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.

28 April 2015

Jervis Bay Snippet.


Evening News Thursday 2 1903

Seagoing tugs ventured up and down the coast looking for incoming vessels to tow into ports, it appears from the story below, the race to secure a tow became very competitive and dangerous.

It was reported in Sydney to-day that a some what exciting incident occurred off Jervis Bay on Tuesday afternoon,  between two well known tug-boats.  The boats involved are the Port Jackson, of Messrs, J and A Browns fleet, and the Advance,  one of the Messrs, Fenwick’s well known tugs.

It is understood that the tugs had been off the coast,  as usual,  looking for a tow,  and their quarry was the Italian ship Beecroft,  a wheat laden vessel from the Argentine for Sydney.

The two tug boats were both racing for the Beecroft – the Port Jackson on the starboard side,  and the Advance on the port side.  The former was about half a length off the Advance,   and looked as if her captain was going to have first say to the captain of the ship.
The Advance,  it is alleged,  then ported,  and came up under the ship’s stern,  to the starboard side,  and,  in doing so,  struck the Port Jackson a sliding blow on the port side,  cutting through an iron band into the hull,  and gliding forward carrying with her part of the band,  and buckling it somewhat,  The Advance it is further alleged,  ported just before,  thus accounting for the sliding blow and buckling of the band.  The Port Jackson was struck almost amidships,  and near the coal bunker. She then steered a bit seaward,  but afterwards straightened up,   and proceeded alongside the Beecroft,  and made terms with the captain.  The Port Jackson,  therefore,  got the tow.

Both tugs were eventually wrecked.

1908 - The Advance: The Tug Advance was involved in another collision of Catherine Hill Bay,  this time while she was engaged in trying to secure the tow for the 4 masted Barque the Iverna on Christmas Day 1908.  No explanation for the collision was forthcoming, other than it there was heavy fog at the time.  the collision resulted in the  Advance overturning,  the boiler exploded and she foundered,  despite the captain of the Iverna lowering boats, and an exhaustive search no crew were found,  the following morning the mate of the Advance floated onto shore and was rescued.

Follow this link to see a Youtube video of the wreck. – very interesting – video link

1910 - Port Jackson:   The Port Jackson went ashore 5 miles North of Nora Head and become a total wreck.  All hands reached shore safely.

If you would like to read more about the fascinating story of Tugs,  follow the link below. 

image Tugboats

by Randi Svensen, 2011.

Early steam tugs oiled the metaphorical wheels of trade by freeing sailing ships to make or leave port in unfavourable winds or by towing them between ports when there was insufficient wind. When oversea ships became powered, tugs assisted these large, unwieldy vessels to manoeuvre in ports, and also provided valuable salvage and fire-fighting services.

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