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7 April 2015

Wreck of the Steamer Tweed, built at Huskisson.

February 9th 1893 The Steamer Tweed ends her days on a north coast beach.
A wooden boat of 185 tons,  built by G.W. Hardman at Jervis Bay during the great maritime strike of 1890.
On her last voyage she was loaded with heavy railway material,  and was in command of Captain M.H.French,  with Captain J.H. Hunter,  as the first mate.   The Tweed which had 30 passengers aboard at the time,  had been unable to land her passengers at the old jetty.  There was a flood in the Richmond at the time.  The Tweed,  the Byron (which in later years foundered off Newcastle) also the the old Coraki, (which also came to grief on the Manning Bar) took shelter in Byron Bay.  The gale veered round to the north-east and the same night,  and then to due east.  The captains of the three steamers decided to clear out.  Unfortunately,  when the gale was at it’s height,  at about 4a.m., the Tweed’s rudder carried away,  and the little vessel was helpless. Captain French steamed for shore and beached his vessel on the sand.  In getting ashore,  Mr Connah injured his leg,  and captain French,  after spending 10 days endeavouring to refloat his charge,  received serious injuries when the purchase block broke,  part of it recoiling and striking him in the stomach.  This bought about his death on 27/2/95 at the age of 44 years.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, by the 13th February the Steamer had been abandoned.


As reported by the Hobart Mercury on the 15th February, the steamer was a total wreck.


 Survived six ship wrecks

“40 years of sea, embraced nearly every experience it had to offer”.
image Being a survivor of one shipwreck would have been a fortunate thing for any seafarer,  but to survive 6 shipwrecks must be a rare occurrence.
But that is what seaman Mr Coonah did….he was aboard the S.S.Tweed when it ran aground and related the details as described in the aforementioned story,    this was the sixth ship he had been on that had been wrecked,  did it deter him from continuing his precarious life at sea, “no”, he went on for many years after, until his death in his 81st year in Murwillumbah.
He was well remembered as a man of the sea in a time when the ocean was the only direct highway,  he was widely known to the older generation who esteemed him highly for his unswerving rectitude in life.

Born at Liverpool England in 1861,  at a very early age he ran away to sea in a clipper ship to follow in the footsteps of ye ancient mariners of England. Arriving in Australia at an early age, he entered the service of Messrs. B.B and G.W Nichol which traded to the Richmond river,  working his way to becoming one of their chief officers.

The other shipwrecks he survived.

1880 – S.S.Wanganui – wrecked on the Clarence River Bar – two lives lost.
1883 – S.S. Tambaroora – wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef.
1884 – S.S. Richmond – no details.
1885 – S.S. Lismore – ran aground and lost near Ballina.
1886 – S.S. Tweed – wrecked on the Tweed Bar.
1893 – S.S Tweed – as the story above, wrecked Byron Bay – built at Huskisson.

second-vessel-the-tweed...this-is-not-the-one-built-in-huskissonThis is a drawing of the S.S. Tweed wrecked on the Tweed Bar 1886 as it appeared in the Sydney Mail May 12 1888.

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