Willee Mclaren 1889

Willee Mclaren 1889

WILLIE McLAREN, barque : On the evening of October 5, 1889, the barque was totally wrecked at Wellington Heads. The vessel left Newcastle, N.S.W., on September 28, with a cargo of coal, and arrived off Wellington Heads on the morning of October 5, after a passage of eight days. The master at once attempted to beat into the harbour against a fresh north-west wind. The Narrows were successfully negotiated, but as the barque

was heading for Worser Bay about 3.30 p.m. those on board felt a shock as if the vessel were slightly grazing a rock. The shock was so slight as not to be sufficient to stop the way of the vessel, and the captain stood on, expecting to cope with the little water the barque was making with the pumps. About 5 p.m., however, the master found that the vessel was gradually settling down, and a few minutes later the crew left in the boats. The Willie McLaren foundered almost abreast of the Pilot Station, in line with Stephen Rock and Port Gordon. When the crew abandoned the ship there were three feet of water on the deck. At the inquiry the court found that the master committed an error of judgement in keeping too close to Steeple Rock; that when he found that his ship was making water so fast after he had anchored, and with the accident to her pump, he should have beached the vessel at once, instead of waiting for a steamer, and that the position of the Kawatiri, so directly to leeward of the barque, seemingly hampered him in his endeavour to beach his ship. Under the circumstances the court did not with¬hold the captain’s certificate.

The Willie McLaren, No. 71,462, was a wooden barque of 560 tons gross and 536 tons net register, built at Prince Edward Island in October, 1874, by – Lebrocq, and her dimensions were length 145.4 ft., beam 31.6 ft., depth 17 ft. She was under the command of Captain Joseph Salmon, who also owned the barque, which was valued at £2,000. On February 2, 1890, it was reported that operations for the purpose of raising the barque had not been successful, and that the attempt would probably be abandoned. A new patent, devised by a Mr. Ross, of the Railways Department, Wellington, had been used, but the general opinion was that the vessel had been left too long and had sunk too deep in the sand.

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