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.

1 May 2018

Schooner Zoe–Jervis Bay

1875 The launch of the Schooner Zoe.

The new topsail schooner Zoe was built by George Dent Junior at his shipbuilding yards on the banks of Currambene Creek Huskisson on October 30, 1875, to the order of Mr. George Hill, of Surrey Hills, Sydney. She was intended for the timber trade and was described as a "faithfully-built vessel" the whole of the timber used in her construction being well seasoned and the best that could be obtained.
She was 73 tons register. Her keel was 75 feet; beam 21 feet and depth of hold, 7 feet. She was described as having " fine lines".

87-George-Dent-IIIGeorge Dent Junior.

A Dreadful voyage.
While on a voyage from Normanton to Port Jackson in November she fell into a series of heavy gales, with frequent spells of light airs and calm. The vessel frequently sought shelter under the different islands on the way down, putting into Cooktown, Mackay, Cape Moreton and Port Stephens through stress of weather. On one occasion whilst lying under Rocky Island, the vessel dragged her anchor and drifted within a few yards off the rocks.
Fearing she would go ashore the crew abandoned her and took shelter at the lighthouse keeper's residence for two days. The crew returned on board and in moderating weather managed to get the vessel clear of the danger.

If the crew thought this would be the last incident on this difficult journey they were mistaken.
While being forced to seek shelter from deteriorating conditions in the Pioneer River, the Zoe was driven ashore and remained hard and fast for several days. She was subsequently floated without damage and resumed her voyage only to be caught in bad weather which necessitated anchoring under Cape Morton.  The Zoe lost two anchors, with some chain in the bad weather and quite a number of sails were split or carried away.

1889 The tragic loss of the Zoe's cook.
Saturday 27, .
While anchored at Yamba the cook a Mr. W.Wells was reported missing. A fisherman named Sheather reported seeing attempting to swim to the schooner on a Monday morning. The swimmer was showing signs of distress and Sheather tried to rescue him, but the tide was too strong to render any assistance to the man, who afterward sank.

Tuesday 30.
The body of William Wells, the late cook of the schooner Zoe was found washed ashore on the North Beach of Iluka.

Zoe Foundered. 1895.
News arrived that the German Schooner Zoe had foundered, this was later disproven.


Loss of the Schooner Zoe. March 1896

The first news to arrive in Sydney of the loss of the German Schooner Zoe came from the captain of the steamer Kurrara.  The Zoe operated out of Sydney before being sold to Messrs. Hernsheim and Company and used for the inter-island trade.

The Zoe started her fateful voyage from New Britain for a cruise through the German Possessions. All went well until she made for Bouganville on January, 17 when she ran onto a reef on the south-east side of the island.  The crew managed to escape in the boats,  but vessel and cargo of copra and trade were a total loss.

Continue reading about the Dent's.


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