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.

20 April 2015

When luck is on your side.

“Wreck Bay”,  The name itself was enough of a warning to seafarers about the dangers of straying to close to this part of the coast.  It was a place to be treated  with vigilance and respect,  but despite it’s well known reputation, ships still came to grief on it’s shore.

Close Encounters. 
The history of the area has many examples of near misses, where decisions laced with years of experience, wrapped in luck saved the ship from disaster.

One such ship was the four-masted barque.
The Drumalis.
Saturday 16 June 1900

The Drumalis found itself running into the full force of a gale that was raging along the coast, and despite their best efforts the Drumalis found itself drifting in the strong currents in close proximity to the land.

First reports had her ashore at Wreck Bay.
Sunday 17th.
News spread fast amongst the community of Huskisson and surrounds about a large ship that had gone on shore at the northern end of Wreck Bay.

Through glasses a vessel could plainly be seen,  but could not be ascertained whether she was riding at anchor, or had become beached.
The Allowrie,  southward bound,  was seen to make for the vessel,  and later on she continued on her journey,  reaching Ulladulla shortly before noon.

It then transpired that the ship in Wreck Bay was the Drumalis,  of some 3000 tons burthern,  a large four masted barque,  finding she was getting dangerously close to shore,  dropped both anchors and paid out the full length of cable.

image Image Public Domain. S.S. Allowrie.

Fortunately the anchors held,  Captain Walker,  of the Allowrie,  seeing the dangerous position of the Drumalis,  offered to tow her out to sea and put her in proper course,  but Captain A.J. Whelan of the Drumalis didn’t think the Allowrie would be capable of taking her out, so declined the offer.  The Allowrie thereupon agreed to bring a wire from the master of the Drumalis  to the ships agents in Sydney,  asking that a tug be sent down to take the ship in tow.
Sunday afternoon a Union Liner also offered assistance,  but as Captain Whelan was expecting a tug the offer was declined.

The message was sent from Ulladulla immediately after the Allowrie reached the port,  and in accordance, there was a tug at once dispatched,  and early on Wednesday,  the steam-tug Champion arrived and the Drumalis was towed from her perilous position.

The Drumalis was on a voyage from Table Bay to Newcastle, 1400lb of ballast..
The captain reported after the incident the Drumalis behaved splendidly during the tempest, and no damage to any serious extent was sustained.


Her Luck runs out

DRUMALIS A TOTAL LOSS. The barque Drumalis which went ashore at Cape Sable recently, while bound from Dunkirk to New York to load for Melbourne or Sydney. now lies about three miles from the shore with the forward   part submerged. Her bottom is badly damaged,   and she is considered a total loss, being expected to break up and disappear as soon as there is heavy weather.

Barque_Manchester example of a  barque public domain.

Public domain image of a 4 masted barque of that time, similar to the Drumalis 

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