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.

29 March 2018

The Schooner Result – 1890's

The story of the Schooner Result and it's connection with the Jervis Bay region starts with a South Coast Pioneer, Mr Alexander Mathie. JP., A native of Whitburne, Linlithgow, Scotland he arrived in Australia with his parents in 1857 being 10 years of age. The settled in the Shoalhaven District and engaged in farming and dairying pursuits with success.

He was described as a man of ' dogged perseverance" and soon became possessed of considerable lands in the vicinity of St Georges Basin. The local timber industry had stagnated when Mr Mathie recognising the value of local timber for shipbuilding and the ever growing Sydney market started a sawmill and engaged in the timber trade.  With dogged determination he built his business into a financial success..

Slipping ships was an expensive undertaking, having to take ships to Sydney, costs could amount to 3 pounds per day, so Mathie set about and built his own large modern slipway on the western side of the Basin under the lee of Tallyan Point in close proximity to Tallyan wharf where the schooner usually took in her deck cargo.


By 1987 he had bought the Schooner Result from New Zealand. The Result was the first vessel to slip on his newly established slipway. Winched clear of the water for maintenance, the schooner was used to ship timber from his Basin mill to Sydney.

Alexander Mathie  died at Tomerong on June 26 from complications from a apoplectic attack.

The fore and aft Schooner Result.
The Result was a huge centre board kauri built boat, 56 tons, without a hold of any kind with only fore and aft cabins below deck for the crew.  The Result was built for shallow waters, havinga  keel that could be raised, her shallow depth and lightweight kauri construction suited the shallow Basin and the ever-changing Sussex Inlet bar.  The timber was loaded onto the deck of the vessel.  The Result would on average make fortnightly trips between ports, she was a very busy ship which required regular maintenance, which was carried out on the Mathie slips.

1891 - She was pulled from the water for some time and completely overhauled.  On her completion a gathering of local people attended the relaunch, with an el fresco supper provided by the ladies.  The blocks were pulled away and the vessel gracefully slipped into the Basin amidst the cheers of the gathering, guests were welcomed aboard and taken on a cruise across the Basin.

By 1891 the Result had shipped over 3 million feet of timber between the Basin and Sydney, mainly shipping ironbark, turpentine, black butt, woolly bark and spotted gum. She was well suited to the trade.  The run to Sydney in favourable conditions taking around 24 hours.  She kept 10 men continuously employed.

1892 The Result had been operating without serious incident for 6 years but was now sitting on the bottom of the sea near the entrance to Sussex Inlet.


While trying to enter the bar on a moonlit night around 9 p.m. she struck rocks and was holed, hauling clear of the rocks she quickly sank in deep water without loss of life.
Six weeks later she was refloated and taken 7 miles up the river to her moorings inside St Georges Basin waiting to be hauled up onto the slip for repairs. The accident was first blamed on Mr Mathie who was on board at the time and had suggested to the mate, who was steering, to take a shortcut, which in the dusk appeared to be smooth water but turned out to be a flat reef.
Later the reports were changed with no blame being on the channel, or on the part of any person on board, but because in "wearing" the schooner, she refused to come around fast enough, and was carried upon the rocks by the tide. It was expected the repairs would take three months.

The following year the Result made her final voyage.
1893 September 30 The vessel was on a return trip in ballast from Sydney to St Georges Basin.

12.30p.m The schooner left Sydney under a fresh N.E wind the course steered being S.S.W.

7.45 p.m She passed Kiama the same day where the weather became thick, with a nasty south – east-swell developing, accompanied by a squall from the east.
8 p.m The captain relieved the man at the wheel, altered course for half an hour to the south and then brought her out to S.S.W.

10.30 p.m. The captain sighted land and found that the schooner was in the bight at Abrahams Bosum near Jervis Bay.  He at once called all hands up, and three times they attempted to stay the vessel. She missed each time, however, and the anchor was then dropped, It did not hold, and a minute later the schooner grounded, and ultimately became a total wreck.

The crew affected a landing without incident, taking all their belongings. They remained by the wreck until Sunday and succeeded in securing a quantity of gear from the vessel. The Result was uninsured.
The crew were returned to Sydney by the Steamer Coomonderry.



Marine enquiry.
Barnard Sholbert, the only witness called, stated that he was the mate of the Result when she went ashore. He had been in her for 13 months, and the last nine months under the present master,  The crew consisted of three all told, the captain, himself and the cook. Passing Kiama the vessel was well off the land, and the green light could hardly be seen. The only reason he could advance to account for the loss of the vessel was the conduct of the captain. The vessel was, he thought, steered on the correct course. He did not know there was any whisky onboard until abreast of Kiama when the captain called told him. After going below, the captain called him up to shorten the sail. The vessel was running wing and wing, and he went forward, took in the square sail, lowered the centreboard and shortened the canvas. When he went to the wind the land was on the weather bow,  She was then put about,  and came close inshore, the captain endeavoured to put her about again,  She missed stays three times, and an anchor and about 30 fathoms of chain let go. Thye anchor, however, would not hold and the vessel drove onto the beach, that was on Saturday night.  The sea was then too heavy
for them to do anything and the vessel became a total wreck on Tuesday. The captain seemed to do all he could to prevent the vessel going ashore. Witnesses had never known her to miss stays before. The captain had been drinking whisky at the time of the wreck, but witnesses could not say he was drunk. The captain had a bottle of whisky on his bunk which the cook said they had better throw overboard.

The captain was not present at this hearing.


The Marine Board's Decision.
The Marine Board this afternoon concluded its inquiry into the loss of the fore-and-aft schooner Result, which went ashore and was wrecked off the southern coast on September 30. The board found that the wreck was caused by Walter Graham, the master, in carelessly navigating his vessel by allowing her to run into the Shoalhaven Bight in place of steering her towards her destination along the coast. Captain Graham was, therefore, cited to appear before the board the following day to show cause why his certificate should not be dealt with.

Meaningstay. To tack, to bring the ship's head up to the wind for going about; hence to miss stays, is to fail in the attempt to go about.
Centreboard schooner - A centreboard or centerboard (US) is a retractable keel which pivots out of a slot in the hull of a sailboat
Wearing - To turn the ship away from the wind in order to change tacks downwind. All of the rigging turns and rubs during the maneuver, causing the gear to wear.

Two other ships of note have come to grief in this location.
T.S.S Merimbula -  Continue reading.
S.S Plutus –
Continue reading.

As mentioned above, the steamer Commonderry had a colourful exciting life – Continue Reading


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