|Wrecks of a Steamer Rainbow, and Three Sailing Vessels with the Loss of Ten Lives
The heavy gale which swept our coast on the 2nd and 3rd instant has left a fearful record of its effects. We are already in possession of the particulars relating to the loss of four ships, but it is to be feared that this melancholy news is only the precursor of other disasters. The gale setting in from the S.W. would doubtless induce any vessel dreading its violence to take shelter in the various bays affording protection from the wind when in that quarter; but unfortunately it suddenly veered to the eastward, bringing up a heavy sea, and exposing in most instances any ships on the coast to its full violence.
The most serious wreck, as regards loss of life, is that of the steamer Rainbow, Captain Potley, belonging to the Clarence and Richmond River Company. This steamer left the Clarence River bound for Sydney, with a full cargo; but after in vain endeavouring to make headway against the increasing gale which set in from the southward on the 2nd instant, at last bore up, and came to anchor in Seal Rock bay, situated on the northern side of Sugar Loaf Point. Both anchors were veered out to their bare ends, and steam kept up. About 10 p.m. the wind suddenly shifted round to E., blowing fearfully in squalls, a tremendous sea rolling in, and the steamer pitching bows under. Shortly after the port chain parted, and it became imperative, as the only means of saving life to beach her if possible. A full head of steam was got up, and the starboard chain slipped, but before the steamer's head could be got round she was carried bodily broadside on to a reef of rocks on the western shore, and in twenty five minutes was all to pieces, and the crew and passengers hove ashore
A night of fearful anxiety was passed, and when daylight broke all mustered together when, sad to relate, seven were missing, who had, doubtless, either been drowned when the steamer struck, or dashed to pieces on the rock bound coast. Captain Petley was also found lying on the beach, with a severe fracture of the left leg. Everything being gone, and little or no food obtainable, it was decided that the crew, with the exception of the cook, who was to remain with the Captain - should start for Port Stevens, and after walking sixty miles, they arrived on the north side on the 4th Instant, exhausted from the want of food and exposure; here they were compelled to remain twenty-four hours endeavouring, unsuccessfully, to attract the attention of the vessels in the roadstead until they were at last seen by the crew of the schooner Roderic Dhu, and a boat was at once despatched to their assistance, their wants relieved, and they were safely carried to the opposite shore, to make their way to Newcastle, where they arrived at 10.30 on the 7th. Captain Allen, the Harbour Master, promptly supplied them with every necessary, and saw them safely on board the Coonambara (s), Captain Adams, and by her they arrived in Sydney yesterday evening. Captain Petley and the cook have also arrived here. The Rainbow was a wooden steamer of 70 tons, and is uninsured. The Woolloomooloo ketch, came to an anchor in Trial Bay on End June. The vessel dragged from her anchors and went ashore, and her master and two of the hands unfortunately drowned. The schooner Julia went ashore about a quarter of a mile from the Woolloomooloo. All hands saved. The Gazelle, schooner, also went ashore in Trial Bay. The crew saved. All three vessels are total wrecks.-"
Sydney Morning Herald," June, 8, 1964.
The Wellington Independent ; July, 2, 1864.
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