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 February 2015

Through fire and storm.

Ref: The Newcastle Sun December 1933.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.    Vincent Van Gogh


Badly burnt, and forced to abandon their blazing launch off Bowen Island, two men had a nightmare journey through seven miles of rough seas to Jervis Bay, in a waterlogged dinghy, their only “oars” a piece of board  and a stick.
Only a strong south easterly wind prevented their tiny craft from being swept through the heads to sea.

1933 – Two men Collins and Lane set out from Huskisson on a 30ft launch valued at 450 pounds which had been used by visitors for several months.
They developed engine trouble outside the heads about 10.30 p.m., they decided to return to Jervis Bay.
Near Bowen Island the engine backfired, and the craft immediately burst into flames, trying to extinguish the fire both men were badly burnt.
    The flames extended rapidly and it was apparent that nothing could save the launch, so the men decided to take to the dinghy.
     Desperately the men hauled it aboard the blazing launch, but they were not able to completely empty it before they were forced to scramble into it, for the launch was now blazing from stem to stern.
Their oars a piece of board and a stick, they tried to steer for the old naval college buildings at Jervis Bay, but lost their bearings when the lights went out at midnight.
    Using their improvised oars to keep the dinghy with the wind and current, the men reached the beach at Lambs Point, three miles north of the college after 3 a.m. exhausted by their terrible experiences.
     At lambs point their burns were treated, and later they were driven to Jervis Bay.  Later they left for Sydney for further treatment.
     It is believed the launch has floundered.

 Ref: The Newcastle Sun December 1933

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