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 June 2014

Young Australian 1864

The Young Australian built at Huskisson was a three masted schooner and the first to be built in a colonial ship yard. By their labour and enterprise produced a vessel of which they may well be proud.

APRIL 8 1864.

A new vessel called the Young Australian,  arrived in Sydney from Jervis Bay a few days since and discharged her cargo at Cuthbert’s Wharf. As a specimen of colonial shipbuilding and as evidence of energy and enterprise on the part of her owner and builder, she deserves especial notice and attention.
The Young Endeavour is rigged as a three masted schooner,  and is about 200 tons burthen.
She was built at Jervis Bay principally by the personal labour of her owner, Mr Dent, and his sons  under the direction of Mr Woods.   She is probably one of the strongest and most carefully built vessels ever launched.  She is copper-bolt.  Her keel is 20 feet in length,  and consists of one piece of timber.  The keelson is of similar dimensions,  and these two being bolted together in the strongest manner form a solid three feet in depth.
The Young Australian was built in the spot where the timber grew – at Currambene Creek, Jervis Bay; and she bought to Sydney the finest cargo of hardwood ever seen in this port.   It has been purchased by Mr Cuthbert for shipbuilding purposes,  is now lying on his wharf,  and is well worthy of inspection.
Some of the pieces are seventy feet long and are straight as arrows.  They have all been squared by the axe,  and are as true and smooth as to have been turned out by machinery.
The cargo consists of 65,000 cubic feet,  and we understand that the Young Australian is about to be dispatched for a still larger quantity.  Her capacity will allow her to take 80,000 feet,  and as there is an almost inexhaustable quantity of the finest timber in the word at Jervis Bay,  it is probable that a considerable trade with Sydney and other ports will spring up.
The Young Australian has been built by Mr Dent expressly for this trade – and we cannot doubt that his expectations will be fully realised.
Mr Dent and his sons are,  we believe natives of this city or it’s neighbourhood;  and they will certainly have by their labour and enterprise produced a vessel of which they may well be proud.

A dark future lay ahead.

sb2After leaving Jervis Bay these mighty hand crafted vessels headed for many destinations and were used for many different enterprises.

Little did anyone know the beautiful Young Australian would soon be involved in the notorious trade of “Blackbirding” in the South Pacific

Left is an example of a three masted schooner built at Huskisson by the Dents - The Huddersfield.

Blackbirding – violence and brutality

Seizure_of_blackbirder_DaphneBlackbirding as it was called involved  persuading and coercing of islanders as cheap labour to work in the sugar cane fields of Queensland.
The trade proved so lucrative that violence and brutality were used to recruit reluctant natives
In 1868, while the Young Australian was on a recruiting voyage to supply the cotton plantations of Fiji, three natives of the New Hebrides, who had been kidnapped, were shot and murdered on board, after causing a disturbance. Following this quelling of the disturbance  230 men and six women were sold in Levuka for 1200 pounds. Some time later news of the shootings  leaked out and the captain Albert Hovell and one of his men were tried in Sydney and found guilty of murder.
The death sentence was imposed on the two men, but later remitted to life imprisonment.
Later escaping justice on a technicality on appeal and left Australia to live in the islands in exile.
Blackbirding began in Australia with Robert Towns who imported the first of the South Sea Islanders and ended following an Act of Parliament in 1904.

Secret name changes, corrupt goings on.
The Young Australian was one of the vessels that changed its identity for the Fijian slave trade. At his trial, the captain, Albert Ross Hovell, revealed that it was the custom to clear from Sydney under the name Young Australian with a small general  cargo. At Levuka, the name would be changed to Young Australia and the vessel would be re-registered and provided with new papers  by the British Consul while engaged in the 'blackbirding' trade to Fiji.

May god have mercy on our souls.
On its last arrival in Sydney on 14 May 1877, just 11 days before it was lost at Curdies Inlet, it was still known as the Young Australian.
Wrecked 25 May 1877
While on a voyage from Maryborough, Qld to Adelaide it struck heavy weather off Cape Nelson.
Its fore main rigging was carried away causing the foremast to spring. The vessel nearly sank by the stern when carried aback by one squall, one of the crew threw a message in a bottle overboard to his sister to say they were lost and may God have mercy on their souls - it was later found on Warrnambool beach.
The schooner made for a break in the outer reef off Curdies River and went ashore there.
One of the crew William drowned while trying to get a line ashore. A line was eventually got ashore and the crew were cared for by local settlers. Police constables from Camperdown and Warrnambool guarded the wreck from "landsharks hovering about, waiting for an opportunity for plunder"

The wreck has never been found.

wreck site Manifest at the time.
70 hogsheads and some quarter casks of rum, 150 tons sugar
1864: registered in Sydney as Young Australian by 1867 registered as Young Australia 1874: John Fraser: Sydney 1875: A. Muir of Brisbane
1868: Capt. Hovell Captain W. Whitfield  - 7 crew.
Location - Curdie s Inlet, Peterborough South Australia.



No comments :

Post a Comment