Absalom (1853)

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Name: Absalom
Owner: Mr J Hubbard
Port of registry: Sydney
Ship registration number: 170/1853
Ship official number: 32407
Builder: David Roberts Brisbane Water, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
Completed: 1853
Status: Wrecked
General characteristics
Type: Wood Ketch
Tonnage: Gross tonnage (GT) of 25  tons
Displacement: Net tonnage (NT) of 25  tons
Length: 14.84000  m
Beam: 3.90100  m
Draught: 1.64500  m
Installed power: NA
Ship primary use: Transport
Ship industry:
Ship passenger capacity: Unknown
Crew: Unknown
Wreck Event
When lost: 1863/03/29
Where lost: Trial Bay (New South Wales), Macleay River, bar
Reason for loss: Missed stays and went onto south spit
Cargo: Maize
Travelling from: Macleay River
Master: J Fraser
Deaths: 0
Wreck Location
Discovered: No
Position: 30°50′S 153°01′E / 30.83°S 153.01°E / -30.83; 153.01Coordinates: 30°50′S 153°01′E / 30.83°S 153.01°E / -30.83; 153.01

The Absalom was a wooden Ketch that was wrecked at the Macleay River bar at Trial Bay (New South Wales), New South Wales in 1863.

Ship Service History

The Absalom in the early years of her career where spent travelling to the Shoalhaven and by 1857 had moved to include Wollongong. She spent much of 1858 travelling to Brisbane Water

During this early part of her life The Absalom was described as a

small craft of 33 tons register, arrived from Brisbane Water, was built by Mr. J. Booth, for Mr. Roberts. She is intended for the timber trade, and is to be commanded by W. Pickett. Her dimensions are 60 feet over all, 14 feet 6 inches beam; 5 feet 4 inches depth of hold ; and when loaded draws 5 feet 6 inches water. [1]

During 1861 she had taken up travelling to the Shoalhaven & Moruya River during one of these trips she came across two crew members of the Cambrian Packet which had sank. The Cambrian Packet with

Edward Jones as master, sailed from the Sydney, at 2 p m., bound to Bellambi, with a N.W. wind, and all sail set. About 4 pm. when off Port Hacking|Port Aiken], a S.W. squall suddenly struck the vessel, throwing her on her beam ends the ballast shifting, she turned over, and went down in about ten minutes, taking with her a seaman named Frederick Pile, who had stuck to the keel until the vessel sank. The master, Mr. Jones, clung to a plank, and a seaman named Dalton, to one of the hatches, and kept themselves afloat for upwards of an hour, when they were picked up by the ketch Absalom, from Sydney bound to Moruya, which vessel at once returned to Sydney with Mr. Jones and Dalton, who desire to empress their thankfulness to Mr. Pye, the master of the Absalom, for lowering his boat and saving their lives. Poor Pile was only married a few months since, and has left a widow. [2]

By 1862 the vessel was trading to the Macleay River

Shipwreck Event

The ketch Absalom with J Fraser as the master which had for some time trading Macleay River was wrecked on the sand spit attempting to beat out of the Macleay River on the 29 March 1863. She missed stays and ran upon the South Spit at the Heads, and in a few minutes went to pieces. Mr McKenzie, the pilot of the area, was quickly in his boat, and rendered all the assistance that could be given. The crew was all saved, but the vessel and cargo, consisting of more than six hundred bushels of maize, were totally lost.

All hands were saved, and were returned to Sydney by the Woolloomooloo. The Absalom was uninsured, and belonged to Mr J Hubbard [3]

Further reading

Online Database's
Australian National Shipwreck Database[3]
Australian Shipping - Arrivals and Departures 1788-1968 including shipwrecks [4]
Encyclopaedia of Australian Shipwrecks - New South Wales Shipwrecks [5]


  • Wrecks on the New South Wales Coast. By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995 Oceans Enterprises. 1993 ISBN 9780646110813.
  • Australian Shipwrecks - vol1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0 589 07112 2 910.4530994 BAT
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 2 1851–1871 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Sydney. Reed, 1980 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 3 1871–1900 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Geelong Vic: List Publishing, 1982 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 4 1901–1986 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1987 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 5 Update 1986 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1991 910.4530994 LON


  1. The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser Saturday 30 July 1853 http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/670769?searchTerm=Absalom
  2. The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 22 June 1861 http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13065838?searchTerm=Absalom
  3. The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 9 April 1863 [1] [2]

External links