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Shipwrecks at Newcastle


Lieutenant Thomas Thompson was Commandant at Newcastle until June 1816 when Captain James Wallis was appointed to the position.

The coastal waters in the vicinity of Newcastle had always been treacherous for mariners and there were often reports of shipwrecks and accidents however the year 1816 seems to have been particularly unfortunate in the loss of colonial craft......

In January word was received in Sydney of the Estramina and Elizabeth & Mary.......We are extremely sorry to learn from Hunter’s River, that His Majesty’s colonial schooner Estramina, and Mr. Underwood’s schooner Elizabeth and Mary, went both on shore near the entrance of the River, and that no hopes were entertained of saving the former; the latter it was expected might, with persevering effort, be preserved, but not without considerable expense and trouble.

The two vessels sailed from the settlement of Newcastle in company on Sunday last; the Estramina with coals and cedar, and the Elizabeth and Mary with coals only, for Sydney. The Elizabeth and Mary in standing over to the north Shore, in the act of staying got sternway, and hung aft, and with a strong N.E. wind and ebb tide, found it impossible to get her anchor out in her boat. In five minutes after, the Estramina went on shore a little to windward; she soon filled and at 7 in the evening she upset. The Elizabeth and Mary was once got afloat by the exertions of her people, but unfortunately drifted again upon the point where she had at first touched, and broke away her rudder, stove in part of her counter and also filled. She still lies aground; but the master informs by letter that with proper assistance he expects she may be got off.   -  The Sydney Gazette 27 January 1816

The Elizabeth Henrietta was launched in Sydney June 1816 and was a welcome addition to the colonial vessels however the Elizabeth Henrietta was upset at her moorings at Newcastle in August 1816 and would have taken some time to set to rights again.

In addition this winter there were several shipwrecks including two in July near Newcastle and to the northward.

In September 1816 Simeon Lord's vessel the Trial was seized by convicts and lost somewhere to the north of Port Stephens

In November the Nautilus, Captain Edwards, ran aground at Newcastle. Later in the month a public auction at the King's Wharf Sydney offered the following items...the Masts, Sails, Rigging and entire apparel saved from the wreck. The Hull would be sold to any person willing to purchase it as now lay at Newcastle.