Steamer. Despatched from Melbourne to rescue survivors from brig Maypole and American ship Whistler, wrecked on King Island in 1855 within two hours of each other. [LK],[TS1]
Cygnet. Schooner. Involved in salvage of crago from the ship British
Admiral, King Island, 1874. [LK]
Dagmar. Fishing craft. Involved in rescue - see barque Kalahone, King Island, 1879. [LK]
Dagmar. Fishing ketch. Involved in rescue - see barque Kalahome, King Island, 1882. [TS1]
Dart. Three masted schooner. The British Embassy’s yacht at Valparaiso. Renamed Arrow; lost off Fitzmaurice Bay, King Island, 1865. [LK],[TS1]
Dart. Possibly a schooner, 74 tons. Wrecked on New Years Island, 1874,
the crew reaching Yellow Rock Beach, King Island, on a raft. The
survivors later left for Melbourne, except for a 13-year old lad, H. J.
Grave, born at Geelong in 1861, who lived with the family of the lighthouse
keeper Mr. Hickmott, married his daughter, and died on 6 March 1910. [TS1],[LK]
Broxam and Nash note:
No reference to the incident has been found in the press or the Cape Wickham lighthouse records, although the Dart may have been an unregistered fishing vessel. It is possible that the ‘wreck’ was a mishap in the career of the brig Dart, 79 tons, # 32414, built at Prince Edward Island, 1854; reg. Melbourne. Lbd 65.2 x 19.5 x 9.4 ft. Broken up in December 1899; register closed 31 August 1900.
David Howie. Small craft, 8 tons. Owned by the Government appointed ‘Constable of the Straits’, David Howie, whole role required him to patrol Bass Strait. Howie was responsible for buring 342 men, women and children lost when the emigramt ship Cataraqui was lost on King Island in 1845. [LK]
Defiance. Fishing vessel. Master D. Huggins. Broke her moorings off
New Year Island, King Island, and drifted off with her three crew ashore,
August 1975. Crew picked up by the fishing vessel Gurya and taken to Currie.
The Defiance went aground on a reef on the western side of Christmas Island,
with sufficient damage to her bottom to render her unsalvageable. The Defiance
was from Apollo Bay. [TS2]
Earl of Hopetoun. Ketch, 23 tons. Lost at Sea Elephant Bay, King Island, 1904. On Novewmver 1902, went ashore on King Island, but was refloated. [LK]
Electra. Steamer. Involved in rescue of survivors from the ship Brahmin and schooner Water Witch on King Island, 1854. [LK]
Elizabeth. Ketch, 46/26 tons.Built at Coromandel, New Zealand; reg. Melbourne 175/1853. Lbd 55.9 x 17.5 x 7.4 ft. Master/owner Edward Weekes. Involved in salvaging gear and fittings from the ship Whistler at King Island, wrecked in a gale on a reef that now bears her name between New Year Island and King Island, 6 July 1855. All hands got clear in her boat and sailed it across the Straits, arriving at Port Phillip Heads on 17 July 1855. [TS1].[LK]
Elizabeth. Schooner. Involved in rescue - see brig Flying Squirrel. 1875. [LK]
Elizabeth Margaret. Twin screw motor fishing vessel, 53/37 tons. # 316059. Lbd 16.54 x 5.70 x 2.28 metres. Built Queenscliffe, 1975; reg. Portland, Victoria 1/1977, 4/1979. Wrecked on rocks off the southern end of Councillor Island, off King Island, 6 January 1981. Two crew saved. [TS2]
Elligood. American whaler, 327 tons. Built ar River Kennebecaciaas,
New Brunswick, 1793; reg. London 42/1795. Lbd 103 x 27-10 x 6-5 ft. Operated
in southern Australian waters on several occasions. Sailed rom London to
the South Seas in 1800, arriving at Cape Town on 5 May, and King George
Sound, Wam 27 August 1800. She returned to Cape Town, having losty her
master and nine men to scurvy, and possibly then returned back to Australia.
Possibly wrecked on King Island, 1801. Wreckage was found on the west coast
by Captain Campbell and crew of the brig Harrington on 18 March, 1802.
Except for an English cat, there was no sign of survivors. There seems
little doubt that King Island was well known to the whaling fleets for
many years prior to its first recorded sighting in 1797 and not unlikely
that several vessels were lost on its rocky coastline. [LK],[AS1],[TS1]
Initial research on this vessel was by J.S.Cumpston, recorded in his book Kangaroo Island 1800- 1836. Broxam and Nash refer only to unidentified wreckage that may have come from her.
Elsinore. Fishing ketch. Involved in rescue - see ketch Bruthen, lost off King Island, 1901. [TS2]
Ettrick. Cutter, 8 tons. Lbd 30.3 x 9.2 x 4.3 ft. Built and reg. at Melbourne, 10/1842. Owned by the Bass Strair ‘policeman’ David Howie (see loss of Cataraqui, King Island, 1845). Broxam and Nash state: Considering the similarity in their dimensions, the Ettrick may have been rebuilt as the David Howie, (qv). Wrecked at the river that now bears her name on the south-east coast of King Island, before November 1847. Howie was awarded £50 by the Victorian Government for his work in retrieving and burying the dead from the wreck of the Cataraqui in 1845. He purchased the Ettrick, and continued to beachcombe around the islands, as well as retrieve kangaroo skins obtained by two aboriginal women he kept on King Island. [TS1]
Europa. Brig, 190 tons. # 37888. Built at Maitland, UK, 1856; reg. Port Adelaide 9/1864. Lbd 108.2 x 25.5 x 12.1 ft. Captain George F. Graham. Newcastle to Port Adelaide with coal, was forced to seek shelter under King Island, however the anchors dragged in a squall and she went ashore on Sea Elephant Island, off King Island, 17 November 1867. Despite a considerable quantity of the cargo being jettisoned, finally settled onto the rocks and filled with water. The crew escaped unharmed in the boats. The master and three men walked overland to where the Netherby salvage party had been working, but on arrival found that the salvagers had left for Melbourne. They continued on to Cape Wickham where a message was sent to Melbourne. The Victorian Government sent its SS Pharos to rescue the castaways. [TS1],[LK - 224 tons. Built in Aberdeen, 1834],[LV]
Express. Steamer. Based in Geelong. Involved in salvage of the wool
crago from the ship Loch Leven, King Island, 1871. [LK]
Fantome. Her Majesty’s Barque. Discovered the abandoned barque Flying Arrow on King Island, 1855. [LK]
Favor. Schooner, 34 tons. # 64809. Built at Williamstown, Victoria,
1875; reg. Melbourne 32/1875. Lbd 66.1 x 17.6 x 5.2 ft. Captain George
Monland. From Queenscliff for Currie, King Island, experienced heavy weather
in Bass Strait but made Currie Harbour; on attempting to return to Melbourne,
drifted onto Netherby Point where she was holed, abandoned, 12 October
1880. Crew picked up by the ketch Korunah and landed at Hobart. [TS1],[LK
- 74 tons, Captain Molland]
The loss is misdated 1864 in Echoes of the Past.
Favour. Schooner. Wrecked at the northern entrance to Currie Harbour, King Island, 1861. [LK]
Faye Doris. Motor cray fishing vessel, 43/37 tons. # 374304. Built Launceston, 1968; reg. Launceston 2/1977. Lbd 16.51 x 4.65 x 2.51 metres. Wrecked on the Grassy breakwater, King Island, when the deckie at the helm fell asleep, 21 April 1995.
Finegold. Steel cutter, 20/16 tons. # 374856. Built at Frankston, Victoria, 1977-78; reg. Melbourne 12/1979. Sank Bass Strait, east of King Island. Sole occupand taken aboard the 21,740 grt bulk carrier Iron Prince. [TS2]
Florence. Schooner. Sighted the wreck of a vessel of about eighty feet length of keel about twenty miles north-east of Cape Wickham, King Island, on 5 July 1883; never identified. [TS1]
Flying Arrow. Barque, 1100 tons. Lbd 170.8 x 37.1 x 23.4 ft. Sold to
French interests in 1857. Found abandoned off Fitzmaurice Bay, King Island,
November 1855. She was found by HMB Fantome, and the steamer Marion with
no one aboard to explain her condition. The anchors were gone and
the chain cables were hanging out of the hawse pipes, from which it was
presumed she had been anchored in some exposed position while the crew
landed on the island.The Fantome searched the coast while the Marion towed
the hulk to Hobsons Bay. Here it was found that one of the barque’s boats
had reached Melbourne to engage the services of a tug. The Flying Arrow
was repaired and renamed Wings Of The Wind.
Flying Squirrel. Brigantine, 79 tons. # 31927.. Lbd 70.8 x 18.6 x 9.4
ft. Built at Hobart, 1840; reg. Melbourne 26/1863. Captain Paton. From
Circular Head for Melbourne with potatoes, ran into Sea Elephant Reef,
off the south-east coast of King Island, in a gale, 19 October 1875. Within
ten minutes the Flying Squirrel had heeled over and sank, leaving the seven
crew barely enough time to get clear in the boat; landed at Sea Elephant
Bay, then walked overland the twenty-two miles to Cape Wickham lighthouse.
Taken to Geelong by the schooner Elizabeth. [TS1],[LK - lost 21 September
On 25 April 1867, stranded at Port McDonnell, South Australia
On 12 November 1848, under Captain Thoms, parted her cables and run ashore on Gun Carriage Island, Furneaux Group.
In December 1857, ashore at Wabb’s Harbour (Bicheno) and lost her rudder.
On 6 February 1858, parted her cables and washed on to rocks, Friendly Bay, Tasmania.
Garfield. Schooner, 84 tons. # 83676. Built at Jervis Bay, NSW, 1882; reg. Port Adelaide 13/1898. Lbd 78.0 x 20.7 x 8.1 ft. Captain P. A. Peterson. From Duck River, Tasmania, for Adelaide with logs and palings, encountered squalls, and went ashore at Lavinia Point on north-east coast King Island. All hands landed safely, returning to Launceston on the steamer Star. [TS1],[LK]
George. Sloop, 28 tons. Built on the hawkesbury river, NSW. Captain W. Stewart. Wrecked in 1806 (no location indicated). On 15 May 1803, ran aground in a gale, on New Years Island off King Island; considerably damaged but with some difficulty, repaired and refloated during which time the caprenter was drowned. She made Sydney on 15 February 1804. [AS1]
Good Intent. Ketch, 33 tons. Captain Burgess. Built at Port Cygnet, 1877. Ashore in a squall, wrecked, Surprise Bay, King Island, 10 May 1928. [LK]
Grenada. Steel full-rigged ship, 2268 gross. Replaced the Carnarvon Bay, lost King Island, 1910.
Gurya. Fishing vessel. Involved in rescue - see fishing vessel Defiance.
Harbinger. Brig, 156 tons. Captain Black. Possibly lost on a reef that now bears her name, near Cape Wickham, King Island, 1801. [LV]
Harrington. Sealing brig. Captain William Campbell. Crew of the brig
Harrington, Captain William Campbell, discovered a quantity of wreckage
from what appeared to be a large vessel, at the southern end of King Island.
Loney, and Broxam and Nash, list - wreckage on the west coast of King Island, may have been from the American whaler Elligood, 1801.[LK],[TS1]
Helen. Schooner. Captain Gowan.
Involved in rescue - see brig Ocean Bride, lost King Island, 1871. [LK],[TS1]
Involved in rescue - see schooner Martha & Levinia, 1871. [LK]
Involve in rescue - see Loch Leven, lost King Island, 1871. [LK]
Helen Ann. Schooner, 31 tons. # 32203. Built at Waterton on the River
Tamar, Tasmania, 1855; reg. Melbourne 19/1868. Reportedly sank
thirty-two miles to the south of Cape Wickham light, King Island, 21 September
1868. Crew rescued by HMCS Victoria. [TS1]
Loney reports: Driven ashore and wrecked when sheltering in a gale off New Year Island on the west coast of King Island. [LK]
Broxam and Nash state:
The crew of the Victoria reported seeing the yards of a small schooner sunk at New Years Island, which may have been the Helen Ann.
On 30 April 1868, her master Edward Maxted and two crew were drowned when their boat was swamped while going ashore for water at Circular Head, Tasmania.
Helen D. Cray fishing vessel, 20 tons. Built 1973. Lbd 13.26 x 4.22 x 1.93 metres. Owner-crew Douglas and Katherine Graham. Sank after the engine failed and she drifted on to rocks, near Cataraqui Point, King Island, 27 March 1997. Crew saved.
Hespray. Fibreglass abalone boat, F B WF5, 2 tons, 17-8 ft. Ashore, wrecked, Currie Harbour, King Island, 7 March 1969. [TS2]
Irazu. Auxiliary ketch, 18/15 tons. # 57609. Built Port Cygnet, Tasmania,
1884; reg. Hobart 12/1914. Lbd 46.8 x 13.4 x 5.1 ft. Master-owner
Albert Johnson. Cables parted in a gale, wrecked ashore, New Years Island,
off King Island, 14 May 1931.all landed safely and reached Melbourne in
the SS Tambar. [TS2],[LK - engines failed, lost 14 April]
In 1914, severely damaged after going ashore on rocks north of Huon Island, Tasmania.
Isabella. Barque, 287 ton.. Built at Hull, England, 1838; reg. at Hull,
45/1838. Lbd 91.4 x 22.3 x 16.2 ft. Captain W. Dickenson. Drifted
ashore during a calm, whilst on a voyage from Calcutta to Sydney, 25
December 1840. All hands, twenty-five in number, and including two woman
passengers, landed safely. The mate and four of the crew left for
Port Phillip in the long boat, the only boat not badly damaged in the wreck,
to arrange a rescue, and arrived at Williamstown four days later.
The Harbour Master then proceeded to the wreck in the cutter Sisters however
she had slipped off the rock on the 29 December and sank in deep water.
[LK],[LPA - wrecked 1841, incorrect],[TS1 - fully-rigged ship]
Isabella. Schooner, 31 tons. From London to Port Phillip via Calcutta, wrecked on King Island in Bass Strait in June or July 1844. All hands reached safety but the vessel soon went to pieces. Some say this wreck occurred in 1843. [ASW6], [LK],[AS1]
J.L.Griffiths. See John Leslie Griffiths.
James. Sloop, 11 tons. Lbd 34-.4. x 11 x 6 ft. Built on Hawkesbury River, NSW, 1822; reg. Sydney, 1823. Master James Chorlette. Wrecked ashore on the north-west coast of King Island under unusual circumstances, 9 September 1826. On a voyage out of Launceston under the command of, the vessel dropped anchor under the lee of the New Year Islands on 3 September 1826, and the master and two of the crew went ashore to visit the sealer’s camp, leaving the mate, Morgan Hughes, in charge. A few hours later the sloop Brisbane, on a scientific expedition out of Sydney, anchored alongside, and some went ashore. It appears that the crew left on the James and the Brisbane went on a drinking spree and conspired to plunder the James then wreck her to hide the evidence. A passenger on the Brisbane said he had seen Hughes order one of the Brisbane’s Maori crewmen to cut the lashings that held the two vessels together after the James’ cables had parted in the gale. The four suspects disappeared inland, and Chorlette returned to Launceston as a passenger on the Brisbane. [TS1],[LK - Captain Charlton. Lost 3 September]
John. Sealing sloop, wooden, 30 tons. Built at Wooloomooloo, Sydney, 1803; reg. On 11 June 1803, name of John Palmer & Co. of Sydney. Length approx 98 ft. Sailed from King Island for Sydney around November 1806, but failed to arrive. No trace of the vessel, which normally carried a crew of five, was found. [TS1],[CF],[LN],[SAN],[AS1]
John Leslie Griffiths. (J. L. Griffiths). Jackass barque (registered as a barquentine, but this is incorrect as she carried square top-sails on both fore and main masts), 192 tons. # 73511. Built at West Devonport, Tasmania, 1876; reg. Melbourne 33/1876. Lbd 120.6 x 25.2 x 10.5 ft. Captain Brown. Sailed from Port Adelaide for the Don River, Tasmania, on 18 September 1880, but failed to arrive. The Victorian Government steamer Pharos was sent from Melbourne to search around King Island, where it was speculated she may have been wrecked, but found no trace. Some wreckage that came ashore near Port McDonnell, South Australia, was also thought to have come from her but was never positively identified. [TS1]
John Souchay. Brig, 228 tons. Captain Fallenstein. Bound from Hobart to Mauritius, ran on to a reef south of Sea Elephant Bay, King Island, 29 August 1848. After lying on the reef for nine hours, she floated off and returned to Hobart. [LK],[LV]
Julia. Schooner, sealer. Involved in rescue - see barque Anna, King
Island 1873. [LK],[LV]
Kalahome. Barque, 354 tons. # 43950. Built at Sunderland, England, 1861; reg. Port Adelaide 5/1869. Lbd 120.4 x 26.6 x 16.5 ft. Captain William Moore. From Newcastle for Wallaroo, South Australia with coal, hit a reef between Sea Elephant Island and Sea Elephant River, King Island, 5 October 1882. Crew of seven attempted to refloat the vessel by throwing coal overboard, but this merely allowed her to be thrown higher onto the reef. Crew landed on King Island and picked up by the fishing ketch Dagmar, landed at Melbourne. [TS1]
Kalahone. Barque, 354 tons. On a voyage from Newcastle to Wallaroo with coal, was sheltering in Sea Elephant Bay, King Island, when driven ashore and lost, October 1879. Crew was rescued by the fishing craft Dagmar. [LK],[LV]
Kangaroo. Ketch. Involve in search for bodies from stricken ship British Admitral, King Island, 1874. [LK]
Karitane. Steel steamship, 1376/847 tons. # 118012. Built at Sunderland, UK, 1903 as the Cavalier. Wrecked on King Island, September 1921. [DG]. Incorrect - lost in the Kent Group on the other side of Bass Strait.
Katheran. Schooner . Parted her anchors and went ashore where she became a total wreck, at Yellow Rock River, King Island, 1861. [LK]
Katheraw. Schooner, 44 tons. # 43323. Built at St. Leonards, Victoria,
1863; reg. Geelong 1/1866. Lbd 57.0 x 17.2 x 7.3 ft. Master-owner Edward
Logan. From Warrnambool for Leith, River Forth, north coast Tasmania, stranded
on the beach near the Ettrick River, on south-west coast King Island, having
mistaken Cape Wickham light for Cape Otway, 7 December 1872. All hands
landed safely, and shortly afterwards met up with a kangaroo hunter who
assisted them with food until they were picked up by the Victorian Government
steamer Victoria. The ketch Phoenix assisted in salvage.
on 24 December. [TS1],[LK]
In October 1867, stranded at the Don, Tasmania, but was refloated undamaged.
Koomeela. Steamer. Involved in the search for the missing brigantine Southern Cross, King Island, 1920. [LK]
Korunah. Ketch. Involved in rescue - see schooner Favor, King Island,
Lady Loch. Involved in rescue - see ship Carnarvon Bay, King Island, 1910. [LK]
Lindisfarne. Schooner. Ashore on King Island but was refloated, 1868. [LK]
Loch Leven. One of the famous Loch Line ships, iron, 1439/1200 tons.
# 63759. Built Glasgow 1870; reg. Glagow. Lbd 226.3 x 35.8 x 21.5
f.t. Owned by the Glasgow Shipping Company. The first wool ship out of
Geelong in 1871, left for London commanded by Captain Branscombe on 22
October and two days later, in a heavy fog, ran on to Harbinger Reef
about two kilometres south- east from Cape Wickham, King Island. She apparently
presented a magnificent picture as she lay on an even keel with all sail
set. The crew landed safely. The captain, anxious to recover his papers,
was later drowned when his boat capsized. The schooner Helen took the chief
officer to Melbourne. The steamers Tararua, Coorong, and Express,
arrived with stevedores and equipment to salvage the cargo of wool valued
@ She lies close in to shore on the north-east tip of the island, and on a calm day is a quite reasonable dive. The vessel is well flattened, but her beams are clearly seen. [LAH]
Loch Lomond. Schooner. Lost off the east coast of King Island, 1891.
Note: Not listed by Broxam and Nash.
Maria. Brig, 122 tons. Built at St. Peters Port, Guernsey, UK, 1825; reg. Melbourne, 32/1852. Lbd 70.3 x 19.4 x 12.8 ft. Captain Patching. Having sprung a leak from Portland Bay to Launceston, was beached on the New Year Islands off north-west King Island, 28 January 1853. The brig Sea Belle saw her signals of distress and went to her assistance. The master and some crew went to Launceston on board the cutter David Howie, which was in the vicinity, while five men were left behind to look after the stranded brig. Attempts to get local officials to finance the David Howie’s return were not forthcoming, and when she finally returned the castaways were in the desperate state. The Maria became a total wreck. [TS1],[LK]
Marion. Steamer. Discovered the abandoned barque Flying Arrow on King Island, 1855, and towed her to Port Phillip. [LK]
Marquis of Linlithgow. Cutter, 23 gross. # 95995. Built Geelong by her owner-master Alexander Cunningham, 1891; registered at Melbourne as the Earl of Hopetoun, 2/1892. She was renamed to honour the elevation of the former Governor-General of Australia in 1902, but the owner had not informed Customs. Encountered a gale while working east of King Island and was forced to seek shelter under Councillor (Sea Elephant) Island; dragged all three anchors and went onto the rocks, wrecked, 12 November 1902. Three crew landed safely; taken to Launceston by the steamer Yambacoona.
Martha & Lavinia. Schooner, 58 tons. # 32261. Built at Port Sorell, 1866; reg. Launceston 6/1866, Melbourne 22/1867. Lbd 66.4 x 19.8 x 7.9 ft. Master-owner Captain John Reid. Bound from Tasmania to Adelaide with a cargo of potatoes, wrecked on a reef ten kilometres south of Cape Wickham, King Island, near a point now bearing her name, 17 September 1871. Crew reached the shore safely; taken to Cape Wickham by hunters, where a fire attracted the attention of the schooner Helen (see also loss of Ocean Bride), sheltering under New Year Island, and they were taken on to Tasmania.The Martha & Lavinia broke up about three months after going ashore. [TS1] [LK]
Mary Ann. Schooner, 52 tons. # 41453. Built at the Williams River,
NSW, 1841: reg. Melbourne 21/1853. Lbd 53.8 x 16.0 x 8.2 ft. Master-owner
Captain Matthew Absom. Sailed with timber from Corner Inlet, Victoria,
for Melbourne on 18 May 1868 with captain and four crew but failed to arrive.
After she was several weeks overdue the Victorian Government sent its SS
Pharos to conduct a search but returned without success. The
Pharos had not visited King Island as it was considered to be too far off
the vessel’s course, but public opinion was not satisfied and the Pharos
was sent of to investigate again, and there found the missing schooner’s
crew safe and well at New Years Island. In heavy weather, she had been
blown well south of her intended course, sprang a leak, and finally foundered
fifteen miles north-east off Cape Wickham, 28 May 1868. The schooner Dove
and returned to New Years Islands.
[TS1],[LK - 42 tons, abandoned off Disappointment Bay],[LPA - 116 tons]
Maypo. Brig, 174 tons. Built at Whitehaven, UK, 1829; reg. Melbourne,
157/1854. Lbd 84.4 x 21.8 x 13.4 ft. Captain John Wise. Out of Melbourne
for Calcutta, wrecked on the north-west coast of King Island, 28 May 1855,
in parallel circumstances to the ill-fated Whistler lost two hours earlier,
near what is now known as Whitler Point. The brig broke up rapidly and
the master, second officer and two of the crew were drowned, however twenty-four
survivors, including the captain’s wife, eventually met up with the crew
from the Whistler which had been lost only two hours later. The two parties
remained together until being rescued by the steamer Corio despatched from
Loney [LK] refers to this vessel as the Maypole.
Maypole. See Maypo.
Melbourne. Steamer. Involved in the search for the missing brigantine Southern Cross, King Island, 1920. [LK]
Minnamurra. Fishing boat. See Bernadette, lost off King Island, 1964.
Netherby. Wooden ship, 944 tons. # 20745. Built at Sunderland, 1858; reg. Liverpool 97/1860, in the name of James Baines & Co.(Black Ball Line). Lbd 176 x 33 x 22 ft. Captain Owen Owens. From London to Brisbane carrying a crew of 50 and 452 passengers, she was 120 days out when without warning, struck on the east coast of King Island, 14 July 1866. All reached the shore using a boat hauled back and forth along a rope fastened from the ship to a rock on the beach. Surprisingly, considering the previous cost of lives on this inhospitable coast, not one life was lost indeed, two were gained when a female passenger gave birth to twins soon after landing. A camp was set up using tents made from the ship’ sails and rough shelters built from boughs of trees. On the second day after the wreck, a child was born. Food was strickly rationed. After five days a party reached Cape Wickham lighthouse. The lighthouse whaleboat was equipped and set off for the Victorian coast where the wreck was reported. The Government steamers Victoria and Pharos were sent to pick up the survivors, who were housed at the Exhibition Building while an appeal was opened to assist them reach their destinations. Most of them had been brought out under the Queensland Government’s system of assisted emigration, but many elected to remain in Victoria. The schooner Lady Don was sent to recover the salvage, but she collided with the pilot schooner at Port Phillip Heads and had to return. The cutter Ben Bolt was then sent. The loss of the Netherby was, however, not to be without loss of life. During salvage operations a heavy bar of iron slipped from the slings and passed through a boat containing six men. Three men struggled ashore but the others were never seen again. “The water was tinged with blood and it was thought they had been torn to pieces by sharks”. [LK],[LM],[NH],[ASW6],[TS1],[CWR],[LV],[LAH]
Neva. Convict transport, barque, 331 tons. Built at Hull, England, 1813;
reg. London. Lbd 104-4 x 27-1 x 6-5 ft. Captain Peck. Wrecked on Navarino
Reef off the west coast of King Island, 14 May 1835. From Cork to Sydney
with 150 women convicts, 9 voluntary emigrants and 45 children, beside
the officers and crew, she struck with such violence that the prison doors
burst open, allowing the convicts to swarm on deck. Boats were launched
but they were soon swamped or battered to pieces, drowning dozens of convicts
and members of the crew. Many of the terror-stricken convicts still on
board were clinging to the ship when a huge wave seized the ship and dumped
it into deep water, where it quickly went to pieces and sank. Some
of the crew and a few of the convicts drifted ashore several miles from
the scene of the wreck. The fifteen who survived existed on the food and
supplies washed ashore for about a fortnight before meeting up with the
crew of the cutter Tartar, which had been wrecked on another part of the
island about the same time. Although some doubt exists as to the number
on board the Neva, it appears that 218 lost their lives.
Ocean Bride. Brig, 261 tons. # 53974. Built at Franklin, Maine, USA, 1855; reg. Melbourne 21/1864. Lbd 108.0 x 26.6 x 11.3 ft. Captain Murdoch. Having cleared Port Phillip Heads for Port Adelaide, encountered westerly gales which impeded her progress to the extent that after fourteen days she was still in Bass Strait, so headed for the New Years Islands to shelter; here it was found that the brig had sprung a leak, so was put on shore southern end of Phoques Bay, King Island, 9 July 1871. Crew walked to Cape Wickham where they were taken off by the schooner Helen which landed them at Port Fairy, then to Melbourne by SS Rob Roy. [TS1],[LK],[ASR],[LV]
Ocean Maid. Auxiliary motor cray fishing vessel, LFB No. 513 (VTG), 18 tons. Built 1959. Lbd 35.0 x 14.0 x 6.5 ft. Skipper-owner Peter Stephens. Left Grassy, King Island, on 23 September 1976, for her home port of Currie on the other side of the island but failed to arrive. Bodies of the two crew found at Stokes Point. They had apparently built a makeshift raft and fired flares before the vessel sank.Apart from some gear, no trace of the vessel was found and the cause of her loss was a complete mystery. [TS2],[LK]
Omagh. Barque of 351/326 tons. # 35508. Built at Bathurst, New Brunswick
in 1856; reg. Port Adelaide 6/1857. Lbd 120.0 x 26.2 x 16.0 ft. Captain
Jenkins. Newcastle to Port Adelaide with coal, struck uncharted rocks off
Bold Head, King Island, 26 August 1868. The overloaded barque sank
rapidly. Master and his crew of twelve escaped on the boats and landed
safely on King Island; picked up by the barque India, taken to Geelong.
Broxam and Nash state:
The loss of a barque Oonah at Sea Elephant Bay in 1891, reported in Echoes of the Past, and other sources copying that reference, appear to be confused accounts of the loss of the Omagh.
Oonah. Barque. Built 1888. Lbd 290.3 x 35.8 x 13.2 ft. Lost in Sea Elephant
Bay, King Island, 1891. [LK],[LV]
See also Broxam and Nash comment, under barque Omagh.
Ottawa. Schooner. Captain Anthon. Last to sight the missing schooner
Sarah Barr, off Kind Island, 1868.
Pearl. Auxiliary fishing ketch, 20/17 tons. # 71835. Built at Pyrmont, Sydney, 1875; reg. Hobart 11/1877. Lbd 48.0 x 12.5 x 5.6 ft. Originally a steamship of 20/13, and later 26/21 grt/net, the Pearl had been imported to Tasmania in 1878 by the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company. Eventually her steam engine was removed and she spent several years as a ketch before being fitted wth an engine. Master-owner John M. Burgess. Cables parted when sheltering in a gale; wrecked on Yellow Rock Beach, New Year Islands off King Island, Tasmania, 9 June 1929. [TS2],[LK]
Peerless. Ketch, 37 tons. # 73520. Built at Torquay, River Mersey, Tasmania, 1876; launched as the Manuka, reg. Launceston 14/1876. Lbd 56.5 x 16.2 x 6.8 ft. Captain Thomas Holyman. Missed stays, wrecked on rocks, after discharging building materials for the lighthouse under construction at Currie Harbour, King Island, 27 September 1878. Crew saved, arriving at Circular Head on board the schooner Trusty. [TS1],[LK],[RW]
Pharos. Victorian Government schooner.
In 1866, involved in rescue - see ship Netherby, lost King Island,1866. [LK]
In 1867, under Captain Gill, involved in rescue - see brig Europa, Kind Island, 1867. [TS1],[LK]
In 1868, searched unsuccessfully for the missing schooner Sarah Barr, western Bass Strait.
In 1880, searched for the lost barque John Leslie Griffiths near King Island, without success. [TS1]
Platypus. HMAS. Involved in the search for the missing brigantine Southern
Cross, and schooner Amelia J, Bass Strait, 1920. [LK]
Rebecca. Barque, 400 tons. Captain McTaggart. Bound from Batavia to Melbourne, went ashore on a sand bank off King Island, 28 August 1843. Twelve of the crew with two passengers, one a woman, reached the shore in one of the boats but another boat which was to follow with the mate and six of the crew swamped, the carpenter, steward and a seaman being drowned. Three weeks later Captain McTaggart returned to the wreck and picked up the men who had been left in charge of the wreck, together with about twelve tons of cargo. A party was sent to repair the vessel, which was only slightly damaged; on 25 April 1844, when the work was nearly completed, she was blown off the sand bank with the workmen on board. Several days later she was sighted in Bass Strait by the ship Ganges, which was on a voyage from Portsmouth to Sydney. Under jury masts with signals of distress flying, she headed for Twofold Bay and made port with the assistance of Captain Cork of the schooner Comet. [LK],[AS1],[LV]
Rhonda Lee. Motor fishing vessel, 28/18 tons. # 374513. Built Portland, Victoria, 1959; reg. Port Adelaide 20/1977. Lbd 12.83 x 4.44 x 1.6 metres. Skuipper-owner Lawrence John Alexander. Declared a constructive total loss having run onto a reef at full speed wjen leaving Currie, King Island, 24 May 1993. [TS2]
Rio. Wooded barquentine, 312/289 tons. # 83207. Built at Hansport, Nova
Scotia, 1881; reg. Hobart 19/1914. Lbd 129 x 3 0.6 x I 1. 5 ft. On a
voyage from Sydney to Adelaide, with timber, went ashore about two kilometres
south of Lavinia Point, King Island, 30 July 1915. Crew saved. [LK],[#LH
- three-masted schooner, 3l7 tons],[LV],[TS2],[LAH]
~ A solitary mast rises from sea just metres from beach, and looks very much like a tree trunk, which is exactly what it was.
Rob Roy. Steamer. Involved in rescue - see brig Ocean Bride, King Island, 1871.
Royal Charlie. Schooner. Involved in salvage of crago from the ship
British Admiral, King Island, 1874. [LK]
Saguenay. Ketch. Ashore during a storm, New Year Island, off King Island, 21 April 1934. Four of crew of five lost their lives. Lost at the same time and place as ketch Star. [LK]
Sarah Barr. Schooner, 64 tons. # 49262. Built at the Manning River,
NSW, 1864; reg. Melbourne 28/1867. Lbd 76.2 x 17.9 x 6.9 ft. Master-owner
Love. Sailed from Melbourne for Leith, River Forth, Tasmania, on 28 January
1869 with sheep but failed to arrive. Captain Anthon of the schooner Ottawa
reported seeing her about four miles off the coast of King Island, apparently
heading for the Hunters to shelter, on 13 February, and the SS Pharos was
dispatched on an unsuccessful search of the Bass Straits Islands for her.
Then on 14 August Captain Thompson of the schooner Swallow reported that
he had found the wreck of a schooner of about 60 tons about a mile and
a half from Sea Elephant Rock in about ten fathoms with the topgallant
mast and portion of the topmast above water. In August 1869 wreckage
found at Curvier Bay, Hunters Island, was also considered to have come
from the missing Sarah Barr. [TS1],[LK]
On 12 July 1866, stranded at Trial Bay, NSW during a gale.
Savarus. Steel motor fishing trawler, LFB 113 (R97), 35 gross. # 332728. Built Melbourne 1967, reg. Hobart 10/1969. Lbd 50.25 x 15.85 x 7.25 ft. Skipper-owner Michael Dillon. Wrecked ashore near the entrance of the Ettrick River, south of Currie,King Island, 2 June 1976. The captain and one crew member drowned. The sole survivor clung to the top of the wheelhouse for five hours before being rescued. [LK],[TS2]
Saxon Onward. Trawler. Involved in rescue - see Vesna Star, lost off King Island, 29 August 1986. [TS2]
Sea Belle. (Seabell). Brig. Went to the assistance of the brig Maria off King Island, 1852. [LK],[TS1]
Sea Scout. Fishing boat. Involved in rescue - see trawler Castlereagh, lost off King Island, 1963. [TS2]
Shannon. Composite paddle steamer, 122/94 tons. # 74788. Built at Goolwa,
South Australia, 1877; reg. Port Adelaide. Lbd 109.4 x 18.3 x 6.3 ft. Originally
a well-known Murray River steamer. Captain H. Johnson. On her delivery
voyage to Melbourne after operating on the Tamar for a short while sprang
a leak in a gale when sixty miles north-east of King Island; beached
north of the Yellow Rock River, King Island, 9 September 1906.. All
crew later picked up by the steamer Yambacoona.
Sir Isaac Newton. Schooner. Involved in rescue - see schooner Arrow, lost on King Island, 1865. [LK]
Sisters. Cutter. Involved in rescue - see barque Isabella, 1840. [LK]
Snow Harrington. See Harrington. [LK - incorrectly named. ‘Snow’ refers to her type of rig]
Southern Cross. Barquentine, 256 tons. Built 1891 as a steam yacht. Captain Hodgman. Disappeared, possibly lost on King Island, perhaps near Reid Rocks, 1920 . Left Williamstown with a crew of 10 and 1000 cases of benzine for Hobart on 10 September 1920. Nothing more was heard of her until 23 September when wreckage was found on the coast north of Grassy River, King Island, and later identified as being from the barquentine., which appeared to have caught fire and foundered. Aircraft, and the steamers Melbourne, Koomeela, and Wybia, and HMAS Platypus and HMAS Swordsman searched Bass Strait. One aircraft went missing without trace, possibly near Flinders island, eastern Bass Strait. No trace of the Southern Cross having been found. She disappeared soon after the schooner Amelia J also disappeared, possibly in Bass Strait. [LK],[LV],[LAH]
Spray. Fishing boat. In July 1892 it was reported that the Victorian fishing boat Spray had been wrecked at New Years Island, off King Island, western Bass Stait, and the Victorian Government requested the Tasmanian Government to place moorings there. As no Tasmanian boats anchored there, no action was taken. [TS1]
Star. Ketch. Ashore during a storm, New Year Island, off King Island, 21 April 1934. Crew saved. Lost at the same time and place as ketch Saguenay. [LK]
Star. Steamer. Involved in rescuee - see schooner Garfield, lost King Island, 1898.
Subaron. Fishing boat. Involved in rescue - see trawler Castlereagh, lost off King Island, 1963. [TS2]
Swallow. Schooner. Captain Thompson. Found the wreck of a vessel near sea Elephant Rock, King Island, which may have been the missing schooner Sarah Barr, August 1868.
Swordsman. HMAS. Involved in the search for the missing brigantine Southern
Cross, and schooner Amelia J, Bass Strait, 1920. [LK]
Involved in rescue - see auxiliary ketch Irazu, lost western Bass Strait, 1931.
Involved in rescue - see auxiliary fishing ketch Warren Kerr, lost western Bass Strait, 1932. [TS2]
Tamborita. Fishing vessel. Built about 1956. Lbd 10.211 x 3.77 x 2.367 metres. Skipper-owner Neale Batey. Sank after being run into by the fishing vessel Discoverer, off Fitzmaurice Point, King Island, 5 December 1985.
Tararua. Steamer. Involved in salvage of the wool crago from the ship Loch Leven, King Island, 1871. [LK]
Tarcoola. Steamer. Involved in rescue - see ship Carnarvon Bay, King Island, 1910. [LK]
Tartar. Unregistered cutter, 18 tons. Built on the Tamar, Tasmania, 1834. Trader on the Tamar. Probably on a voyage from Launceston to the whaling station at Portland Bay, Victoria, was totally wrecked on the north-east coast of King Island, May 1835. All hands landed safely. Met up with survivors of the Neva, and the joint party was eventually rescued on 15 June by the schooner Sarah Ann, which was chartered by the Tartar’s owner Charles Friend to search for his missing cutter. [TS1],[LK],[AS1]
Trusty. Schooner. Involved in rescue - see ketch Peerless, lost King
Unique. Fishing ketch, approx 10 tons. Built Geelong, 1910; unregistered. Dragged her anchors and went ashore, wrecked, under New Years Island, off King Island, on 20 November 1910. Owner-crew J. Erickson and C. Larsen saved and later left for Melbourne on board the SS Wauchope. [TS2]
Unique. Yawl. Built in Geelong. Ashore in a gale off New Year Island,
King island, 20 November 1910. No lives lost. [LK]
Vesna Star. Steel motor fishing trawler, 180/149 tons. # 385638. Built Gillman, South Australia, 1981; reg. Port Adelaide 12/1981. Lbd 23.92 x 7.4 x 2.1 metres. Skipper Lorentz-tore Lorentzen. Wrecked when aground east of Councillor Island off Sea Elephant Bay, King Island, 29 August 1986. Seven crew saved by the trawler Saxon Onward and landed at Grassy. [TS2]
Victoria. Government steamer.
Involved in rescue - see ship Netherby, 1866. [LK]
Involved in rescue - see barque Anna, King Island 1873. [LK]
Victoria. Schooner. Involved in rescue - see barque Abeona, King Island,
Warren Kerr. Auxiliary fishing ketch, 25 ton. Unregistered. Driven from her moorings under the New Years Islands at the north-western end of King Island, 27 March 1932. After a rope became entangled around her propeller, she was blown ashore, eventually wrecked, at Yellow Rock Beach. SS Tambar took crew to Melbourne. [TS2],[LK - ashore in a gale]
Water Witch. Schooner, 134 tons. Built at Peterhead, UK, 1847; reg. London. Lbd 89.0 x 20.1 x 11.5 ft. Captain A. Forrest. Left Melbourne for Mauritius with a complement of twenty-six and a general cargo including specie valued at £20,000; ashore in a gale between the positions where the Brahmin and Cataraqui had been lost on the west coast, King Island, 17 September 1854. All hands landed safely, and two days later came across the castaways from the Brahmin. The only boat left to both parties was the damaged gig of the Brahmin; after being repaired, it set off with just two crew, the chief officer of the Water Witch and the carpenter of the Brahmin. Aided by favourable conditions, they arrived off Sandridge, (Port Melbourne), Victoria, after only fourteen hours. The paddle steamer Manchester and HMCS Victoria were sent to rescue the castaways and recover the specie. [TS1],[LK -SS Electra left soon after and rescued those still on the island],[LV]
Involved in rescue - see ship Carnarvon Bay, King Island, 1910. [LK]
Involved in rescue - see fishing ketch Unique, lost western Bass Strait, 1910. [TS2]
Probably same vessel as:
Wauchope. Wooden screw steamship, 269 tons. Built Sydney 1905; reg. Melbourne 1905. Lbd 127.5 x 25.5 x 9.2 ft. Owned by William Holyman & Son. Whilst anchored at the quarantine station, Portsea, port Phillip, destroyed by fire and several explosions, 1 August 1919.
Whistler. Full-rigged ‘clipper’ ship, 942 tons. Built at Newburyport,
Massachusetts, USA, 1853; owned by Bush & Wildes of Boston. Lbd 171x
36 x 22 ft. Arrived in Melbourne with 418 Chinese immigrants from Hong
Kong. Captain Charles Brown. Having then left Melbourne for Singapore,
ashore in a gale at Phoques Bay, north west King Island, and soon wrecked,
28 May 1855. Huge swas swamped one boat and overturned another, with two
drowned. The survivors met up with those from the Maypo wrecked nearby
about two hours later. The wrecks were observed by a passing vessel, which
reported them at Melbourne, and SS Corio was dispatched, returning with
all the survivors.[TS1],[LK],[LV]
The captain and seven of the crew set out for Melbourne in an open boat, arriving there on 14 June 1855. The steamer Corio was sent to rescue the captain’s wife, crew of twenty-eight and survivors from the Maypole wrecked only two hours earlier. [LK]
Wings of the Wind. Barque. Previously named Flying Arrow, renamed after she was salvaged and repaired, having gone ashore on King Island, 1855. [LK]
Wybia. Steamer. Involved in the search for the missing brigantine Southern
Cross, King Island, 1920. [LK]
Yambacoona. Steamer. Involved in rescue - see cutter Marquis of Linlithgow, lost King Island, 1902.
Yambacoona. Steamer. Involved in rescue - see paddle steamer Shannon. [TS2]
Unidentified. 1801. Wreckage found on the west coast of King Island in 1801 has never been identified, however it may have been from the missing whaler Elligood, 327 tons. [TS1]
Unidentified.1802. Wreck. On 18 March 1802, while at anchor between New Year Island and the King Island mainland, crew of the brig Harrington, Captain William Campbell, discovered a quantity of wreckage from what appeared to be a large vessel, at the southern end of the island. [TS1]
Unidentified.1883. The wreck of a vessel of about eighty feet length of keel was sighted about twenty miles north-east of Cape Wickham, King Island, on 5 July 1883 by Captain Hughes of the schooner Florence. It was never identified. [TS1]
Unidentified. 1950. Fishing vessel. Wrecked on a sand-bar about nine
miles from Currie on King Island, mid-July 1950. [TS2]