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Southern Belle, Immigrant Voyage to Queensland 1873-74

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16 Nov 1873: Left London for Australia on the "Southern Belle". The voyage took 4 months. They arrived in Rockhampton on 6 March 1874.

Register: https://www.wikitree.com/photo/pdf/Lawrence-6774 (also http://www.archivessearch.qld.gov.au/Image/DigitalImageDetails.aspx?ImageId=39631)

The ship struck a gale and was disabled in Keppel Bay:

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Monday 9 March 1874, page 2


Yesterday evening, at half-past 5 o'clock (says the Bulletin of the 4th instant), a boat's crew from the immigrant ship Southern Belle, arrived in Rockhampton, bringing information that the ship encountered a heavy gale some 300 miles to the eastward of Moreton Island, last week, and was so disabled that she could not make for Curtis Channel, and Captain Carpenter therefore allowed her to drift northward, keep-ing outside reefs and shoals, until reaching a point within three miles of the bluff northward of Waterpark Creek, where he dropped anchor in six fathoms of water, paying out sixty fathoms of chain. This is the vessel reported by Mr. Robert Ross, of Bald Hills. We have obtained from Mr. Inman, the second mate of the Southern Belle, the following particulars of the disaster that has overtaken the ship:-

The ship Southern Belle, 1137 tons register, Captain Carpenter, left Gravesend on the 15th November, with immigrants for Rockhampton, having altogether about 500 souls on board. Had splendid weather all the way until Wednesday (?) last, when about 300 miles to the east-ward of Moreton Bay she encountered a heavy gale, and was unable to report herself to the Moreton Island pilot station. On Thursday, at noon, when off Frazer's (Fraser) Island, the gale increasing in strength, and the weather being very dirty, Captain Carpenter deemed it prudent to heave-to until the wind moderated. At mid-night of that day she lost her maintop-gallant-mast. Two hours later (2 a.m., Thursday) the mainmast snapped off within a few feet of the deck, carrying with it the mizen-topmast. At 5 a.m. the foretop-gallant-mast went overboard. The foresail and foretop-sail blew away, but were soon replaced. By the afternoon of Friday the gale had spent itself, and the Southern Belle proceeded on her voyage, keeping well clear of Breaksea Spit, and not attempting to enter Curtis Channel, on account of the crippled condition of the ship. Sighted Barren Island at 6 a.m. on Sunday, and in the course of the morning anchored three miles from the mainland, as above stated. Mr. Inman says that both pumps are broken, but fortunately the ship is not making water. The windlass is also broken. There is only the port anchor down at present, and there is another available if required. He believes the ship will ride safely unless the weather should become very boisterous. But in the event of a storm arising her position will be a very perilous one, and great difficulty will be experienced in saving the lives of the passengers, as there is only one boat on board, except a dingy which is too small to be of any service. There were originally seven boats in all, but during the gale two were washed overboard and two others smashed in pieces, and one, the lifeboat, was used to con-vey the second mate and his party to the shore. We may add that this boat left the ship at 7 a.m. on Monday, with second mate, four seamen, and Messrs. Edgar Giles and Thomas Kirby, passengers. The sea was rather rough, and they made for the long beach to the southward. A house (probably Mr. Robert Ross's) was seen indistinctly, and the party, hoping to be able to reach it, attempted to beach the boat. This they were unable to do, however, as the sea was too rough, and they pulled away along the coast northward for what appeared to them to be a bay, but which eventually proved to be the mouth of Waterpark Creek. Here they found great difficulty in effecting a landing but after cruising for some hours among the sandbanks at the entrance of the creek, they at length succeeded in reaching solid ground, and got ashore. At 5 p.m. they came upon a deserted humpy, where they made a fire, and having brought a little bread with them, contrived to make a meal. After resting awhile they proceeded in search of a habited dwelling, and tramped about the country nearly all night without success. At last they came upon Mr. C. H. Barwell's head station at Woodlands, at half past 8 o'clock yesterday morning. Here they were hospitably entertained, and afterwards, with the exception of one of the seamen who was too ill to proceed further, were conveyed to Rockhampton by Mr. Barwell, in his sociable, reaching town at half-past 5 o'clock in the even-ing, very much exhausted and fatigued. Mr.

Inman was very unwell, having been suffering from dysentery for some time past, and was therefore slightly confused about dates and other particulars, and unable to furnish so complete an account as we could have desired. It is satisfactory to learn that there was very little sickness during the passage, and no deaths beyond those of a few infants, and the immigrants were all well when he left the ship.

THE SHIP SOUTHERN BELLE. (1874, March 9). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1380186

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Wednesday 11 March 1874, page 2


(From the Bulletin, March 6.)

The steam tug Mary left the R.M.S. Tom Morton, in Port Curtis, at 7 p.m. on Monday, and steamed through the Narrows into Keppel Bay. The Postmaster, Mr. D. Peterson, who went down to receive the mails, was then put on board the ship Tim Whiffler with his charge, and the Mary proceeded, at 3 a.m., in her search for the dismasted ship Southern Belle. Having no precise information as to her whereabouts, the steamer was kept along the coast under the lee of the islands. Within an hour of starting from the Bay it came on to rain and blow, and the sea rose, making it exceedingly difficult for the little craft to make headway with any degree of safety. She was kept on, however, to the Bald Hills, expecting to find the ship there, but could see nothing of her, although the houses on shore were plainly visible. Not seeing the vessel the steamer was kept along the coast for some miles further, when the weather getting worse, Mr. Pilot Haynes did not consider it safe to proceed beyond the lee of the islands, and therefore put back for shelter, and saw the ketch Violet at anchor under the lee of South Keppel. Being anxious to ascertain the true position of the dismasted vessel, Pilot Haynes boarded the Violet after coming to an anchor, and learned for the first time where she was. The steamer was now discovered to be short of fuel, and all hands were sent on shore for firewood.

A quantity being obtained, it was next attempted to get to the relief of the ship, but the heavy squalls and rain, with thick weather, effectually prevented this. On Wednesday, at 9 a.m., the weather partially cleared, and at last the ship was seen. The Mary was immediately headed for her, when she fired several guns in succession. By this time the wind fell light, and the Mary steamed alongside. A curious scene now took place. Many of the passengers screamed and yelled with delight, while others were seen from the deck of the steamer weeping and laughing and embracing each other. Captain Carpenter asked if the Mary had been sent to his assistance, and stated that a large steamer (most likely the Leichhardt) had passed him without taking any notice. Pilot Haynes told him the fact of his ship being in such a dangerous position was known in Rockhampton on Sunday last, and that he had been sent from Gladstone to his relief. Captain Carpenter then enquired if the Mary could tow his ship to a place of safety, and the pilot said in a cheering voice that he would try. Then again ensued a repetition of the wild disorder previously noticed. A warp was soon got on board and made fast, and the Southern Belle's crew got her anchor up in a very short time, having no doubt previously got the pawls of her wind-lass into their proper position. The Mary then steamed ahead, and to the delight of every one, the ship came away with her, and, steaming out-side the islands, was off the south end of South Keppel by sundown, when they saw the Queensland steaming into the Bay. At about 10 o'clock she came out to meet them, and steamed along- side the Mary, asking for a tow-rope. This was considered impracticable, and even unnecessary, as the tug with her almost helpless charge was getting along admirably. The Queensland then steamed alongside the dismasted ship, asking for a tow-warp. A little confusion followed this request, it being understood on board the Mary that Captain Carpenter considered a question of salvage might possibly arise. Captain Brooks, of the Queensland, then stated that he had been employed by the Harbor Master, on the part of the Queensland Government, to come to their assistance, and they were perfectly secure in accepting it, and assured Captain Carpenter that he had no cause to fear any future claim on his vessel. During this conversation the Southern Belle was yawing about a great deal, through bad steering, and Pilot Haynes shouted out that he was in charge, and they had better attend to their helm on board there. The Queensland still kept alongside to render any assistance that might be required, and the vessels ultimately came to an anchor at 12.30 p.m., under Sea Hill, without any further mishap. Captain Carpenter then thanked Pilot Haynes in the name of his passengers and crew for the effective assistance which they had rendered. This announcement was followed by a number of ringing cheers. The Mary remained at anchor until yesterday morning, when she made fast to the Tim Whiffler, and towed her into the Fitzroy, leaving her off Mud Island. The gallant little steamer then kept on her course for Rockhampton, and reached the Government wharf at 5 o'clock yesterday evening. During the conversations, which were necessarily interrupted, Captain Carpenter expressed great anxiety about his mate, Mr. Inman, two passengers, and four of his crew, and was assured that they were all in safety.

RESCUE OF THE SHIP SOUTHERN BELLE. (1874, March 11). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1380235

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Thursday 12 March 1874, page 2


An account has already appeared of the disabling of the Southern Belle by the late gale. The following narrative is one which has been just furnished to us by a gentleman who was a passenger in her:-

All the way from London to the latitude of the southern point of Moreton Island the ship had experienced the most favorable weather. The oldest sailors on board, who had been thirty years out at sea, declared that it was the most extraordinary passage for fair weather they had ever made. A day or two of fine weather would have carried the ship to her anchorage in Keppel Bay; but it was fated to be otherwise, and if the 450 souls (passengers and crew) have been saved, it seems to have been by a merciful and special Providence. Within the short dis-tance comprised between Brisbane and Rockhampton, she has experienced a gale which will leave it a question with her owners whether they will ever fit her up, or sell her off for what she will fetch. All, save the hull, which remains exceptionally sound, is a mere wreck of what she was when she weighed anchor from Graves-end. On Monday, February 23, she experienced a dead calm. It was the same on Tuesday. On Wednesday there was just a little progress. The wind freshened towards evening, and dirty rainy weather came on towards midnight. On Thursday morning it could be seen that we were in for a gale. Fearing, probably, to run on before the wind, the ship was hove-to, and her head, which had pointed nearly due north, was turned east. On Thursday evening the gale continued, increasing in fury every hour. Smaller spars and sails went one after another, and the main-mast showed signs of weakening. It was then lashed fore and aft, and the side rigging was made taut. As the night advanced, and the seas told against the side of the ship, or were shipped in, a very bad time of it was anticipated. Most of the pas-sengers, however, retired quickly to their berths, and only one or two showed exceptional signs of fear. At midnight the maintop-gallant-mast went, as well as the foretop-gallant-mast. The latter was cleared, but the former, owing to the imminent danger of the mainmast itself coming down, was left swinging. Just at 2 a.m. on Friday, the mainmast itself went with a terrific crash, which resounded through every part of the vessel. This had the result of carrying away also the mizen-topmast, and smashing two boats on the port side. Shortly after the spanker-boom also broke in

two. The sailors, led by the officers, were indefatigable and persevering in their efforts to clear the wreck. Morning broke on the vessel, and found her a pitiful sight; and it was further re-ported that the pumps, of which there were only a pair, were broken clean off, and the iron tanks in the hold were rolling from side to side, with several of the stoutest stanchions given way.

There was, however, no water in the hold, though at one time a contrary report was prevalent to the consternation of all on board. It was clear now that we were to run for life. Out of six boats only two were left intact. The wind had abated on Friday morning, and so using the parts left of the fore and mizen masts, and setting up a few tattered sails, a course was made towards the nearest land, and on sighting Sandy Island, the ship was turned north. Now west and now north, she kept on with light winds till on Sunday morning she had passed Keppel Bay, and running right into shore about forty miles from the Bay, anchored in ten fathoms of water. From this place a boat's crew was sent off to get help from Rockhampton overland. On Wednesday a little steamer on the lookout found her, and took her in tow, and by night had brought her into Keppel Bay. The next day the Government authorities had boarded her, and all danger was past.

THE SOUTHERN BELLE. (1874, March 12). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1380323

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