Vessel type: Auxiliary screw steamer
Date lost: Saturday, 6th August, 1859
Cause of loss: Ran aground of Carpenter Rocks
Number of Casualties: 86+ drowned
Discovery date: Monday 8th August, 1859
Location/water depth: Carpenter Rocks, Port MacDonnell, S.A., 5-20 metres
Departing Adelaide, with 113 passengers and crew, Admella, too close inshore, struck the Carpenter Rocks on Saturday morning, a mile from the beach. The massive swell broke the hull in three and lives were lost immediately. Three crewmen perished attempting the swim to shore to summon help, before two reached the beach, and found the MacDonnell lightkeeper, on Monday morning, who took the news to Mount Gambier.
Locals set out for the wreck, but they needed boats. In Melbourne, the Lady Bird steamed for Portland and then the wreck, but failed to locate the hulk.
Returning to Portland, the steamer, towing the Portland lifeboat and crew, returned and located the 22 starved and parched survivors. The wild sea on Friday frustrated their attempts. On Saturday, the lifeboat with an attendant boat, gathered the survivors from a certain death, to spite the sea.
Rescued from the rocks of death (George Fife Angas)
To east and west the tidings fly,
Borne on the flashing wire;
And distant cities hear the cry
From that far reef of agony
And burning words of fire
Wake to the rescue all the land
To save them ere they die;
And many a noble bend,
With stout resolve and purpose high,
Go forth to save them, or – to die!
Objects of interest (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the shipwreck story.
AMMC Member Institution
Port Fairy Historic Lifeboat Station
submitted by Marten Syme
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