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.

15 October 2015

Through stress of weather

During my many hours of research into the relationship between the coasting vessels and Jervis Bay , the words “through stress of weather”  appear many times in reference to the ships from the great days of sail, right through until the time of steam that came into Jervis Bay seeking refuge.

This part of the coast was well known by ancient mariners for it’s quickly changing weather.

Very basic weather forecasting equipment meant many vessels could be caught in rapidly changing sea conditions,  the ocean could go from a pleasant calm state to mountainous seas in a matter of hours,  whipped by strong southerly gales, bought on by quickly moving and deepening east coast low pressure systems that frequently hit this part of the coast.
Below are just a few of the many references that can be found.
1864 – Steamer Balclutha.
Caught in mist and high seas, unsure as to where off the coast she was and shipping large quantities of water the Balcutha drifted dangerously close to the coast, when the mist cleared she found herself just off Cape St George, she was low on wood and not responding to her sails,  gathering everything on board that could be burnt, she waited all night,  in the morning she managed to use what wood she had to steam into Jervis Bay and set anchor.
1864 – The Steamer S.S.Hunter.
When the Balcutha entered the bay she saw the S.S. Hunter was also at anchor through stress of weather.
1874 – Barque Waterwitch.
Engaged in whaling operations, she put into Jervis Bay through stress of weather, she reports a long continuance of heavy weather.
1875 – Barque King Oscar and Schooner Malcome - both southward bound had to put into Jervis Bay through stress of weather.
1877 – A heavy gale and large seas saw the steamers Cheviot, Adele along with to unidentified Barques and a Schooner seek refuge inside the bay.
1883 - The City of Adelaide, from Sydney, was compelled by sheer stress of weather to put into Jervis Bay until the weather abated. Shortly after clearing Sydney Heads on Wednesday the vessel en countered a heavy gale with a tremendous south-cast sea, and reached Jervis Bay with difficulty on the evening of the 10th. The passengers presented an address to Captain M'Intosh, testifying the courage and skill he displayed in the trying circumstances in which he had been placed.


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