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.

10 April 2017

S.S. Easby.

1905 – Encountered a severe gale off Jervis Bay.

Monday 1st of September 1905 -  It was midnight before the well known coastal collier S.S Easby was ready to leave the Newcastle Port on one of her regular trips to Melbourne, under the command of Captain Prideaux, she was only three hours into her voyage  when she ran into a terrific gale that was sweeping the coast.

Tuesday 2nd - She arrived off Jervis Bay,  the gale had increased in ferocity blowing from the south-west the Easby was soon afterwards plunging in mountainous seas which threatened to engulf her. 
Showing the violence of the wind and the sea the Easby's engines were going at full speed,  so terribly did the vessel pitch that although she was deeply laden with coal,  her stern repeatedly rose high out of the sea causing the propeller to "race" with such violence that it seemed as if it would shake itself loose from the shaft,  but with all their power the vessel was not making more than two miles and hour headway.

The vessel was awash with immense bodies of water, coming right over the vessel, flooding the decks and doing severe damage.  At this time the Easby was burying herself in the sea and there was no opportunity of using any of the sails as the wind was too far ahead, the crew went about their duties at extreme risk of being washed overboard. The cabin skylight and companion were smashed and the hand steering wheel was carried away,  the cabin flooded  breaking the panels of one of the deck houses.  Several members of the crew who were attempting to cover up the broken skylight and prevent water from flooding the cabin were caught in the seas, and one of the men was badly injured about the legs.

The Easby eventually arrived severely battered at Melbourne and would require repairs before heading to sea again.

Captain Prideaux when asked about the voyage said.  "He had not experienced such a long continuance of heavy weather on the coast in five or six years.  It was a continual blow for three days,  and blowing very hard throughout.


S.S. Easby

Built 1873 - 1 x 2 cyl. compound engine, single shaft, 1 screw

Length: 76.4 m.; Owned by J. Paterson & E. Newbigin; Built at Richardson, Duck & Co. in 1873. Registered at Melbourne. Registration no. Melbourne 8/1879.  1,489 gross 969 net tons. Lbd: 250'7" x 32' x 21'4". (76.4 x 9.8 metres) Iron steamship, collier built by Richardson Duck Thornaby Stockton, England

Wrecked 1907.
On 06 April 1907, EASBY (Capt. Wallace) was on voyage from Davenport to Sydney with a cargo of potatoes, oats & general produce, when she was lost after running aground.

REF: http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?56964


1952 - 47 years later -  S.S. EASBY (2).  Adrift off Jervis Bay.

Easby 2


47 years after the original S.S.Easby was beaten and battered off Jervis Bay, S.S. Easby 11 found itself in a similar predicament. The worst fears were held for the missing ship and it's 43 crew, including 41 from Victoria,   nothing had been heard of the vessel and the coast was being lashed by severe gales.  Headlines like these had the families and employers praying for the safe return of their seamen..


The 3341 ton, coastal collier S.S. Easby loaded with 5200 tons of coal was on her way from Newcastle to Melbourne.    A steel single screw steamship , She was built at Walsh Island Sydney for the Australian Governments Commonwealth Line of steamers and named the Dinaga in 1920. She was then sold to Huddart Parker and Co, Melbourne in 1926 and renamed Colac,  She was renamed Easby when she was bought by James Patterson Pty. Ltd, in 1951.    Her master A.E. J. Caines of Williamstown was regarded as one of Australias finest captains.

Sunday 27th July – The Easby radioed for help after her steering broke down in the cyclone sweeping the coast.

Monday 28th – Nothing has been heard or seen of the Easby since the distress call.

Tuesday 29th .  The first sea and air search failed to find the collier which had called for assistance 90 miles off the coast.
The ocean going tug 'st Giles" failed to find the vessel.   Firefly's from Nowra searched 800 square miles before returning without finding any trace of the Collier.
The Navy Frigate Murchison was prepared for sea and could be deployed in 30 minutes if rescue work was needed.
Where was the Easby?  A larger aircraft , a Catalina, was organised to search for the missing vessel by James Peterson's manager Mr. L.M. Masterton. 

Wednesday 30th  - Naval Firefly aircraft from Nowra  used radar  equipment to locate the missing collier Easby.  The tug St Giles which had been sent out in search of the vessel was found to be 28 miles apart from the Easby, the St Giles proceeded to the Easby and took her in tow.

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Sea going rescue tug St Giles

1956 – The Easby was purchased by J.Manners & Co (Hong Kong) and renamed Clyde Breeze, she was eventually scrapped in 1959.
REF: http://www.flotilla-australia.com/jpaterson.htm

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