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.

21 September 2015

Jervis Bay -The beach was strewn with dead cattle

The Argus Thursday 18 June 1908,
An attempt to swim some starving Victorian cattle ashore at Jervis Bay ended disastrously, nearly 50 animals being drowned. They were brought by the steamer Wyrallah. The beach was strewn with the carcases of the animals, which were no doubt too weak to reach the shore alive.

image S.S.Wyrallah – Lakes Entrance Victoria
Ref: Image Public Domain.
Museum Victoria Collections.

145 feet on the keel, with a beam of 22 feet, depth of hold 13ft. 6in., and is registered at about 400 tons


The loss of livestock on voyages between ports wasn’t an uncommon occurrence,  there are many reports of terrible losses of livestock associated in early coastal travel.
The Wyrallah incident was a little unusual in as much as the cattle drowned while trying to get them ashore.

218 cattle die on the S.S Anerley
Prior to the Wyrallah in June 1900 there had been a horrible incident where over 200 cattle had been killed on the steamer Anerley when she ran into a hurricane on a trip between Newcastle to Durban,  they had either been dashed about the ship, suffocated when battered down the holds, or washed overboard.  The Anerley laboured so bad her rails rolled completely underwater at times.
The crew were locked in a battle for two days not only trying to save the bullocks but the ship itself.
Just off Jervis Bay the storm abated and the crew took to throwing the carcases overboard.
Only 65 bullocks were left alive, but some were so badly injured they were destroyed before reaching Melbourne.


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