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.

30 January 2017

On this day–30th January 1870.

Wreck of the barque Camden near Brush Island south of Ulladulla.

September 4th  - Loaded with 40 tons of pig iron and 2909 deals she was pulled away from the wharves at London bound for Sydney under the command of Captain Sutton,
November 10th – She crossed the Equator, with moderate northerly trades.
December 11th - She passed the Cape of Good Hope.
December 22nd – She reached Victoria and passed Cape Otway. The voyage thus far had been uneventful.

January 30th  -  Reaching the southern New South Wales coast the wind conditions changed, she was now running with a fresh S,S,E breeze,  the night was hazy.

The man on forward watch reported land ahead,  and at almost the same time the chief officer called out land on the starboard bow.
Captain Sutton who was on deck, at once put the helm a-port to heave her out,  but finding he could not weather the land and conceiving there might,  from the appearance, be some passage inside, put helm a-starboard,  but she almost immediately struck the reef heavily. Within two hours she was full of water, and finding on sounding all round that there was no possibility of getting her off. 

The crew at daylight abandoned her
with the exception of the chief officer and two seamen, who were left to save as much of their clothing and personal effects as possible, while the rest of crew rowed one of her boats to the Clyde River for assistance.

The Camden was owned by W.H.Sawyer of Sydney who was a passenger by her. She was insured for 500 pounds in the Sydney Marine.  -  Camden a wooden barque of 253 tons, built at Nantes France in 1850,  measured 93.6in long  x 24.4in wide  x 13.5in feet deep.

Recovery of the cargo goes horribly wrong.
February 19th
  -  Four vessels were employed to recover much of the Camden cargo,  during the operation the area was hit with a strong southerly buster which saw the  Ketch Agnes and Henry (25 tons),  and the for-and-aft schooner Mary Cosgrove (31 tons) being forced ashore becoming total wrecks.
The 31 ton, 56 ft wooden schooner Flying Cloud slipped her anchor during the gale,  narrowly escaping disaster,  The Sylvanus made port prior to the "intense southerly buster".
All hands were saved.





24 January 2017

Jervis Bay - ship movements.

Below are small snippets of information that appeared in different newspapers illustrating how Jervis Bay was being utilised by the ships working along the NSW south coast.

Of particular interest are the whaling boats . The Othello,  Metaris, Waterwitch, Asmanby, Alladin, Sea Shell and Runnymede are all mentioned below, all hunting whales during this period….It’s little wonder the whales migrating along the coast were quickly depleted.






Native Names. Published 1906






23 January 2017

Founding of the Prince Patrick in Jervis Bay.


January 17th  1867.
The 110 ton Schooner Prince Patrick left Newcastle bound for Melbourne carrying a cargo of 176 tons of coal
under the command of Captain Henry Patching.  The wind blowing fresh from the north east, the vessel made good time down the coast the north east wind continued.

19th January.
During the day the wind turned around to the southward blowing strong, the schooner encountered a very heavy sea.

20th January.
The sea continued to rise and during this time she shipped a sea which shook her considerably and caused her to leak a little, but nothing very serious.

21st January.
The wind changed again to a very fresh North Easter.

22nd January -  10 p.m.
The wind swung around to a strong southerly accompanied by very heavy sea with thunder and lightning,  she was found to be leaking very badly,  both pumps were immediately set going,  they double reefed the main sail,  reefed the topsail, stowed the foresail and jib.

12 p.m. - the wind increased to a moderate gale and the sea was still running very high,  and after shortening sail the pumps were again manned and kept going.

23rd January - 4 a.m.
The pumps were found not to be sucking,  one of the pumps was drawn when it was found she had 2 feet 6 inches of water in her hold.  The vessel at this time about 60 miles southward of Jervis Bay,  with an offing of 30 miles, and captain Patching seeing no chance of repairing the leak,  deemed it prudent to bear up for Jervis Bay.

3 p.m. - The Prince Patrick arrived at Jervis Bay, the pumps being kept going,  despite the constant effort of the crew on the pumps it was realised the vessel could not be kept afloat and she was beached in Montague Bay on a sandy bottom at low water.  The pumps were then sounded, when it was found she had 4ft of water.


25th January - 10am. Captain Patching and crew left the schooner and proceeded in the ships boat to Cape St George, where they arrived at 1 p.m. and remained for the next few days.


28th January. It was decided they should start out for Sydney in the small boat,  this was going to be cramped and perilous journey with 7 people on board,  the wind was blowing light from the southward.

4 p.m. - It fell calm and the sky looked very threatening,  Captain Patching took shelter in Shoalhaven.

29th January  - 5.am  They continued their journey towards Sydney,  It began to rain very heavy with strong lightning and thunder,  in consequence of which they put into Wollongong at 3 p.m.

30th - January. The manager of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company,  Mr. Hart,  kindly gave them passage to Sydney in the steamer Kembla.


Steamer Kembla.


The Prince Patrick was seventeen years old at the time of the founding and insured for the sum of 800 pounds. 
Captain Patching was joint owner of the vessel and estimated her value at 1100 pounds.

Before abandoning the schooner,  the instruments,  along with the greater portion of the crew's clothing were saved.

Captain Patching expressed his thanks to Mr.. J. Lee, lighthouse keeper at Cape St George,  and Mr. Hart, of Wollongong,  for their kindness to himself and his crew.

March 1867.
Local Jervis Bay identity and businessman Mr. Dent purchased the abandoned wreck of the Prince Partrick
for 25 pounds.   
After a few days work,  Mr. Dent has succeeded in repairing the damage temporarily,  and the vessel is now waiting a favourable wind to run up to Sydney to be placed in good repair.   The cargo of coal will be an additional profit to Mr. Dent, who's enterprising spirit is deserving of every success.

"This speculation ought to be a wrinkle to the Insurance Companies in not so readily selling their interest without
due and sufficient enquiry and survey. This is another reason proving the necessity of the electric wire along the coast so that in case of a wreck,  the insurance companies would at once start their representatives to examine and
report on any case in which their interest was concerned."


20 January 2017

Auxiliary Schooner Maclaren King..

New Guinea crew for the schooner Maclaren King, built at Huskisson in 1923 for Papua New Guinea for the Anglican Mission.
A small local built schooner with quite a story to tell.  Many of the fine vessels built at Huskisson have gone on to become part of the rich and exciting maritime history of this country,  the Maclaren King’s story is one of service and close encounters…
462-MacLaren-KingaOn the banks of Currambene Creek just before the launch.
The 'Maclaren King' at anchor in the fiords of Tufi, pictured looking down from the side of the fiord. A Papun canoe is alongside. The photograph was taken whilst 'exploring, looking for a new site for a station'
State Library of South Australia.OH 456/1

Work of Mission Schooner.

Captain F. C. Renneis, master of the auxiliary schooner Maclaren King, which carries mails and stores to Anglican mission stations on the north-east coast of Papua, arrived In Sydney by the Macdhul yesterday.

Captain Rennels has combined the duties of master and engineer on the Maclaren King for 11 years. His crew is composed of two half-castes and six natives. The Maclaren King's traverse, which contains many reefs still uncharted, is frequently hazardous during the hurricane season-from December to March. The schooner has grounded twice, on uncharted reefs.

On one occasion, the Maclaren King saved the lives of seven natives. Their boat had capsized in a river, and they had been swept four miles out to sea. The natives, Captain Rennels said, had been alternately floating and treading water for 13 hours before they were picked up.

Captain Rennels is accompanied by his wife, who was engaged in mission work for several years, and his four-year-old daughter, Betsy.


BISHOP'S ESCAPE. Maclaren King bombed by Japanese April 30.-1942.
While rerurnnig to the mission schooner, Maclaren King recently, after visiting outlying districts, an 'Anglican Bishop of New Guinea,  bishop Strong, was machine-gunned by a Japanese 'plane. Although he was not hit, his brief case and prayer book were riddled by bullets. The Bishop,  was approaching the schooner in a small launch when a seaplane flew low overhead.  It aimed a bomb at the schooner, but missed. it then machine-gunned the native cew who had jumped overboard. The seaplane dropped two more bombs, but again missed the schooner.  Then, however, it raked the boat with machine-gun fire. All the natives escaped Injury,  meanwhile the Bishop had turned his launch towards the shore and had just reached the beach when he and the native crew of the launch again were attacked by the seaplane.  Racing into the bush they flung themselves down to escape the machine gunning.  Eventually the plane flew off,  but the Bishop and his natives remained hidden in the bush all day for fear the machine would return.  That night the Bishop took the schooner out of the harbour and saw no more of the Japanese. The Bishop said his missions would carry on their work what ever happened.  All the men and women workers would remain at their posts. They could not desert the natives at the first sign of danger.  The missions were performing magnificent work in calming and steadying the natives in threatened areas.

Continue reading about the Maclaren King and her many adventures.

19 January 2017

Rose of Australia

January 1874
143 years ago the wooden Brig “Rose of Australia”  ran aground at Wreck Bay NSW.
The vessels scattered remains in shallow reef area on west side of St Georges Head. A wooden brig, 262 tons gross, 30.14m length, built at Gateshead, County of Durham, UK in 1862. Register of British Shipping, Newcastle, NSW, folio 7 of 1864, Official No. 45153. Wrecked when it ran ashore during a fog on a voyage from Melbourne to Sydney on 22 January 1874. No lives were lost.
No further details are known at this time.



16 January 2017

The role of the Light House Keeper.



One of the many important rolls of the Jervis Bay Lighthouse Keepers was the daily reporting of ship movements along the coast.

The keepers of lighthouses all along the coast would keep a careful vigil over the sea looking for passing vessels.  Once a vessel was sighted details of the vessel including the name, type and any distingushing features would be recorded, this information was then passed onto the Department of Navigation by wire telegraph.

The reports were advertised in the Sydney newspapers under a column titled “Shipping Movements.”.

Before direct ship to shore radio communication,  this was the only way the authorities and relatives had of knowing where a vessel was at any particular time.

When vessels were overdue,  it came as a great relief to the relatives, loved ones,  owners and merchants
to read the name of a vessel in the shipping movements column.

Speculative reporting.
Concerns were often raised by speculative reports like the one below which appeared in Newspapers across the country.
They would speak of the loss of a ship and all on board,  many times without any evidence to back up their story other than a vessel being late.  In this case wreckage was found off Botany and concerns for the ketch Arab were raised.


In 1907 The story above and many like it appeared in the morning papers.
This would have undoubtably have many interested parties concerned and fearing the worse. Fortunately in this case the news was found to be wrong.

Point_Perpendicular_Lighthouse_1917Jervis Bay Lighthouse 1914

”The welcome news was flashed over the telegraph wires from the Jervis Bay lighthouse keeper that at 8.am
the ketch Arab was observed safe,  and bound south.  This news came as great relief as fears were held for the safety of the Arab as she was known to be heading south in foul weather and nothing had been heard of her for some time”.

It has to be remembered these ketches were very small vessels by todays standards, carrying  redimentary safety equipment and no means of communication with other vessels or the shore other than flags and flares..

The mystery remained. To which vessel did the wreckage belong?.
The news that the Arab was safe created even more speculation as to which vessel the wreckage might have come from. The Department of Navigation could throw no light on the matter,  as so far no vessel is reported missing.

Captain Snoor of the steamer Allowrie had seen the wreckage and alerted the authorities,  he stated “ that when strain was put upon the wreckage it came away quite freely,  indicating that it is not attached to a vessels hull.”

Captain Newton, Superintendent of the Navigation Department, ordered, the pilot steamer Captain Cook to proceed to  the scene, and the vessel left at 3 p.m.  steaming south against a big sea, under Captain Sweet's command.  The wreckage was sighted, a boat lowered,  and a line, made fast to the submerged mast.  The Captain Cook then towed the wreckage out of the track of shipping towards Botany Bay, where it is expected it would drift ashore and  might possibly be identified.


Pilot Steamer Captain Cook.

Below are a few examples of the type of simple notices in Sydney newspapers that would mean so much to waiting friends and businesses.






imageAnother headline which had many people concerned for the safety of the ketch Arab.

In 1902 she had a lucky escape from disaster.
The ketch Arab was a well known small coasting ketch of 87 tons, she had been in the timber trade since 1898 and did regular trips between Sydney and south coast ports.  On one occasion she left Bawley Point with a full cargo of timber destined for Sydney and ran into a tremendous blow off Jervis Bay, with the wind and mountainous sea behind her she sped along the coast weathering severe squalls and rain, she handled the condition well throughout the night.  As the new day began the conditions became much worse, by this time she was abreast of Port Hacking  -  “ The little ketch was buffeted about by the violent elements in such a manner that at one time tears for her safety were entertained.” – the buffeting continued. – “Suddenly, without any warning, a tremendous sea broke over the bows, completely swamping the vessel those on board state that the mountainous sea was at least 10ft. above the rails fore and aft, and that the ketch was for a few seconds almost totally submerged.  The galley and other buildings on the after port of the deck were struck with such violence that they were reduced to atoms, and a large portion of the deck fittings was carried away, the cabin was completely flooded and damages of a more or less serious nature were suffered in other directions.”

She limped into Sydney harbour a sad and sorry sight and all on board were glad to be safely at anchor off Moore’s wharf.

Ketch - a two-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sailing boat with a mizzenmast stepped forward of the rudder and smaller than its foremast.

Example of a ketch from around this time period.


14 January 2017

East Coast Low hits Jervis Bay

Callala Beach 1974.
My cousin Wayne Hadfied  just sent me this image of Callala Beach showing the damage to the beach after the massive swell that was generated by an east coast low in 1974 slammed into Jervis Bay.
Some of the houses along the water front at Callala were very lucky not to be washed into the sea, I spoke to John Hatton recently about the swell and he was at Callala with local residents and people of the bay and surrounds filling sand bags trying to form a barrier to hold back the swell and stop further damage.

The once grass and scrub sand hill I use to play on when we were children was now gone,  replaced by a 5 meter straight drop to the beach…
Continue reading about this and other east coast lows that have caused massive damage and loss of life in our area.



13 January 2017

Falls Creek Bridge

1512-Falls-Creek-Bridge---aJanuary marks the anniversary of the construction of the wooden tressel bridge over Falls Creek in 1865, making the journey on the south coast road safer and more convenient.
Continue Reading.

11 January 2017

On this day 84 years ago

Today marks the anniversary when Air Commodore Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, accompanied by Captain P. G. Taylor (co-pilot and navigator), Mr. S. E. Nelson (secretary of the New Zealand and New Plymouth Aero Clubs), Mr. J. Stannage (wireless operator), and Mr. J. Percival,  took off in the Southern Cross from Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa. ”Smithy” his crew completed the 1400 mile trip in 14 hours and 10 minutes achieving the first commercial Trans-Tasman flight.
imageREF: http://www.greateasternflyin.com/docs/GHDHS_Kingsford%20Smith%20DL%20Program_PRINT%20LOCAL.pdf
REF: http://library.kiama.nsw.gov.au/index.php/southern-cross-flight