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The sailing ship Acielle at mooring
The sailing ship Acielle at mooring in Sydney Harbour while owned by Mr. Lebbus Hordern
Name: Acielle
Owner: Australian Iron & Steel Co
Ship registration number: Unknown
Ship official number: Unknown
Builder: Wood, Harry Tasmania, AUSTRALIA
Completed: 1908
Status: Wrecked
General characteristics
Type: Wood Ketch
Tonnage: Gross tonnage (GT) of 40  tons
Displacement: Net tonnage (NT) of 40  tons
Length:  m
Beam:  m
Draught:  m
Installed power: NA
Ship primary use: Transport
Ship industry:
Ship passenger capacity: 1
Crew: 4
Wreck Event
When lost: 1929/09/11
Where lost: Smoky Cape, 15 mls south
Reason for loss: Gale, beached
Cargo: Unknown
Travelling from: Sydney
Travelling to: Derby, Western Australia
Master: Capt. Ken Smith
Deaths: Unknown
Wreck Location
Discovered: No Approximate Position
Position: 31°06′15″S 153°01′30″E / 31.104078°S 153.024988°E / -31.104078; 153.024988Coordinates: 31°06′15″S 153°01′30″E / 31.104078°S 153.024988°E / -31.104078; 153.024988

The Acielle was a wooden Ketch that was wrecked 15 miles south of Smoky Cape, New South Wales in 11 September 1929.

Ship Description & Construction

Built of wood the Acielle was launched in Tasmania and on her arrival in Sydney was bought by Mr Lebbeus Hordern and used as a parent ship for his seaplane. After the vessel was sold she was used as a pleasure yacht. [1]

A syndicate headed by Mr. L. Littlechild of Rushcutters Bay sold the Acielle to Australian Iron and Steel Company and she was refitted for a cruise to the north west coast of Australia.[2]

The vessel was valued at £2500 and was insured [3]

The name Acielle is derived from Mr Lebbeus Hordern survay company Aerial Company Limited Initials.[4]

Ship Service History

The Acielle Career with Owner Lebbeus Hordern

Mr. Lebbeus Hordern, son of the Mr. Samuel Hordern, and brother of Sir Samuel and Mr. Anthony Hordern, is credited with first having brought seaplanes to Australian waters. With one of these he undertook survey work in New Guinea, and he had planned a more ambitious use of the machines he brought to Australia the yacht Acielle, which he intended to use as a base ship for aerial survey work. Mr. Hordern was also a keen motor yachtsman. From his father he inherited Bronze Wing II., the largest boat of the kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and he later replaced this vessel with the Southern Hemisphere, which became widely known in Sydney waters.[5]

In 1921 Lebbeus purchased another four seaplanes, two Curtiss three-seater 'Seagull' flying boats, a ten-seater Short twin engined craft, and a Short sporting seaplane. With no expense spared, he equipped the 70 foot vessel Acielle and all craft were involved in the first aerial navigation of the entire Australian coastline, covering around 150 miles per day. [6]

This coastal survey caused great interest in the visit to Twofold Bay the aerial coastal survey party, with a view to ascertaining facilities for seaplanes and flying boats in connection with Australian defence and with the auxiliary yacht Acielle in commanded by Captain Snook, and the Curtis Seagull aeroplane, in charge of Captain Lang, armed selected a site suitable for a seaplane station on the southern side of the bay. [7]

Shipwreck Event

The Ketch Acielle was driven ashore and battered by violent seas while bound from Sydney to Derby, Western Australia to investigate the iron ore deposits on the north west coast of Australia for the Australian Iron and Steel Co, owners of the Port Kembla steel works.

The auxiliary Ketch Acielle of 40 tons, was driven ashore on the afternoon of Wednesday 11 September 1929 and become a total wreck.

Captain K Smith, master, the crew of four, and Mr Crago, a civil engineer and representative of the owners, scrambled to safety through heavy rollers, and reached Kempsey. They reported that the Acielle was overtaken by the south easterly gale and an effort was made to reach Trial Bay for shelter the terrific seas violent wind took charge of the tiny vessel and carried her ashore 15 miles south of Smoky Cape Lighthouse where the ketch crashed on the sandy beach. It was intended to sail around North Australia to the West Coast in easy stages. The vessel sailed from Sydney on 2 days prior.[8]

Wreck Site & Wreckage

The Kempsey Heritage Inventory states that the Ships Anchor at the Heritage Hotel of Gladstone[1] Kempsey is believed to have come from the ketch Acielle. The anchor is believed to have lain under the sand but frequently exposed by sea movement. The anchor was dragged from the sand by a member of the Jordan family who is a fisherman at Hat Head, New South Wales. In 1974 it was transported to Gladstone Hotel (now renamed to the Heritage Hotel) and accepted by Jim Tedd, the then publican of Gladstone Hotel. It was placed in the garden of the hotel and remains there.[9]

Further reading

Online Database's
Australian National Shipwreck Database[2]
Australian Shipping - Arrivals and Departures 1788-1968 including shipwrecks [3]
Encyclopaedia of Australian Shipwrecks - New South Wales Shipwrecks [4]


  • 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


External links