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.

14 October 2014

Wreck of the wooden Barque Juniper


It was after the Juniper wreck that the area became known as "Wreck Bay"

September 1st 1850
The Juniper 340 tons, under the command of Captain Stevenson was bound from Oporto to Sydney with a full cargo of wines in casks and cases.

August 27th –
She rounded Cape Pillar and from that time till the 1st September had very thick weather and variable winds.September 1st 10pm –
There was heavy squalls from the south east and east, and the ship labouring very much.
10.15pm breakers were reported ahead, the ship was put about, but before she could gather away she struck heavily abaft. The helm was then put up and the ship ran ashore to save lives and property.
As reported in the Daily Southern Cross 11th Oct 1850

The sea was running very high.
Mr John S. account.This account of the last voyage of the Juniper is from a sailor on board at the time she was wrecked, know as
Mr John S. Since then he has resided near Kiama where he has a little farm.

They sighted land about midnight and immediately put the ship about but in half and hour afterwards she struck on the sand bank about three quarters of a miles to the northward of where the Walter Hood was wrecked.
The waves dashed over her with great force.
sometimes to the height of twenty feet and forced her gradually towards the the beach.
By 5am she had settled down in the sand to a depth of about fourteen feet. It being then daylight, one of the sailors, named James Hamilton swam ashore. Another seaman attempted to do the same with the long line and would have drowned but for the assistance of Hamilton, who at the risk of his own life, again dived into the waves and bought his shipmate ashore. Communications being thus established with the beach, they managed to not only save all those on board, but sub sequentially to land most of the cargo. This was done by having a hawser from the shore made fast to the vessel and sliding the goods along the hawser.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald  16th September 1870  - Trove

Much effort wasted.
Strange to say the the schooner on board of which the cargo thus saved was shipped for Sydney foundered off Black Head, a little to the south head of Kiama, The lives of her crew were saved, but all the cargo went to the bottom in her.

The remains of the Juniper can still be seen, and am told that some of her cargo is still in her, but it is so completely buried beneath the sand as to be beyond recovery.

The final resting place of the Juniper is in close proximity to the wrecks of the Hive and the Blackbird wrecked in 1835

Hawser - (Nautical Term) a large heavy rope - 62B49-hawser

Abaft - (Nautical Terms) closer to the stern than to another place on a vessel: with the wind abaft.
Capture 1

Usually a 3 masted vessel the fore and aft masts square rigged and the mizzen mast fore and aft rigged.

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