Woollahra 1907

Woollahra 1907

WOOLLAHRA, barque: The vessel went ashore four miles south-east of Cape Terawhiti at mid night on July 14, 1907, and became a total wreck two lives being lost. The barque was bound fron Wellington to Kaipara and Sydney, and struck thi rocks about 300 yards from the shore. The lifeboa was swung out, but was smashed by a falling mast At the end of four hours all on board, with the exception of the master and two seamen, left thi Woollahra in a dinghy, which came to grief on a rock about 100 yards off the beach. Some of the men swam for the beach, taking with them a rope by means of which the others were hauled ashore The weather was fine and a fresh breeze was blow ing when the Woollahra left Wellington on the morning of July 14. Late at night the win( freshened and a heavy sea was running.

Just of midnight the barque was struck by a severe rain storm. On the stroke of midnight there was a cr’ of “Breakers ahead,” and then the ship struck. The crew agreed to remain by the ship with the captain until morning. The mizzen mast carried awa, about 1.30 a.m., and this mishap resulted in the smashing of the lifeboat. At this time the barqui was labouring heavily and the seas were breaking over her. The vessel had apparently struck upon s ragged outer reef. At about 4 a.m. the foremas went by the board. The list of the ship to starboard became more and more pronounced towards daylight, and the crew decided to take to the boat and get ashore. When the dinghy was successfully launched all those on board, with the exception of the captain and two seamen, embarked in her. The captain was urged by the men to abandon the wreck, but he declared he would remain by the barque to the last. The men in the dinghy reached the shore in safety.

About this time the Woollahra commenced to break up, and the two seamen who had remained on board with the captain decided to make for the shore. One reached the beach safely, but the other was last seen climbing on to an intercepting reef. The captain and this seaman were drowned. The barque quickly went to pieces, her back being broken. When the tug Duco arrived at the scene of the wreck from Wellington on the afternoon of July 15 the shell of the Woollahra’s stern was seen, almost high and dry, in a small inlet, four miles southeast of Cape Terawhiti. A short distance away was a piece of the barque’s stem, with the stump of the jibboom pointing southward. This jetsam was all that remained of the Woollahra. The beach was strewn with wreckage, the whole ship having been smashed to matchwood. The Court of Inquiry found that the casualty was not caused or contributed to by negligent navigation or by any other negligence. It was caused by an error of judgement on the part of the master of the ship when the wind shifted.

The Woollahra, No. 73,314, was an iron barque of 974 tons gross and 942 tons net register, built at Sunderland in 1875 by Messrs. Osbourne, Graham and Company, and her dimensions were: length 202.4 ft., beam 33.6 ft., depth 20.4 ft. She was owned by the Woollahra Ship Company, of Sydney, and was under the command of Captain A. Andreson, who had held command for 18 months, and for 14 years was master of the barque Elizabeth Graham.

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