MARITIME MONDAY: Anniversary of the wreck of the Nashwauk…

It was a dark Sunday morning, on this day 158 years ago, as  my Great Great Grandmother Susan Kelleher and her sister Bridget were sailing north along the coast of South Australia and were only 40 miles from their final destination when the “Nashwauk” ran aground. The young Irish servant girls were carried ashore on the sailor’s backs and violent storms over the following days ripped the ship apart and all my Susan’s worldly goods went down with it. The emigrant ship left Liverpool on 13 Feb 1855  with Captain McIntyre, as master, and 268 mostly Irish emigrants aboard and now met its fate on this lonely strip of South Australian coast exactly 3 months later.

I’ve written about the shipwreck on many occasions and today, on the 158th Anniversary of that fateful morning, discovered some recent photographs of the location of the wreck and decided to share. They are taken by an amazing young South Australian photographer, Joel Dawson, and I encourage you to visit his facebook page to enjoy many more stunning sights Joel has captured of my beautiful state of South Australia.

“The night was clear, with starlight and a fresh breeze, and one yellow point of light glanced across the water from the shadow of the land. At 4 a.m. the watch was changed. Clouds obscured the coast. Less than an hour later the Nashwauk was aground off the mouth of a creek that wanders half heartedly through the Moana sand hills.”

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

  View from the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty looking toward the wreck site.

“For half an hour after the Nashwauk struck the crew ‘made sail on her’ in a desperate effort to get her canted off, but, although her sails were all drawing, the surf, pounding in about her, shook the wind out of them and left her helpless. There she remained until the wind, setting in from the southward and westward next day drove her firmly on the reef, which in those waters lies some six feet beneath the sand.”

The passengers all made it safely to shore but one young woman, a servant girl Catherine Stanley, died later of exposure as did Captain McIntyre. The emigrants walked, or were taken inland by dray, to the township of Noarlunga and cared for overnight by the residents.

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

The Port Noarlunga jetty which was constructed in 1855  just prior to the wreck

The following morning the passengers were taken to the newly built Port Noarlunga jetty to be transported aboard the mail steamer “Thomas Melbourne” to be transported to Port Adelaide.

“Here the sea was so rough that boarding was impossible.  The Thomas Melbourne had to be relocated at the mouth of the Onkaparinga. So the passengers trudged another four kilometres along the cliff tops from Harriott’s Creek and reassembled at Gray’s Store near the present day footbridge.”

My Great Great Grandmother spoke of the terror she faced walking along those cliff tops with the raging sea below.

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

 Cliffs at Port Noarlunga

By the time they reached the boarding spot it was dark and only seventy girls agreed to get on the lurching steamer for the journey. The remainder were returned to Noarlunga and the following morning were taken overland, by dray, the city of Adelaide. My Susan, and her sister Bridget, were amongst those who refused to travel by sea and were lodged in the newly built “German Hospital” in, Carrington Street, until arrangements were made for their employment.

Some months later both Susan and Bridget travelled to the newly established “Servants Depot”, in the mid north township of Clare, and were soon employed within the district. However, that is another story… for another day.

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Thankyou to:

Joel Dawson for the magnificent photos. Please visit Joel’s facebook page, to enjoy more of his work, by clicking HERE.

Jean Callen, author of “What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”  from which the quotes are taken. Printed by Butterfly Press, 225 Main North Road, Blackwood, South Australia. 5051. Tel: 08 8278 2899.  ISBN 0-9595356-2-4  © 2004

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Copyright © Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

TROVE TUESDAY: Busting the myth of the Nashwauk Anchor…

Our Australian Digitised newspapers, provided free of charge by the National Library of Australia, are not only interesting and entertaining but provide a wealth of information for those researching family. This article from the 1927 Adelaide newspaper, “The Mail” is but one example of the value of this wonderful resource.

Banner. The Mail

TROVE. Moana Mystery explained

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954)
Saturday 27 August 1927page 1.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051

Finally the mystery of  “the Anchor”, which had been embedded in sand on a southern South Australian beach for 73 years, was solved.  It was indeed the abandoned anchor from the ill fated ship “The Nashwauk”, the Irish “bride ship” on which my 18 year old Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher, and her sister Bridget, emigrated and was wrecked just 40 miles short of their destination. A witness, Mr Giles, confirmed the anchor was not that of the other nearby shipwreck,  “The Star of Greece“.

For 73 years the Nashwauk Anchor lay abandoned near the shoreline until in 1927, the same years that the Roundhouse  was constructed, the Noarlunga Council offered a reward for its recovery.   Local residents,  Mr Robinson, his brother, son and three of their horses successfully completed the task.

Nashwauk Anchor. laying on beach. The Mail. 27Aug1927. page1

“Mr. Robinson said that one day in about every two years the anchor of the Nashwauk used to become visible about 50 yards from the shore off Moana, and when, in May of this year, he noticed the anchor showing, he decided that he would endeavor to reclaim it. With his brother and son and three horses he set about the task, and after five or six hours of strenuous effort was successful. The anchor of the Nashwauk is 11. ft. long and weighs several tons, but Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which is developing Moana, has decided to transport it another hundred yards, and set it upon a pedestal to remain a link with history for all time. A concrete base to take the huge anchor has already been constructed.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

As the area developed the iconic Roundhouse was demolished the Anchor moved, from its grand plinth on the foreshore, and embedded in a slab of concrete in the Moana Caravan Park. Although no longer the grand monument to Irish Immigration, and the settlement of South Australia, but rusting away behind boom gates. However, at least it survived and for that we’re very grateful.

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

In 2010 the curator of the Exhibition –  “Not Just Ned – A True History of Irish Settlement in Australia”  Dr Reid, borrowed the “Nashwauk Anchor” had it restored by the Australian National Museum and placed this iconic relic on display in Canberra. It’s now back in South Australia, the public is being consulted re: its placement. Many are calling for it to go back to its original spot, in the caravan park, totally unaware its unique history. The original display site of the “Nashwauk Anchor” was never the Moana Caravan Park but on the foreshore, alongside the iconic Roundhouse which unfortunately was demolished in 2006.

This article, in the 1927 copy of “The Mail”,  is but one of the many which describe these events, can be accessed on-line and are there to “set the record straight” so the decision makers have the correct facts upon which to base their decision.

I LOVE YOU TROVE!!!

TROVE

Public consultation of the placement of the restored Anchor is just that… “public“.  You do not need to live in the area to provide feedback and if you are of Irish descent and especially if your Ancestors were immigrants on the “Nashwauk” you are an “interested person” and entitled to contribute your opinion.

Only problem is, if you wish to give feedback, that there is a very tight time-line and responses need to be in by this Friday, 3 May 2013… however, with the wonders of modern technology you can quickly and easily contribute. Just click HERE to access my post where you’ll find the link to provide on-line feedback.

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To read the very detailed and informative Newspaper article, quoted here, just click on this link:   http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051
For other fascinating articles on the wreck, the enquiry and the Anchor just go to TROVE and do a search…

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 

Maritime Monday: Good News on the Nashwauk Anchor

nashwauk anchorAt long last the process to put the Nashwauk Anchor back on public display has commenced and I sure am smilin’…

The City of Onkaparinga,South Australia  is taking it to public consultation and is seeking feedback which you can be a part of, regardless of where you live. However there is a tight time frame and the cut off date is, Friday 3 May 2013 but just click HERE for a link to quickly and easily provide your feedback online.

This would be of particular interest to those with Irish heritage and especially if their Ancestors were upon this ill-fated Immigrant ship when it was foundered and then sank off the coast of Moana, South Australia, taking all their worldly goods with it.   Information of the history of the “Nashwauk Anchor”, and the sites proposed for it’s re-location, is provided below.

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Many would remember my post of 12 months ago where I described the sinking of this immigrant ship on which my 18 year old Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, travelled from County Clare, Ireland to make a new life in South Australia. Susan and her sister Bridget were among the 207 single Irish girls who boarded this “bride ship” in Liverpool, UK which, after a three month journey, made its made its way up the Gulf St Vincent toward its final destination, Port Adelaide, South Australia. It had been an uneventful voyage and was a dark, but clear, moonlit night when at 4am the watch changed, clouds obscured the coast and the “Nashwauk” was wrecked adjacent to Harriott’s Creek (Pedler’s Creek) at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, some 40 miles short of it’s destination.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Childhood stories of the shipwreck, the girls being carried ashore on the sailors backs and especially our family visits to the Nashwauk Anchor, whetted my appetite for researching all aspects of family.

Mum, my brothers and I with our car and caravan in the background. Circa 1954. Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

Mum, my brothers and I with our car and caravan in the background. Circa 1954. Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

It was a sad day when, preparing to take my own children to visit their Great Great Great Grandmother’s Anchor, it was not to be found…  No longer was it standing proudly and majestically on the foreshore adjacent to where the ship foundered and then broke apart, taking all of my Susan’s belongings with it.  Also gone was the Moana Roundhouse which kept the Anchor company during its constant vigil as well as providing us with yummy icecreams and ice cold cool drinks on those hot summer days.

Nashwauk.moana_beach_roundhouse_4

Sadly the Roundhouse is gone forever..  It was the first building erected in Moana. The stone laid on 19Nov1927 and this iconic building was demolished in 2006. To read about this sad event and view some irreplaceable photographs please click HERE. (please note: 2 days ago this links was working and now it’s not. I’ll leave it here for a while and see if it fixes itself)  🙂 …

Fortunately the Nashwauk Anchor has survived and has been in the custody of what was once the “Moana Caravan Park” but has grown and is now the “Moana Beach Tourist Park”.  Although I was terribly disappointed that it had been reduced in stature, and no longer had a commanding presence, at least survived.  I’m sure that those who dragged it ashore 73 years after the ship went down and then set it on its high concrete plinth, overlooking the sea, would be most pleased that it has not been lost or abandoned.

Nashwauk Anchor. reward to recover

In 1927 the Noarlunga offerred a reward to recover the anchor and Mr Robinson, his brother, son and three horses successfully completed the task.

Nashwauk Anchor. laying on beach. The Mail. 27Aug1927. page1

“Mr. Robinson said that one day in about every two years the anchor of the Nashwauk used to become visible about 50 yards from the shore off Moana, and when, in May of this year, he noticed the anchor showing, he decided that he would en- deavor to reclaim it. With his brother and son and three horses he set about the task, and after five or six hours of strenuous effort was successful. The anchor of the Nashwauk is 11. ft. long and weighs several tons, but Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which is developing Moana, has decided to transport it another hundred yards, and set it upon a pedestal to remain a link with history for all time. A concrete base to take the huge anchor has already been constructed.”

The entire newspaper report can be read HERE.

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

So highly regarded is the Anchor that it was taken to Canberra by Dr Richard Reid, restored by the National Museum of Australia, and put on display (17 Mar 2011)as part of the “Not Just Ned – A true History of the Irish in Australia” Exhibition. The Australian National Geographic reported on the significance of this Anchor as an important part of our South Australian heritage:

“Women were sent out on government ships to work as domestic staff on the new colony and to redress the gender ratio. The exhibition will display an anchor from the Nashwauk, a ship wrecked off South Australia in 1855, carrying 207 of these young Irish women. They were carried from the waters on the shoulders of men who swam out to rescue them – and they all survived.”  

To read the entire Australian National Geographic article please click HERE 

Dr Richard Reid

Dr Richard Reid

It’s wonderful that this precious relic has been cleaned, restored and has taken pride of place in such and important Exhibition but my fear, which I wrote about HERE, was that it would never come back to its rightful home in South Australia. Well, its back home and ready to go on display. To read about the   “Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia” exhibition, please click HERE.  Thankyou Dr Reid. All that’s needed is a decision about the location which you, the public, is invited to be a part of. The City of Onkaparinga has listed 3 Potential sites:
a)  Moana Tourist Park: approximate cost $4,000

The proposal was to return the anchor to the Moana Tourist Park and to have the anchor semi-enclosed in a recycled timber and galvanised iron structure which would give the anchor some protection from the environmental factors at the site. The cost of the structure and concrete plinth is approximately $4,000 but does not include any enclosed side panels on the structure. This site has existing lighting which will reduce costs associated with its display. This location would not address the concerns of some people in the community who have expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area.

Roadway leading down the side of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to Moana Tourist Park

Roadway leading down the side of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to Moana Tourist Park

b)  Nashwauk Reserve: approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000

There is existing developed open space that resides between the Moana Surf Lifesaving Club and the Moana Tourist Park. This reserve was developed several years ago as part of the Coast Park program. The anchor could be located as a feature within the reserve. This location would not have the passive surveillance that it previously enjoyed at the Tourist Park to assist with avoiding vandalism. The cost of the structure would be $4,000 for the same structure as is proposed in the Tourist Park but would be increased if side panels were added to the structure to protect it from the sea environment. Lighting of the structure and anchor would also increase costs. For an enclosed structure with lighting the cost would increase to approximately $15,000.

Nashwauk Reserve viewed from Nashwauk Crescent

Nashwauk Reserve viewed from Nashwauk Crescent

Nashwauk Reseve viewed from Moana Crescent

Nashwauk Reseve viewed from Moana Crescent

c)  Moana Pioneers memorial Hall approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000

There is sufficient area in the open space in front of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to locate the anchor and this would also serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area. The cost of the structure in this location would be as described in option (b) above, dependent on the nature of the structure.

Nashwauk Pioneers Memorial Hall

Nashwauk Pioneers Memorial Hall

The City of Onkaparinga has provided this “birds eye” view to help folks get their bearings.

Potential sites for the Nashwauk Anchor placement

Potential sites for the Nashwauk Anchor placement

However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology via Google Maps, you can go for a stroll down Nashwauk Crescent, Moana, South Australia towards the Esplanade and check out the sites for yourself.  Just click HERE to begin your journey at the round-about, with the road to the Moana Tourist Park (proposal a) on your left, the Pioneer Memoral Hall (proposal c) on the corner… and as you travel down to the seashore Nashwauk Reserve (proposal b) is on your left.  Enjoy…

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The managers of the Moana Tourist park left a message, about this matter, on my blog… click HERE to read in the comments section.  I phoned, we chatted and they took up my offer to publish their point of view which differs from mine, because we’re coming from a different perspective, but certainly is worthy of consideration before any decision is made. Thanks Daryl and Sandi-Kate. Their proposal is as follows:

Proposal for  relocating the
Nashwauk Anchor
from the
Moana Beach Tourist Park

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“As the current Managers of the Moana Beach Tourist Park, we would like to contribute to the community consultation process in regard to finding a new location to place the Nashwauk Anchor. There is debate about the length of time that the anchor has been displayed inside the Park, but it has been a significant number of years. During this time many a guest to the Park have taken photographs of their families with the Anchor, some of them repeatedly each time they visit. The anchor is a part of many guest’s childhood memories of summer holidays spent at the Tourist Park. Over the 12 months of 2012, we received a visit from 549 families that reside within the City of Onkaparinga. This accounts for over 30% of all reservations for the year, and demonstrates that the Park is accessed by a high proportion of local ratepayers who qualify to be part of this engagement process. The residents that live on the Park under a lease agreement are also used to the anchor being a part of their home environment, and some feel very connected to it and are prepared to put forward their ideas. Over the years, the Tourist Park has built an identity around the anchor, with it’s inclusion on the Logo and photographs on the Parks Facebook Page. We would like to continue marketing the Tourist Park with the anchor as our point of difference, as it gives a great impression of history and proximity to the beach. 

We understand completely the views of those who have ancestors that were on the Nashwauk when it went down. They should be able to visit and view the anchor easily, and would choose for it to remain close to the actual site where it occurred. 

Everyone shares the same concern for the safety of the anchor going forward, that it can be protected from the elements and also intentional damage caused by vandalism. 

Daryl and I would like to propose an alternative site to the current 3 choices under consideration. We would love to see the anchor displayed at the entrance to the Park within close proximity to the visitor car park and Nashwauk Crescent. This would be a compromise to address the concerns of those in the community who have already expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area, and also allow it to continue the passive surveillance from Park Management in an endeavour to avoid vandalism. This location would also be ideal to serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area from the south, along Nashwauk Crescent, while also highlighting and identifying the entrance to the Park.

This proposal would tie in comfortably with the proposed future upgrade of the Tourist Park entrance area and/ or the sealing of the dustbowl that is a visitor car park that has been put forward as a Capital Works Project for several years running. The associated costs in choosing this location would still be in the same vicinity as the other 2 sites that have been proposed outside the confines of the Tourist Park.

As with any issue that is undertaken, either by City of Onkaparinga or Moana Beach Tourist Park, you will not be able to satisfy each and every person with an interest in the outcome. However we suggest that this site would at least address the issues raised thus far by interested parties, and could be viewed as a positive result for all stakeholders.

Best regards,
Daryl and Sandi-Kate Hutchins
Managers Christies Beach and Moana Beach Tourist Parks.

Nashwauk. Moana Beach Tourist Park. panorama

To access the Park’s Facebook page please click HERE

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My vision is to see the Nashwauk Anchor retured to its former glory before being removed from the foreshore, tucked away behind boom gates and removed from the public eye.  It would be wonderful to see it returned to serve the purpose envisaged by Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which developed Moana when, in 1927, it set it upon a pedestal on the foreshore for it to remain a link with history for all time.

I envisage a future where exciting public events, celebrating this important aspect of our South Australian heritage, are held on Nashwauk Reserve… especially during May, which is South Australian History Month and also the same month the “Nashwauk” foundered and was torn apart by the stormy seas.

The 160th Anniversary of the shipwreck is only 2 years away – 13 May 2015–  and is a perfect time to proudly showcase Moana Beach, and its environs, pulling in tourists from far away just as the summer season is coming to a close.

For these reasons, of the 3 Potential sites, my choice has to be Option b) the Nashwauk Reserve. However, like the Management of the Park, I have an alternative, and preferred site, which is right there at the corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade… overlooking the sea, close to the Life Saving Club and the Australian flag. Family picnics, fetes and history festivals could be held on the Nashwauk Reserve with the Nashwauk Anchor in full sight.

The view along Nashwauk Crescent

The view along Nashwauk Crescent

Corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade

Corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade

Just imagine swinging around the corner of Nashwauk Crescent, travelling past the Pioneer Memorial Hall, and being drawn towards the beachfront by the stately majesty of this iconic piece of South Australian History… and to see it floodlit at night would add to its magnificence.

This position is more central and protected than the reserve as it is close to the Lifesaving Club, the car park and with buildings on this corner of the Esplanade. If the Lifesaving Club has security cameras, this would be an advantage… if not, installing them would provide extra protection for both structures. If funding is an issue, maybe other organisations would be willing to contribute a little to help offset the cost… after all it is a State Heritage item.

These are my thoughts and I hope the City of Onkaparing gives them due consideration.  Your view may differ, and that’s OK…  remember that the cut off date is Friday 3 May 2013 which is not far away.  Just click HERE and you can download a hard copy of the form to provide feedback, or fill in an online survey.

On Saturday, January 26, 1929 – Australia Day… The Adelaide Newspaper “The News” featured a magnificent photo of the “Nashwauk Anchor” mounted high on its pedestal on the foreshore and the caption read:

                 MOANA BEACH LANDMARK

This old anchor has been mounted on a concrete base. It formerly belonged to the Nashwauk, which was wrecked at the mouth of the Onkaparinga in May, 1855.  After 72 years the anchor was em-bedded upright in the sand, but it has been since mounted and will be suitably inscribed in the near future.

How wonderful it would be to once again see the Nashwauk Anchor return to its former glory as a Moana Beach Landmark.

UPDATE:  The Councillors of the City of Onkaparinga met, on 23 Jul 2013, and decided that the “Naswauk Anchor” would be re-located adjacent to the Moana Pioneer Memorial Hall. Exact positioning not yet decided.

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RESOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
To provide feedback on the Anchor’s placement: http://onkaparingacity.com/onka/council/community_engagement/project_status_board/nashwauk_anchor.jsp

Nashwauk Anchor Needs a New Home:
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/historic-nashwauk-anchor-needs-new-home-in-adelaides-southern-suburbs/story-e6frfkp9-1226624244320

A True History of the Irish in Australia – Not Just Ned
http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/irish_in_australia/home

Major Exhibition of Irish Australia to open in 2010:
http://www.irishecho.com.au/2010/02/17/major-exhibition-on-irish-australia-to-open-in-2011/2000

ABC includes interview with Richard Reed:
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/02/15/3139451.htm

Exhibition opened on St Patricks Day 2011:
http://www.irishscene.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=220:irishaust

The Irish in Australia:
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/irish-in-australia.htm

Moana Roundhouse:
http://winecoast.heimat.eu/index2/moana_beach/pages/moana_roundhouse.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moana,_South_Australia

Treasures recovered from the Nashwauk: http://maritime.historysa.com.au/collections/shipwreck-collection/moulded-bricks-nashwauk
http://www.oceantreasures.org/blog/do/tag/nashwauk/

Nashwauk Passenger List:
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nashwauk1855.shtml

Historic Newspaper articles from TROVE:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/58536914
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/58533948

SAMemory – Shipwrecks:
http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=715

Moana Lifesaving Club History:
http://www.moanaslsc.com.au/history.html

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Nn is for – No News on the “Nashwauk” anchor

Hopefully the old proverb “No news is good news” will prove to be correct regarding the whereabouts, and well-being, of the “Nashwauk” anchor. The plan has always been that this “Family History Through the Alphabet” post would be titled, “News on the Nashwauk anchor”, as a follow up to my initial post “Safe Return of the ‘Nashwauk’ anchor”, but I’ve been forced to change the plan because, try as I might, no news is forthcoming.

My Susan, one of the people for whom this Blog is named, arrived in South Australia in a “bride ship”, the “Nashwauk”. It ran aground/ was wrecked off our south coast on 13 May 1855. You can read about the wreck, the young Irish girls carried ashore on the backs of sailors and the recovery of the ship’s anchor, some 70 years later, by clicking HERE. You will also read about the sterling work of the Australian National Museum, under the direction of Dr Reid, in restoring and putting the anchor on display last year as part of the splendid Irish in Australia Exhibition titled, “Not Just Ned”.

With my 3 brothers, mum and the Nashwauk Anchor circa 1954. (c) 2012. C.Crout-Habel

After following up the concerns of a number of people I was delighted to report, in April 2012, that the anchor was safely back in South Australia, there would be a “consultation process” re: it’s eventual placement and all was well with the world. That was four months ago. The last news I had, from the person in charge of the Project, was two  months ago and his advice was:

“No news as yet just waiting on engagement strategy to be signed off from Senior Management. Will let you know when I have something to show you.”

With this blog post coming up I contacted him about three weeks ago and no reply. Then I wrote to the Lady Mayor of the City of Onkaparinga advising of the situation and that I had a Blog post waiting to be written. Ms Rosenberg’s reply was immediate in letting me know that this gentlemen had left the employ of the council and she would follow up on my request. Hearing nothing further, for almost 2 weeks, I emailed again and was informed:

“I am waiting for a staff response.”

So, yesterday I rang the Moana Caravan Park, whom I understood had the “Nashwauk” anchor in their safe-keeping, and was told they knew nothing other than that the Council was planning to consult with the public. grrr… My next “port of call” was the receptionist at the Council and, “bless her little cotton socks”, Crystal was the first person who talked any sense and actually got some action happening. Within half an hour the young woman, who had taken on the Senior Project Manager’s job, was on the phone to me. She had only started work the previous day but was meeting with her manager the next day (today) and that was high on her list of priorities for discussion. I was assured she would phone, or email, immediately after the meeting. The silence is deafening.

So, there you have it folks. It’s now been 2 years since our Anchor was taken to share with the rest of Australia and I’m losing patience. It may be said that “No news is good news” but, for me…

© Copyright 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel.  “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”

Safe return of the “Nashwauk” anchor.

The anchor is safe !!! – a phone call to the City of Onkaparinga and
I was assured that the “Nashwauk” anchor has been returned
to South Australia and that a safe, secure, prominent and
well lit site is being prepared for its final resting place …
now I’m smiling…
~~~~~~~~~  

 The “Nashwauk”, a three masted wooden sailing ship built in 1853 at River John, Province of Novia Scotia, with a tonnage of 762, measuring 144.1ft in length, 29.ft in breadth at the widest part, with a midships depth of 2.7ft and a lower deck of 140ft, left Liverpool on 13 Feb 1855 under the command of Captain Archibald McIntyre, bound for South Australia. Aboard were over 300 “assisted emigrants, mostly from Ireland.

My Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher and her sister Bridget, from County Clare, Ireland, were amongst the 207 single Irish girls aboard this “bride ship” when, three months later, it made its way up the Gulf St Vincent toward its final destination, Port Adelaide.  It had been an uneventful voyage and was a dark, but clear, moonlit night when at 4am the watch changed, clouds obscured the coast and the “Nashwauk” was wrecked adjacent to Harriott’s Creek (Pedler’s Creek) at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, some 40 miles short of it’s destination.

It remains a mystery as to why, having successfully navigated the dreaded Troubridge Shoal, it foundered so close to the coast, at what is now suburban Moana.  There are many tales of smuggling, of the ship being lured by strange lights from Mr Harriott’s farmhouse, of the misbehaviour of the girls and crew but it’s all speculation and can be seen as newspapers, and reporters, simply trying to outdo each other with the more sensational stories. As N. F. Goss reports in “Drama of Moana Wreck: The End of the  Hoodoo Ship” (The Advertiser, Saturday 13 May 1933, page 9),

“There was obviously some rumor current at the time, but as there is
no later reference to it, and as the two sources disagree, it is
possible that nothing happened that cannot be explained
by the confusion natural to
the occasion and
overwrought condition of the women.”

My Susan spoke of cutting her sister’s hair when the ship struck and being carried ashore on the back of a sailor with ony the scissors in her hand and the clothes on her back. The beautiful painstakingly embroidered linen, of her trousseau, went down with the ship. All made it safely to shore but sadly two later died of exposure – the Captain and the single Irish girl Catherine Stanley, aged 23.

Horseshoe Inn 1865

The passengers assembled on the beach and walked, or were taken by dray, to the nearest township of Noarlunga where they were accommo-dated at the Horseshoe Inn.  In her book, “What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”, Jean Callen writes,

“The residents of Noarunga had killed and roasted eight sheep,
brewed bucketsful of hot tea and baked many loaves of
bread to feed the distressed victims.” 

The following morning the Government Schooner “Yatala” and the Mail Steamer “Thomas Melbourne” arrived and ancored near the wreck, preparing to take the passengers to Port Adeaide.  However, the sea was so rough that boarding was impossible and Jean Callan confirms my Grandmother’s story of having to trudge miles back along the cliff tops.  Many of the girls were too terrified to take to the sea again and drays were finally brought to convey them to Adelaide.

It would seem that there was great chaos at the site of the wreck.  Strong winds had strewn debris for a mile along the shore.  The Captain desperately tried to recover whatever baggage he could, for the passengers, and the accessible cargo, unloaded by the crew, was closely guarded by police and customs officers.  Some three weeks later, on 29 May, the cargo was advertised for sale and all was purchased by Mr Harriott for £65 and the hull for £70.  With a shortage of material in the Colony, it was said that Mr Harriott made a tidy profit from the wreck which fuelled even more rumours of him being involved in a smuggling ring, although there is no official evidence of this.

The two official enquiries into the wreck, one by the Trinity Board and one by the Immigration Board, could not investigate fully because of the death of Captain Archibald McIntyre on 3 Jun 1855.  However, with the evidence already suppied it was concluded that complaints of the surgeon being drunk were to be dismissed and that there was no foundation for any complaint against the captain.  Sadly, dying from the effects of anxiety and exposure whilst attending to his duties after the wreck, Captain McIntre left a wife and 4 children in Glasgow, Scotland. He was 38 years old.

The “Nashwauk” was considered an unlucky ship as she had been driven ashore once before, badly dismasted and on fire four times.  A North West gale finally broke up the remains on 26 May 1855.

For 72 years the ship’s achor lay 200 yards off shore and, in 1927, the Noarlunga Council offerred £20 for its recovery. A local resident, Mr W. C. Robinson, who owned and worked a farm close to the place where the “Nashwauk” met her fate and set about the recovery task with the help of his son and brother.  They used 3 horses and, with the anchor being 11ft long and weighing several tons, it took 5-6 hours of strenuous work to haul it in. It was duly erected majesticaly on a plinth on the foreshore, next to the “roundhouse” kiosk where the memory of that fateful day, 13 May 1855, was kept alive.

Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

I well remember our first family trip to Moana, in about 1954, to see “the anchor”. Cherished photographs were taken of it with mum, my three brothers and myself. The story of the wreck of the “Nashwauk” and the recovery of the anchor is where my fascination with Family History started, my sense of “Irishness” took root and the “search for Susan” began.

Some 20 years ago, on a nostalgic trip back to “the anchor”, I was horrified to discover it had disappeared.  Questioning the locals we found it standing rather forlornly, at ground level, at the entrance to the Moana Caravan Park.  Gone was the majesty … gone was the sense of reverence and nobody could tell me why it had been removed from the foreshore.  However it was comforting to know that, at least, it was safe and hadn’t been destroyed.

Then, a couple of years ago the “Nashwauk Anchor” did another disappearing act.  This time it was taken to Canberra by the National Museum of Australia, restored and put on display (17Mar-31Jul 2011) as part of the “Not Just Ned – A true History of the Irish in Australia” Exhibition. Pauline wrote about this Exhibition, and the “Nashwauk Anchor” in her blog “Family history across the seas”.  It’s wonderful that this precious relic has been cleaned, restored and has taken pride of place in such and important Exhibition but the the fear has been that it would never come back to its rightful home in South Australia.

Many expressed concern – both local residents and descendants of the “Nashwauk” passengers. Some lobbied to prevent it being sent interstate and others wrote letters to the local paper. The last I heard was that it had come back to South Australia, was in the care of the City of Onkaparinga (Council) but the decision was yet to be made as to where it would be placed.  Apparently the owners of the Moana Caravan Park wanted it back but others were saying that it did not belong to them and should be honourable placed on public display and easily accessible to all.

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Hip, hip, hooray to the City of Onkaparing and three cheers for all those involved in the decision-making.  No doubt my Susan Kelleher is not the only passenger of the ill-fated ship who is smiling down on us today.

SOURCES:  The Ships List:
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nashwauk1855.htm
“A Smuggler’s Home Claimed a Wreck” : Trove  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43749058
“Moana Mystery Explained” : Trove
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58536914
“Drama of Moana Wreck” : Trove
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41485148
Family history across the seas: http://cassmob.wordpress.com
“Not Just Ned – a true History of the Irish in Australia” : http://www.irish_in_australia/home
“What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”, © 2004 J. Callen, ISBN 0-9595356-2-4  Printed by Butterly Press, 225 Main Road, Blackwood, South Australia, Australia. 5051. Tel: 08 8278 2899

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Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family