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.

13 February 2018

Drama at sea, two barques collide and make for Jervis Bay.


Most ships at this time used oil lamps to indicate their position at night to other ships who may be in close proximity, but not always, and in this case the lack of lights nearly ended in disaster.

Tuesday 20, 1874 - The barque Naramissia from Newcastle bound for Melbourne was sailing 40 miles south of Cape St George, it was 3 am in the morning when without warning she was struck by the whaling barque, Sapphire.   The Sapphire carried no side lights and struck her with her flying jib-boom on her mizzen chains.  Five of the Naramissia's crew, thinking she was about to sink jumped on board the Sapphire leaving the master and three men onboard.  Fortunately, the ship remained afloat, the master took her into Jervis Bay where the Sapphire joined her the next day. The Naramissia stayed in Jervis Bay for four weeks wind bound, during which time they carried out repairs

The Sapphire lost one boat and spritsail yard. The Naramissia had her stanchions and gaff carried away, and her covering board and spritsail damaged.

1872 - The Sapphire had been to Jervis Bay before, she often hunted whales along the coast near the bay. In 1872 she put into the bay to recruit, She had been at sea for 10 months and had taken 25 tons of sperm oil.
1875 -  She put into Jervis Bay to try out 9 tons of whale oil. The total take of oil for the voyage was 21 tons.

1885 image
1885 Long hard dangerous months at sea with small rewards meant finding experience crew was becoming harder,  ship captains and owners were forced to take anyone who was willing to come aboard, most were scoundrels with no experience of working aboard a ship, this led to conflicts. 
In 1885 some of the newly recruited crew of the Sapphire, as was customery were paid some of their wages in advance, absconded,  and after a merry chase for four days were caught and
forced back aboard the boat by the police. They mutinied and refused to go to sea throwing essential equipment overboard in an attempt to stop the ship leaving port.  The police were called again arresting the two ringleaders removing them from the ship.  New equipment was loaded and the ship finally sailed.

Ref: https://stors.tas.gov.au/AUTAS001131820946

Meaning - mizzen-chains: Plates of iron bolted to a ship's sides abreast the mizzen-mast for securing the shrouds and backstays of that mast.


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