Mary VanEvery 1874

Mary VanEvery 1874

MARY VAN EVERY, schooner: On March 6, 1874, the schooner attempted to cross the Clutha River bar in tow of the steamer Lady of the Lake, the schooner drawing 18 inches more water than the steamer. The tide was at quarter ebb and a nasty sea was running on the bar. When the steamer was about midway over the bar she grounded, her tow taking the ground at the same time. The next sea refloated the Lady of the Lake, and as she steamed ahead the sudden jerk carried away the tow line. The schooner was left at the mercy of the rollers, and a succession of seas struck her broadside on. The schooner was cast up on the rocky beach south of the bar, where she became a total wreck. Soon after she grounded the crew took to the boat and landed safely. Realising the Mary Van Every’s hopeless position, and the danger it involved to the steamer, the master of the Lady of the Lake abandoned further attempts at salvage.

The Mary Van Every, No. 40,358, was a schooner of 41 tons register, built at Patersons Inlet, Stewart Island, in 1863. The vessel, which was coal-laden, was under the command of Captain T. Dawson, who owned a large interest in her. The schooner had experienced several narrow escapes from shipwreck, notably at Hokitika in 1865.

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