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.

29 September 2014

S.S Corangamite – 6 December 1886



1886 the SS. Corangamite designed specifically to meet the growing intercolonial passenger and cargo trade set off from Melbourne on a voyage to Sydney carrying 100 passengers and 40 crew.

Travelling along the the south coast near Wreck Bay she encountered dense fog.

Commanded by Captain Le Neveu, she is regarded as a beautiful ship fitted up with every appliance for the comfort of her passengers a steel screw steamer, 2420 tons gross, 90.92 m (300ft) length, built at Wallsend on Tyne, UK, 1885.

8.am December 6th - Her voyage came to an abrupt end when she ran aground onto the headland in the Wreck Bay region early in the morning.
Fortunately the sea conditions were calm and after the initial impact all haste was made to get her passengers to safety, most of her passengers were taken to Ulladulla by the ships boats to catch the first steamer thence to Sydney. Boarding another steamer the SS Kiama must have been a nervous process after the passengers recent experience The SS Kiama arrived in Sydney on the 8th December delayed through having in tow the disabled steamer Civility.
An exciting event filled trip for all concerned and one I'm sure they were glad to finish.


Allan C. Green collection. Watercolours of steamships. - Green, Allan C., 1878-1954, (artist.
Perilous Position

The SS Coramgamite was stuck firm, there were dangerous rocks under her amidships and one bump in getting her off may cause her to be smashed up, but there was hope she would be floated off.

6th December, Herald telegram  - The Corangamite was making water fast in her fore compartment raising concern.

8th December, All attempts to-day to get off the steamer Corangamite have failed.

10th December, We have been pumping for 1 hour without gaining, we shall pull at her this tide relying greatly on the second pump and the Eagles assistance.
The rescue party still had great hopes of refloating the Corangamite, with calm seas and two pumps and two tugs the Eagle and Stormcock working and the incoming tide expected at 7am on the 11th December.

Holding together splendidly.

Even in the calm seas she was striking heavily in the aft, but the ship was holding together splendidly no straining was shown on deck. As the rescue attempt was being organised various moveable objects were being removed from the vessel, a piano, marble baths, cabin fittings, compasses, lamps and other ships fitting.

S.S. Corangamite a total loss.
22nd December, Despite repeated attempt to refloat the vessel by the 22nd December in heavy seas the vessel broke up and became a total wreck.

The area where this once beautifully fitted out wreck lies is now known by the locals as “Corangamite”, the remains of the wreck lie in around 15 meters of water, not much is left of the wreck…ballast blocks can be found and are the only signs that it is the final resting place of a once magnificent vessel.

If you have any information regarding this wreck please contact the Museum.


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