10 missing ships lost without trace.

Crow

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Regarding TSS Waratah, I’ve spent half a lifetime studying that ship and thankfully I’ve become acquainted with some prominent figures in her story. The most prolific has to be Dr. Emlyn Brown of NUMA, who has spent 40 years searching for the wreck. It was believed for many years that she was carrying a cargo of gold that had been transshipped from another liner on South Africa. Her loading plan still exists and there is a section clearly marked “bullion”; tantalizing indeed. Dr. Brown was able to determine through insurance records that this cargo was silver nitrate and not gold sadly. The gold shipment hadn’t been unloaded from the other ship that day and made it safely to England. Waratah did indeed disappear with all hands and barely any wreckage.

If anyone has any questions about Waratah, I’d be happy to answer them. She’s near and dear to me.

Regards,

Joe

Regarding TSS Waratah, I’ve spent half a lifetime studying that ship and thankfully I’ve become acquainted with some prominent figures in her story. The most prolific has to be Dr. Emlyn Brown of NUMA, who has spent 40 years searching for the wreck. It was believed for many years that she was carrying a cargo of gold that had been transshipped from another liner on South Africa. Her loading plan still exists and there is a section clearly marked “bullion”; tantalizing indeed. Dr. Brown was able to determine through insurance records that this cargo was silver nitrate and not gold sadly. The gold shipment hadn’t been unloaded from the other ship that day and made it safely to England. Waratah did indeed disappear with all hands and barely any wreckage.

If anyone has any questions about Waratah, I’d be happy to answer them. She’s near and dear to me.

Regards,

Joe
Gidday Amigo

Well You learn some thing every day! I did not know anything of gold silver monetary Value on her. except funds held by the ships purser? It is an intriguing case. I suspect she had a catastrophic ballast issues or center of balance shifted in a storm causing her capsize and sink with all hands. I imagine the inquiry was whitewash out of convenience?

Crow
 

Speedbird

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Gidday Amigo

Well You learn some thing every day! I did not know anything of gold silver monetary Value on her. except funds held by the ships purser? It is an intriguing case. I suspect she had a catastrophic ballast issues or center of balance shifted in a storm causing her capsize and sink with all hands. I imagine the inquiry was whitewash out of convenience?

Crow
The silver nitrate probably wouldn’t be economical to recover in my opinion. Had it been 300 tons of gold, I’d be out there diving myself! Ha!

I’ve read the letters between the shipbuilder, Barclay, Curle & Co. and the owner, Lund. They become increasingly contentious concerning her stability as time goes on. Waratah had a near-sister named Geelong. Geelong was a successful design and Lund wanted another Geelong with an extra deck. It does seem that BC&Co. felt it would be too heavy and expressed this to Lund, however Lund almost insisted they proceed and build the thing anyway. Once finished, everyone tried to save face and blame everyone else, even though she did pass her stability test (which may have been pencil whipped). Waratah appears to have been built on the cheap, as reports did emerge that she suffered damage on her maiden voyage. This damage wouldn’t have been something a well-built ship wouldn’t have suffered. The top-heavy and “tender” reports, along with construction quality comments do start pouring in almost immediately. So where there is smoke, there is fire.

In short, Waratah’s build quality could have been much better, and her stability was in question even before she was completed.

Experts in mathematics and ship construction have looked at her design and final load plan (which thankfully survives), and concluded she was fairly dangerous if not loaded exactly correctly. Naval architect AJ Burns concluded that she was a compromised design that could have easily capsized in 7 or 8 seconds in a cross-sea. We do know she went down in a storm which was producing these conditions.

It has also been suggested that she may have been carrying some 300 tons of extra coal on the spar deck, very high up in the ship. This in itself could have negated her stability no matter how she was loaded.

What we do know is that she was lost extremely quickly since there was very little wreckage found. I feel, having read about every word ever published on her, that she rolled in the storm that night and went down immediately. An eyewitness on shore claims to have seen a large ship roll and sink like a stone that night, which does seem to lend credence to the theory.

The inquiry was a bit of a mess because no one really wanted to accept the blame of course. The builder should have refused the design, the owner shouldn’t have pushed ahead with construction, and the government shouldn’t have passed her at the stability test. No one, including the government authorities, had any interest in pushing the point because everyone was at fault. The loss just made everyone look silly.


I can go into MUCH more detail on any of these points if anyone is interested.
 

Speedbird

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Great research and story.....mucho thanks.....more info is good!
No problem.

I’m not sure if this ship has been mentioned yet, but the Bark General Grant which went down in the Auckland Islands in 1866 is indeed still missing and is indeed full of gold, 2500oz confirmed. The search for her was highly publicized in the 70s and 80s but nothing has ever been found. It’s known she was carrying gold owned by her passengers returning from the Australian gold fields. It’s also possible she was carrying a larger gold shipment as well but this has not been confirmed. She was carrying 9 tons of zinc spelter as per the manifest, but some claim this could be a cover for gold. It is possible but with these wrecks, anything heavy always gets corrupted into a “gold shipment”. The 2500+ ounces confirmed would be a nice haul in itself.
 

Crow

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No problem.

I’m not sure if this ship has been mentioned yet, but the Bark General Grant which went down in the Auckland Islands in 1866 is indeed still missing and is indeed full of gold, 2500oz confirmed. The search for her was highly publicized in the 70s and 80s but nothing has ever been found. It’s known she was carrying gold owned by her passengers returning from the Australian gold fields. It’s also possible she was carrying a larger gold shipment as well but this has not been confirmed. She was carrying 9 tons of zinc spelter as per the manifest, but some claim this could be a cover for gold. It is possible but with these wrecks, anything heavy always gets corrupted into a “gold shipment”. The 2500+ ounces confirmed would be a nice haul in itself.
Gidday Amigos

The Story of the American ship General grant is a story of almost impossible survival against the odds. Here is radio story of the General grant.

General Grant

GeneralGrant.jpg


No more dangerous terrifying foreboding place to have a shipwreck at night. Worse still in a storm and the General Grant smashed into a sea cave and broke apart.

Wreck_of_the_ship_General_Grant_at_the_Auckland_Islands.jpg


There are no places to land 20 miles each way along the coast all sheer cliffs and sea caves big enough to swallow ships.

1633659678432.jpg


To make things worse you only get about 5 days a year calm weather as the west coast of the island is subject the roaring forties.

The conformed gold would be about 4375000,00 USD. About 4.3 million. Perhaps not quite enough to justify a proper search and recovery of the wreck even if you could find it. Down there its the weather that defeats people.

Crow
 
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KANACKI

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Hola amigos

The was a small in 1853 a packet ship sailing from Melbourne to Sydney called the "Prince of Wales" Which hull was sighted capsized off Wilson,s promontory. Cannon fire was heard at night by ironic the convicts building the lighthouse. Another vessel came across the upturned hull of the Prince of wales the next day.

She was carrying 5700 ounces of gold Melbourne to Sydney. It appeared no survivors or any trace of the shipwreck or gold has ever been found. Nearly 9.6 million in today's money. Problem is no will ever search for that vessel because one we do not know how long she floated for before sinking? And 2 Australian State and Federal laws prohibit shipwreck salvage under the historic shipwreck act.

Kanacki
 

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Thanks to every one of you fine gentlemen who contributed stories to this thread,I truly enjoyed them all and will read rhem again for the pure enjoyment.All bodies if water demand respect of those who would navigate them.Here we have big rivers,the Arkansas,White,and the Mighty Mississippi.Strong currents,shifting channels and sandbars,snags of big trees just under the surface of the water,caving banks.Disrespect those at your own peril.All of you who navigate the waters of this world take care.
 

Crow

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Gidday amigos

There is another ship that was wrecked in the same area in 1853. Monumental city was wrecked with the loss of 37 lives. out of 91 passengers and crew. The ship was from Boston. She had only been in Australian waters 1 month.

A navigation error and unknown submerged rock. The ship was carrying over 13000 ounces of gold worth about 9 million today. In 1919 there was search for wreck and the strong room was located but nothing was found in it. The vessel was broken in two in 1853 and many of contents of ship spilled out on the sea floor. Was the gold in strong boxes taken or dropped out of the ship before she broke up.

Here is a Faded newspaper illustration of the ship below.

monumental city 1853.jpg


Here is some of remains of the ships propeller and propeller shaft. below.

473 (4)_Monumental City U-W_003.JPG


Aboard the Monumental City, Captain Adams and his Chief Officer had sailed the Gippsland coast just once – on their way to Melbourne a week earlier – and their charts were not the latest available. As evening approached on 14 May, between them (each blamed the other) they mistakenly thought the approaching headland was Cape Howe, rather than Ram Head 50 kilometers to its west. Each named by Captain Cook, they are not to be confused.Once abeam Ram Head, the Monumental City changed course and steered NNE towards certain destruction.

It was alleged that Adams and his Chief were warned by passengers who knew the waters that they were too close to land, but sure of their position, they ignored the warnings. They would deny having received them and also deny that the Chief Officer, when earlier bearing off to the East after seeing surf, had said “that’s the way to do it, get into white water and then get out again.”

The American steamer Monumental City was one of the first screw steamers to cross the Pacific, attracted by the Victorian gold rush. It had previously been involved in the Californian gold rush carrying passengers from Nicaragua to San Francisco as they crossed the American continent from Europe and the east coast of America. The surviving engine parts and propellor are significant as they represent a transition phase from wooden hulled steamships to iron screw steamships, and a phase of rapid development in marine steam engine technology. It is also rare as at the time most American steamships were paddle steamers. It had a short career on the Australian coast, being wrecked on Tullaberga Island after only one month in service. Thirty seven lives were lost in the disaster, of whom 35 were passengers including its owner, and it led to the building of the Gabo Island lighthouse.

35 Passengers and 2 seamen Cabin Passengers who died: J.M. McKenzie Wilson Urie Capt Whyte Amelia Lee J.C Jackson D Lawrence. Steerage Passengers Who died: Mr O'Gorman Offord B. Ellingrod Johnson C H Robando(sp?) Mr Niblock Mrs Niblock child Niblock R Shephard C Hopcroft (sp.?) Evans (female) Stokes Thomson Riley Smith Jezzey Robinson Jackson Miles Wilkinson Light Wilson white Brown Black Scott Tiley

The sea floor where the wreck lies is detailed below.

he remains of the 'Monumental city' lie in a series of sandy gullies between large boulders and outcrops of flat limestone reef. there is very little remaining of the hull which considering the environmental conditions and the fact that it was wood is not surprising. No small artifacts were seen and considering the depredations of professional salvage divers, abalone divers and sports divers this is again not surprising.

the propeller and shaft are approximately 50m due S of the SE corner of Tullaberga Island. The 4 bladed cast iron propellers are 11m of the propeller shaft, including the stern bush, shaft couplings and plummer block, were cleared of kelp and photographed; the prop shaft is complete as far as the main bearing. The prop shaft lies in 5m of water pointing towards 40 magnetic. Near the main bearing end of the shaft (3m @240 mag) there is an almost complete cylinder with its associated steam trunnion, exhaust trunnion, piston rod, tail rod and air pumps. Throughout this area are the remains of the vessel's oscillating engines.

To the NW of the cylinder (11.6m @ 310 mag) a handing knee, iron ballast, an iron plate and hawse pipe were seen. To the NE of the hanging knee (20m @ 070 mag) one of the anchors, probably a stream anchor, with a fluke missing was seen with a chain leading off to the NE. (Dimensions are: stream-shank 2.6m, bill to bill 1.1m, palm 0.5 by 0.25m) Further to the NE (23m @ 050 mag) two more anchors were visible in around 1m of water one is a large bower anchor and the second is probably a kedge anchor. Both are missing the stock and the bower anchor is attached by two shackles to a length of chain. (Dimensions are: Bower-shank 3.2m, bill to bill 2.0m, palm 0.6 by 0.65m. Kedge-shank 2.0m bill to bill 1.6m, palm 0.4 by 0.5m) Throughout the gullies iron sections were visible and occasionally small broken copper alloy artifacts and some fragments of white porcelain were seen. The whole area is covered with thick kelp often obscuring the wreck remains. Sea bottom is flat limestone reef interspersed with sandy gullies. Wreck remains are in 1-5m of water and visibility was between 5-10m. Sea conditions open to SW through to SE with large swell and surge. Even on the best day there is a 1m swell on this site.

It is quite possible more derbies from the ship after it broke in two drifted with pieces of the wooden hull braking apart still contents like heavy strong boxes falling into sandy gullies where over time sand has covered them.


Crow
 
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Crow

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Gidday Crashbandicoot

That is some thing Kanacki has down to a fine art amigo.

He when not travailing the world he is snuggled up on his remote island on and off for that last 40 years 111 sq km paradise. He is unofficially lives virtually like a king by proxy. There are 5 tribal chiefs on the island controlling a population of about 6600 that all rely on Kanacki to keep business going as he has finger in all of them. He is the deal breaker on the island. Each chief try to curry favor and even the governor of island. they and chief of police play pool and drinking a cold beer together with Kanacki once a week. When traveling around the world be brings back gifts for the entire population.. Every christmas he dresses as Santa sits on the back of a pickup gives out 6600 christmas care packs assembled by the parish churches on the island.

His house is always open having a big family 8 children growing up and their partners 12-13 grandchildren, Gee I lost count. Driving with him in a pickup along one road that circles the island by the time you drive from one end to the other he has full vehicle of people plants and animal walking alongside the road. In appreciation of been given a lift he will have tuna, lobster, crab all manner of fish and fresh fruits and vegetables given to him. A lot of bartering goes on. Everything runs on island time very "manyarna.

attachment.php


And right now his two vessels a schooner and a brig has been sitting on the two slipway of the islands until covid 19 settles down and they can respectively return to Indonesia and Thailand respectively. 3 of his 4 sons are skippers that run that those respective business now.

Kanacki is retired like me no longer needing to work.... but old habits die hard even for a pair or trio of old adventurers. I know he secretly itching for another adventure.:dontknow:

Crow

Gidday amigos

There is another ship that was wrecked in the same area in 1853. Monumental city was wrecked with the loss of 37 lives. out of 91 passengers and crew. The ship was from Boston. She had only been in Australian waters 1 month.

A navigation error and unknown submerged rock. The ship was carrying over 13000 ounces of gold worth about 9 million today. In 1919 there was search for wreck and the strong room was located but nothing was found in it. The vessel was broken in two in 1853 and many of contents of ship spilled out on the sea floor. Was the gold in strong boxes taken or dropped out of the ship before she broke up.

Here is a Faded newspaper illustration of the ship below.

View attachment 1986758

Here is some of remains of the ships propeller and propeller shaft. below.

View attachment 1986759

Aboard the Monumental City, Captain Adams and his Chief Officer had sailed the Gippsland coast just once – on their way to Melbourne a week earlier – and their charts were not the latest available. As evening approached on 14 May, between them (each blamed the other) they mistakenly thought the approaching headland was Cape Howe, rather than Ram Head 50 kilometers to its west. Each named by Captain Cook, they are not to be confused.Once abeam Ram Head, the Monumental City changed course and steered NNE towards certain destruction.

It was alleged that Adams and his Chief were warned by passengers who knew the waters that they were too close to land, but sure of their position, they ignored the warnings. They would deny having received them and also deny that the Chief Officer, when earlier bearing off to the East after seeing surf, had said “that’s the way to do it, get into white water and then get out again.”

The American steamer Monumental City was one of the first screw steamers to cross the Pacific, attracted by the Victorian gold rush. It had previously been involved in the Californian gold rush carrying passengers from Nicaragua to San Francisco as they crossed the American continent from Europe and the east coast of America. The surviving engine parts and propellor are significant as they represent a transition phase from wooden hulled steamships to iron screw steamships, and a phase of rapid development in marine steam engine technology. It is also rare as at the time most American steamships were paddle steamers. It had a short career on the Australian coast, being wrecked on Tullaberga Island after only one month in service. Thirty seven lives were lost in the disaster, of whom 35 were passengers including its owner, and it led to the building of the Gabo Island lighthouse.

35 Passengers and 2 seamen Cabin Passengers who died: J.M. McKenzie Wilson Urie Capt Whyte Amelia Lee J.C Jackson D Lawrence. Steerage Passengers Who died: Mr O'Gorman Offord B. Ellingrod Johnson C H Robando(sp?) Mr Niblock Mrs Niblock child Niblock R Shephard C Hopcroft (sp.?) Evans (female) Stokes Thomson Riley Smith Jezzey Robinson Jackson Miles Wilkinson Light Wilson white Brown Black Scott Tiley

The sea floor where the wreck lies is detailed below.

he remains of the 'Monumental city' lie in a series of sandy gullies between large boulders and outcrops of flat limestone reef. there is very little remaining of the hull which considering the environmental conditions and the fact that it was wood is not surprising. No small artifacts were seen and considering the depredations of professional salvage divers, abalone divers and sports divers this is again not surprising.

the propeller and shaft are approximately 50m due S of the SE corner of Tullaberga Island. The 4 bladed cast iron propellers are 11m of the propeller shaft, including the stern bush, shaft couplings and plummer block, were cleared of kelp and photographed; the prop shaft is complete as far as the main bearing. The prop shaft lies in 5m of water pointing towards 40 magnetic. Near the main bearing end of the shaft (3m @240 mag) there is an almost complete cylinder with its associated steam trunnion, exhaust trunnion, piston rod, tail rod and air pumps. Throughout this area are the remains of the vessel's oscillating engines.

To the NW of the cylinder (11.6m @ 310 mag) a handing knee, iron ballast, an iron plate and hawse pipe were seen. To the NE of the hanging knee (20m @ 070 mag) one of the anchors, probably a stream anchor, with a fluke missing was seen with a chain leading off to the NE. (Dimensions are: stream-shank 2.6m, bill to bill 1.1m, palm 0.5 by 0.25m) Further to the NE (23m @ 050 mag) two more anchors were visible in around 1m of water one is a large bower anchor and the second is probably a kedge anchor. Both are missing the stock and the bower anchor is attached by two shackles to a length of chain. (Dimensions are: Bower-shank 3.2m, bill to bill 2.0m, palm 0.6 by 0.65m. Kedge-shank 2.0m bill to bill 1.6m, palm 0.4 by 0.5m) Throughout the gullies iron sections were visible and occasionally small broken copper alloy artifacts and some fragments of white porcelain were seen. The whole area is covered with thick kelp often obscuring the wreck remains. Sea bottom is flat limestone reef interspersed with sandy gullies. Wreck remains are in 1-5m of water and visibility was between 5-10m. Sea conditions open to SW through to SE with large swell and surge. Even on the best day there is a 1m swell on this site.

It is quite possible more derbies from the ship after it broke in two drifted with pieces of the wooden hull braking apart still contents like heavy strong boxes falling into sandy gullies where over time sand has covered them.


Crow
Another vessel that vanished without trace.

THE MISSING SHIP ARIEL 1872

Jack_Spurling_-_ARIEL_&_TAEPING,_China_Tea_Clippers_Race.jpg


A MYSTERY (says the Melbourne Argus) still overhangs the fate of the missing ship Ariel, which sailed from London for Sydney in January last, and has not since been heard of. It is thought, however, that some clue to the missing vessel, or the fate of some other ship, has been discovered on King's Island.

One of the hunters on the island some time ago, in the course of his rambles after game, came across the remains of a boat, at a spot between thirty and forty miles from where the Netherby was wrecked.

The particulars having been given to Mr. A. J. Johnson, stevedore, who has had a good deal to do with King's Island lately, he after communicating with the chief harbourmaster and Messrs. J. H. White and Co., had several articles of mounting removed from tho wreck of the boat and brought on to Melbourne.

The boat, it may be mentioned, was teak built, and such as might have belonged to an Indian or China clipper, and had barnacles adhering onto it. There was also a quantity of butter, about 10lbs, adhering to one of the scats, leading to the supposition that there had been provisions in the boat;

The articles of mounting were brought over last week by the cutter Gem from the island, and comprise two circular copper plates of the same size as are generally fixed on either side of a boat's stem, with the ship's name or some character on it.

On one of those plates there is a gilt initial resembling as nearly as possible tho letter " a" in German, and a heraldic device over " w," like a setting sun, also in gold. . The different. articles are to be sent home to the agents of the Ariel, for identification.

Some times only tantalizing little clues of these ships are left that have sailed into oblivion.

Crow
 
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KANACKI

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Hola Amigos

The Quirang

1,166 gross tons, 653 net. Lbd: 220'2" x 31'1" x 19'1". Iron steamship 2 masted and schooner rigged, compounded engine of 200 nhp. Built by Blackwood & Gordon, Port Glasgow for ASN Co's east coast passenger services. April 1887 of the AUSN Co. Sold January 1900 to Endeavour Meat Co (G W Griffiths & Partners). Missing en route from Newcastle New South Wales to Dunedin New Zealand with a cargo of coal, having sailed on 22nd July 1902

A.jpg


Maybe not a treasure ship but still an intriguing disappearance..

Kanacki
 

Magoopeter

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Gidday AARC

What a hard task master,,,:whip2:

Here is one possibly worth salvaging? Ever heard of a vessel called the Laurel Branch?

attachment.php





Talcahano Chile in October 1903 . The British cargo ship Laurel Branch, a two-masted vessel, of 2140 tons have been wrecked on a voyage from Guayaquil and Valparaiso, bound for Liverpool and intermediate ports, with a full cargo of general merchandize, including some two thousand odd tons of metals (gold, silver and tin). Here is the Lloyd's shipping records below of her last entry in 1903 lists as in steamship section.

attachment.php


Her total crew consisted of 33 hands all told, including the master, besides which there were four children passengers.
On the 26th of August last, at noon, she was 35 miles off
Huamblin Island bearing East the course was set to pass not less than 15 miles off Cape Raper.

attachment.php




That overcast and rainy weather prevailed during the night, and, owing to the intense darkness, it was materially impossible to see any distance ahead, and at 1.50 a.m. on the 27th of August last, the vessel stranded, the exact position being latitude 46? 30', and longitude 75? 26', between Pringle Point to the South and Steward Bay to the North. Both names as far as I know have been replaced by Chilean names and not found on modern maps.

Due to the strong currents in the area; after the stranding and total loss of the vessel and whilst engaged in landing the passengers and crew, two of the children passengers were unfortunately drowned, owing to the life-boat capsizing.


The cargo was also lost. Which would be worth about 68 million today.
Here is plan of the vessel. In 1903 they did not have technology and capacity to salvage her. Today with commodities prices it might be economically viable to salvage her cargo. Here is a plan of her cargo and deck structure. Depending on depth it might be possible to salvage her cargo. As you can see two front and rear cargo holds. But like with all such stories more research is needed to uncover more evidence to conform the alleged cargo. Cargo manifests might be found a Kew in the national archives or National Maritime museum.



attachment.php


crow
While on a voyage from Guayaquil to Liverpool, the British SS Laura Branch was wrecked off Stewart Bay, Tierra del Fuego.
The Salvage Association in London received from the owners the following copy of cable from the captain in reply to inquiries made at its request:—S

Ship in four fathoms water; very much exposed; back broken. Breaking up gradually. Think possible save, if attended to immediately, 100 tons wool. 100 tons metals. The association reports that it has arranged with Mesrs. Wahlen and Co., of Punta Arenas, to send their steamers at once to the vessel, to effect any salvage of cargo or ship which may be found possible.

The arrangement is on " no cure no pay " terms, and leaves the salvors' remuneration, in the event of success, for settlement in London. According to a telegram from Valparaiso, dated the 5th inst., published in a London newspaper, the date of the stranding of the Laurel Branch was Aug. 28th. 1903
 

Crow

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While on a voyage from Guayaquil to Liverpool, the British SS Laura Branch was wrecked off Stewart Bay, Tierra del Fuego.
The Salvage Association in London received from the owners the following copy of cable from the captain in reply to inquiries made at its request:—S

Ship in four fathoms water; very much exposed; back broken. Breaking up gradually. Think possible save, if attended to immediately, 100 tons wool. 100 tons metals. The association reports that it has arranged with Mesrs. Wahlen and Co., of Punta Arenas, to send their steamers at once to the vessel, to effect any salvage of cargo or ship which may be found possible.

The arrangement is on " no cure no pay " terms, and leaves the salvors' remuneration, in the event of success, for settlement in London. According to a telegram from Valparaiso, dated the 5th inst., published in a London newspaper, the date of the stranding of the Laurel Branch was Aug. 28th. 1903
Gidday Amigo

Thanks for the information about the salvage. But it appears she was salvaged. As the Cardiff times reported 31st October 1903. Below. It appears the cost salvage nearly exceeded value of the cargo.

laural branch..JPG


This is an excellent example on why further research is always needed in researching these wrecks.

Crow
 
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KANACKI

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Hola amigos

The Blue Jacket was an interesting shipwreck.

1854_white-star.jpg


The famous clipper ship BLUE JACKET was one of the fastest sailors of the mid 19th century. On her maiden voyage she crossed the Atlantic from Boston to the Mersey in 12 days, 10 hours. She was bought by J. J. Frost and put on the Australian run and maintained a passenger cargo service for the next 15 years. In 1869 she left Lyttelton, New Zealand, for Liverpool with 71 passengers and crew. When some distance from the Falkland Islands she caught fire and had to be abandoned on the 9th March. Thirty-six survivors in one boat were picked up after being adrift for a week. Three others in another boat were picked up after three weeks. The number lost was 32.

The figure head of the BLUE JACKET drifted ashore on Rottnest Island, West Australia, on December 8th, 1871. ref. used: Hocking, Charles, Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam.

That is one version how there is some very conflicting details on her loss.

There are claims of her having gold 45000 gold sovereigns aboard?

Kanacki
 

Crow

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Gidday Kanacki

Maybe old Crows memory is slipping but I recall there was a newspaper just after the wreck that gave a different account 3 boats was launched one each with captain in one mate in another 2nd mate in another. Each boat had 15000 sovereigns on board as ballast. Only one boat was rescued and that 9 sailors including the captain. Maybe mixing it up with another event?

So many stories and yarns amigos. Some times things become a blur....

Maybe I need a Rum?

Arrrgh!
 

Crow

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Speaking of the alcohol.....

The Queen of nations was interesting ship wreck I have dived on the remains of her many years ago. Hoping to score an intact bottle of booze.

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Thousands of bottles of spirits and wine made up part of Queen of Nations' cargo in early 1881. These proved too much of a temptation for Captain Bache. It was reported that both the Captain and 1st Mate became "hopelessly drunk" shortly after departing London and remained so for the entire voyage.

In the pre-dawn hours of May 31, 1881, and only a few kilometres south of their final destination, Captain Bache mistook a slag heap fire on Mount Keira off Wollongong for the light on Port Jackson's south head. Believing he was entering Sydney Harbour, he turned the ship toward shore and literally drove through the surf onto Corrimal Beach, just north of Wollongong.

The crew prepared to abandon ship. To their horror, the 1st Mate came crashing onto the deck brandishing a pistol, announcing that anyone leaving the ship would be shot for desertion. The crew headed to shore anyway and while shots were fired, none found their mark. Fortunately, the 1st Mate was too drunk to reload. Unfortunately, one person drowned trying to reach shore on a high tide.

After nearly 2 weeks of salvage operations, the Queen of Nations began to break up. Cargo, including a great deal of liquor, began washing ashore. Despite the remoteness of the area, word went out quickly that spoils were to be had and people came from miles around to grab what they could of the booty.

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Chaos set in and the world's longest and wildest beach party began. Some people didn't leave the beach for weeks and even had meals sent out to them. Newspaper accounts reported that "public drunkenness was common for the next few weeks" and "the result was not at all creditable to the general sobriety which is characteristic of the residents of this neighbourhood".



The Queen of Nations site lies approximately 70 metres off Corrimal Beach opposite the outlet of Towradgi Creek, 4 kilometres north of Wollongong. The remains cover an area of approximately 60x15 Metres in a water depth of 3-5 metres, just beyond the surf zone.

At least once a decade, violent storms uncover parts of the wreck. In 1976, the wreckage was once again exposed. The proud Queen of Nations was now regarded as nothing more than a swimming hazard. Huge amounts of timber were dragged from the water by bulldozers. Most of this was chopped up and either burned or used as landfill. The lower hull and its contents could not be removed and slowly succumbed to the shifting sands. Despite human actions and those of the relentless sea, the Queen of Nations still contained a great deal of artifacts and after yet another big storm in 1991, almost the entire remaining structure was exposed. Bottles of spirits and preserved food, railway iron, tins of lead paint, crates of rubber galoshes and even a cemetery headstone were revealed.

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By this time, the science of Maritime Archaeology was well-established and the historical information which could be gleaned from a wreck like the Queen of Nations was well-recognised.

The most significant objects on any archaeological site are often the most mundane, but such information is meaningless unless taken in context and conserved and interpreted by trained professionals. The problem with the Queen of Nations was that the site was too accessible and within days, heavy looting had begun.

Commonwealth legislation was already in place to protect historic shipwrecks but declaration was on a ship-by-ship basis. Working at a feverish pace, NSW Heritage Office Maritime Archaeologists prepared the necessary site surveys and reports. Her protective status was declared just 2 weeks later, but sadly, many fragile cargo items which had survived 110 years under the sea had been stolen, destroyed, washed out to sea or irretrievably damaged.

Bottles of Hennesy's Cognac and pickled vegetables deteriorated quickly once removed from the moist, cool, oxygen free conditions on the wreck site.

Queen of nations

Gee the things we do for a drink!

Crow
 
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