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19 March 2015

SS Brooklyn Wrecked Crookhaven Heads, crew safely landed.

With her bottom ripped open, the coasting steamer Brooklyn, owned by the Nowra and Jervis Bay Shipping Company, is a total wreck at the entrance to Crookhaven on the South coast.

A regular visitor to Jervis Bay,  on a calm night in December 1911.
The steamer became wedged fast on a shelf of rocks right in front of the Crookhaven lighthouse
The night was very dark,  with a thick haze over the land, which prevented the captain distinctly making the steering lights.
Later being sold at auction for 75 pounds and becoming a total wreck.
Crookhaven Heads Light c1908.jpg
Crookhaven Lighthouse, as it appeared in 1908 - a public domain image

She was wrecked near where the Duncan Dunbar was wrecked 42 years before.

imageFrom the Sydney Mail 27th Dec. 
As reported in numerous newspapers - December 1911.

“The entrance to Crookhaven Heads is always considered dangerous to navigation”.


Captain Bavestock.
We left Sydney at 10.35 on Friday morning 16th December. The weather was fine,  with a north-east wind,  which continued throughout the passage.   We made Crookhaven at half–past 9 at night,  and on entering we struck the outer reef.  The engines were promptly reversed,  and we kept going astern for three hours or more,  and could not get off.  I and the crew remained on board all night,  in preference to landing on the reef.  We landed at half past 8 in the morning.  A strong westerly gale was blowing.  I was in charge when the vessel struck,  and sent up the usual distress signals,  which were promptly answered by the pilot station men,  who stood by all night,  though they could do nothing,  as they could not get to us.

I have been eight months in command of the Brooklyn,  which was built not quite two years ago.  We had aboard fair cargo for Nowra and Jervis Bay,  and landed practically all except a little that washed overboard.  The steamer might come off,  provided the weather keeps as it is,  and we get the coal out or her.

"Yes.”  continued the captain,  ‘'There’s a chance of salvaging her.  She was a tip-top sea boat, I never had any trouble with her, thorourally seaworthy, well found and only lately out of dock.  There’s nothing more I can say.  I congratulate myself that nobody was lost.  That is why I didn’t want the men to go ashore till morning.  I ma quite satisfied with the promptitude of the pilot hands.  They did all they could,   but there was no need for bringing out the rocket apparatus.  We were in a position to get off any time during the night,  but thought it advisable not to attempt it”.


The crew of the vessel was hospitably assisted by Acting- Pilot Leverton and Mr. F. Hundt,  the officer in charge of the aborigines’ mission station.


“The sea was freshening from the south–east,  and as the steamer had a hole in her bottom,  and with some of the seams and joints given,  it appeared highly probably that she would become a total wreck,  especially with the making of a south-easterly on a rising tide”.

’'The hull is in several places submerged”


Built 1910 - Wooden coastal steamer – 77 tons gross – Engine 20hp – Length 81ft 2in, breath 21ft, 4in, debth 6ft, 7in.
Builder: David Drake at Balmain Sydney. Drake also built the SS Mokau that was wrecked at the entrance to Sussex Inlet and featured in a previous post – Continue Reading
Owner: Nowra and Jervis Bay Shipping Company.
10 people on board including the manager of the company Mr. J. W. Buckley.
Trade: Between Sydney and Jervis Bay.
Cargo: Value 1200 pounds, uninsured, General cargo including Christmas store goods, furniture, and supplies for Yawal mines and 40 tons of Newcastle Coal for the Nowra gasworks.



The pilot station as it appears today.

Today the old lighthouse stands in ruin, built in 1904, the original lantern was from the Cape St George Lighthouse decommissioned in 1898, and replaced with the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.

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