HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

9 May 2014

The Wooden Steamer “Hillmeads” – Built at Jervis Bay.

Headline News.

All headlines the Wooden Steamer Hillsmead could do without. But it highlights the dangers associated with shipping in those days. Many ships that plied along the Australian coast had similar situations to bear and some far worse..

365-SS-Hillmeads-at-Bateman's-Bay Built in Currambeen Creek, Jervis Bay 1907 at the Joseph Dent shipyards the Hillsmeads was a 206 ton,twin screwed wooden Steamer, she served a long, hard working life for the people, and for industry.

Her early life was spent trading goods and passengers between Sydney and the south coast ports of Moruya, Bawleys Head and Batemans Bay on behalf of the Numba Shipping Company.

She suffered damage on one trip after hitting rocks of Beacroft Peninsula and had to be beached in Ulladulla to stop her sinking and secure repairs, causing much inconvenience.

C. R. Gotts took picture national lib of aust She was later sold to be used in the Bass Straight timber trade by W.A. Pilbeam.
On one voyage, Hillsmeads suffered a bad leak during a severe storm.
At the time she was carrying 70.000 super feet of timber for discharge at Melbourne.
Sunday night she sought shelter at Hunter’s Island off the north coast of Tasmania.
She continued the voyage to Melbourne early on Tuesday morning. Soon afterwards serious leaks were noticed on the starboard side of the steamer. Three pumps were put into operation, but the water slowly gained. Two emergency pumps were then rigged, the master took the wheel, and all hands, including the mate and the cook, worked feverishly to stem the water. Progress was being made when dirt obstruction caused the pumps to become clogged. The height of water in the engine-room increased until the water was almost touching the bottom of the boiler. The lifeboat was prepared for launching, and the crew packed their kits. Bailing with a human chain of buckets kept the vessel afloat, two of the pumps were working fitfully.
Pic Ref: C.R.Gotts National Library of Australia.

image-of-hillsmead”Abandon Ship”
A call no sailor wants to hear.
The desperate and tired crew was almost ready to abandon ship when the pilot steamer was sighted off Port Phillip Heads. Messages were exchanged and the Hillmeads steamed slowly up the bay, and was met by the tug Eagle off the Gellibrand light.
The tug towed the water-logged steamer to a berth at South Wharf, where the obstruction on the vessel's pumps was removed after several hours' work.

With the assistance of a fire brigade syphon pump, the water was removed, and by late  afternoon nearly all the water had been pumped out.
It is believed that faults in the joints of the hull were the reason for the leakage.

Her Fate.
She had been laid up at Melbourne since 1928. She had been stripped at her berth at Rosny Pier, Williamstown, she was towed down the bay by the tug Plover. She will be blown up and sunk in "the graveyard of ships,"

story trove 1a story trove 1b story trove 1 another story sydney morning herald 1928

Articles about the Hillsmead.  

Joe Dent and crew – another fascinating image.

Trove -
http://www.wrecksite.eu/imgBrowser.aspx?42997 - - for image = hillmeads_scan1

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