Shipwrecks on Peninsula Coasts
It is estimated that 600 people went to Point Turton on Sunday last to see the ketch "Nelcebee" aground on the rocks near Point Turton. This unusual sight reminded Peninsula people that they do live on a peninsula, and that the sea, and the people who work and travel on it, are still a vital part of peninsula life.
Fishermen, whether amateur or professional, will always remain so long as there are fish in the sea, but the sea transport of wool and grain seems likely soon to be concentrated at one or two ports, and this will alter peninsula life.
People who do not live near water of some sort miss one of the chords from the music of life, and the rhythm of Yorke Peninsula will be less harmonious when her sea trade is more concentrated.
Memories of other disasters and accidents to ships have been brought to mind with the mishap to the "Nelcebee."
The ketch "Hawk" which, at the time of writing this, was on her way to assist the "Nelcebee.," was herself badly battered in 1949 when she sank, fully loaded, alongside Port Victoria "jetty in a very severe storm. Because her engines failed to respond it was not possible to get her awav from the jetty against which she bumped badly.
It is nearly fifty years ago since the ketch "Ethel" was driven ashore near Cape Spencer. When she was disabled off the Althorpes a young sailor leapt Into the frothing waters with a line and made for the shore. The rest of the crew were saved, but he was drowned. A portion of a mast on the clift top above the wreck marked the spot where he was buried. It was the Master of the "Ferret" who reported the wreck of the "Ethel.
Sixteen years later the "Ferret" met her own end at the same spot at which the "Ethel" was wrecked. The beach which received them both is only a few hundred yards in length, and is east of Pondalowie Bay. Now there is a light to guide small ships between the Althorpes and the mainland.
Many people will remember the barque Hougemont, which was dismasted by a gale in St. Vincent's Gulf some years ago. After a terrific battle by the crew, she finally limped into Port Adelaide. The powers that be decided to scrap her, and she was towed to a point off Stenhouse Bay and sunk there to form a breakwater.
Many ships have been wrecked on or near Wardang Island, which guards the entrance to Port Victoria, where most of the windjammers have called for grain at one time or another.
One of the most tragic wrecks which' has occurred on the Peninsula coast was that of the Clan Ranald.
On her way to South Africa from Port Adelaide with wheat and flour in January, 1909. she developed a serious list and ran into bad weather in St. Vincent's Gulf, and grounded opposite Troubridge Hill.
Only 24 were saved from a crew of 64. Although many of the men managed to get ashore in the darkness, some were dragged back by the undertow and then hurled against the cliffs. The sea demands a price from the men who use her. The men who perished, including the Captain, were buried at Edithburgh.
The old Clan Ranald wreck is appreciated by the schnapper. They find it a grand protection from the bigger fish which frequent those waters. (Edna Davies : Copyright)