Advance (1874)

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Name: Advance
Owner: Capt Charles Ingstrom
Port of registry: Sydney
Ship registration number: 43/1897
Ship official number: 70205
Builder: John Thompson Tolaga Bay, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Completed: 1874
Status: Wrecked
General characteristics
Type: Composite Schooner
Tonnage: Gross tonnage (GT) of 59  tons
Displacement: Net tonnage (NT) of 51  tons
Length: 21.94  m
Beam: 5.943  m
Draught: 1.950  m
Installed power: NA
Ship primary use: Transport
Ship industry:
Ship passenger capacity: 0
Crew: 4
Wreck Event
When lost: 1902/06/12
Where lost: Sydney, Botany Bay, Henrys Head
Reason for loss: Drifted onto rocks
Cargo: Ballast
Travelling from: Wollongong
Travelling to: Newcastle, New South Wales
Master: Captain Charles Ingstrom
Deaths: 1
Wreck Location
Discovered: No
Position: 34°00′00″S 151°14′06″E / 34.00°S 151.235°E / -34.00; 151.235Coordinates: 34°00′00″S 151°14′06″E / 34.00°S 151.235°E / -34.00; 151.235

Advance (1874)
The Advance was a Composite Schooner built in 1874 at Auckland, that was wrecked when it drifted onto rocks whilst carrying ballast between Wollongong and Newcastle, New South Wales and was lost at Henrys Head Botany Bay, New South Wales on 12 June 1902

Ship Description & Construction

The Builder

During the 1870’s the shipbuilding trade in and around Auckland was rapidly extending. With shipbuilding occurring in numerous Little bays and harbours due to the abundant is timber suitable for shipbuilding purposes.

Tolaga Bay, on the East Coast of this province, around whish settlement has been slowly taking place for the last few years, has recently added to it other sources of employment that of shipbuilding. Captain Trimmer and Mr. Thompson, assisted by Mr. Hogarnon, have succeeded in turning out a splendid vessel, which has been named the Advance.[1]

The Vessel

The Advance made her maiden trading voyage in Mid January 1875 from Port of Auckland to Gisborne carrying passengers, 20 tons of coal, lumber, flour and other general cargo [2]

By the time the vessel was lost the vessel was 28 years old, having been built in the year 1874 at Auckland. She was a wooden schooner of 51 tons, and was purchased for the last few years of her life by Captain Ingstrom, who had previously commanded her. Her dimensions were;-[3]

Length, 72 feet (21.95 m)
Breadth, 19 feet 5 inches (5.92 m)
Depth, 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m)

The Advance, when she sank was valued at about £300 and was uninsured.[3]

Ship Service History

When one of the shipbuilders, Mr John Trimmer, died in February 1899 some light was shed on the life of the schooner Advance while in New Zealand

He built at Tolago Bay the schooner Advance, which in the early days was a regular trader between East Coast ports Auckland, Wellington, and Lyttelton. The schooner was owned and sailed by Mr Trimmer. It afterwards passed into the hands of Captain Read, and subsequently to Messrs Keans and Company, and was for some years commanded by Captain Kennedy, of the firm of Kennedy and Evans.[4]

While the vessel operated in Australia the Advance became a well known schooner, employed in the coastal coal trade and for a number of years had been trading between Sydney and the Northern and Southern collieries [5]

The Advance in New Zealand

In early 1879 one of the crew of the Advance was found in court to have disobeyed the lawful commands of the master and was sentenced to 24 hours imprisonment [6] During May 1880 the Advance was stranded on the Bar at Christchurch

About 2 p.m., while the schooner Advance, 50 tons, Captain Loverlock, from the Thames to Kaiapoi, with 39,500 ft of timber, was entering the river, the wind, which had previously been blowing a fine four knot breeze, died away, and the vessel drifted on to the North Spit. She is making no water, and does not appear to be damaged, with the exception of her rudder, which has been carried away; also a part of her false keel. In all probability she will be got off to-day, as she is well inside the bar, and the water is quite smooth. Her cargo is consigned to Mr. J. Sims, of Kaikoura, and is fully insured. The vessel is insured for £450, about half her value. When crossing the bar the lead was kept going, and in no place was found less than 13ft of water, and if the wind had not suddenly fallen away she would have come in without touching anywhere.[7]

During April 1881 the schooner Advance while under the command of John William. Nicholson got away from a near miss when leaving the Grey River at Greymouth under tow of the steam Tug Dispatch the tow rope were lost and the vessel drifted out of the Bar , Captain Nolan described this as at

about 8.40 p.m., Tuesday last the tide being about last quarter flood. We were dropping down the river very easy in order to let another vessel get away from us that was being towed by the Lioness. When about 100 yards from the end of the breakwater I heard a noise forward; I was at the wheel at, the time, the crew called out that the tow line had gone. We were going too fast for the anchor to have held us, and sail was made as quickly as possible, so as to, keep command of the vessel. Before we came to the break on the bar the wind died away, and consequently we lost command of the Vessel. She would not answer her helm and soon got into the break, the seas breaking clean over her, though she was not touching the ground. The Dispatch, which had kept by us, passed her tow line on board, and took as in tow again, She towed us back into the river, and left us on the flat opposite the town. The vessel did not bump on the spit at all. After being left on the "hard” I ascertained that there was about 3ft of water in the hold. This was not from a leak, but from water that had washed aboard while in the break. I found that the, hull was perfectly sound below the "pent" streak. The damage sustained was to six stanchions the starting covering board from the fore rigging to "the round of the quarter; about 10ft of the port streak stove in; rail and bulwarks stove-all on the port side.[8]

The Advance in Australia

Charles John Ingstrom owner and mate of the Advance said he owned the vessel since 7 July, 1896 [9] from the vessels Sydney Registration number the vessel entered registration in Australia in 1897

Lady Robinson's Beach stranding

On 26 July 1897 the Advance parted her anchors and was washed up on Lady Robinson's Beach with an inquiry into the stranding it was found that to the port chain parting and the other anchor dragging the wreck was sold by the insurance companies and repurchased by the former owner. The vessel was described carried away up on the beach and left there high and dry by the receding tide she was found so far away from water that it will be necessary to dig a channel especially for her to be launched by means of towing power.[10]

Eugen Carlberg, master of the Advance, said he held a coastal trade certificate since 1877 The vessel was owned by the mate, Charles Ingstrom On the 26th July she was stranded at Lady Robinson's Beach, and was abandoned to the insurance companies, which sold her, and the mate again purchased her The schooner floated, and was not seriously damaged There was only 6ins of water in her 15 hours after she came on the beach.

The insurance was £200, and he did not think the owner would sell her under £100 the owner spent £163 on her lately. She was engaged in the coal trade between Newcastle, Sydney, and Botany They discharged a coal cargo at Shea's Creek and anchored in Botany Bay at the entrance to Cook's River, and were about to go to Newcastle Witness had been 14 months in the vessel, which was well found as a coaster. She lay at anchor from 23rd to 26th July. Early on the 26th July there was terrific wind and rain squalls form the east. A second anchor was let go. They tried to get under weigh, when the port chain parted the vessel was driven on to the beach It was blowing hard, and they could walk ashore Witness and the mate got her off, and were engaged in repairing her

Charles John Ingstrom owner and mate of the Advance said he owned the vessel since 7th July, 1896 the vessel was worth £400, and would be fit to go to sea in about a fortnight she was built in 1874 in New Zealand [11]

Rescue of Captain Gallant from the Minora

In January 1898 the Advance was involved in the rescue of the Captain of the Minora of Broken Bay from a 24 hour lost at sea ordeal where the Captain had seen his crew perish around him while vessel came close but failed to lend assistance.[12]

The Minora, a brig of 219 tons register, when about 10 or 12 miles off the coast, abreast of Broken Bay, shipped two heavy seas, and rapidly filled. Her bows sank first, and within the space of five minutes she had completely disappeared from view.[12]

One or two of the crew jumped overboard, but the remainder went down with the vessel, floating off her decks as she sank and managed to keep afloat for some hours portions of wreckage came to the surface. Prior to leaving the vessel the cook, who is among the lost placed a lifebuoy round Captain Gallant and pulled him into the Sea both men seized a floating plank [12]

During the course of the night a steamer was sighted from the northward and came within hailing distance of the shipwrecked crew. At this time the whole of the hands were floating in the vicinity of the spot where the brig foundered. Their voices were evidently heard on board Captain Gallant was enabled to converse with the man on the forecastle head [12]

The query came from the steamer, "Are you in a boat” Captain Gallant replied, "No send us your boat, we are on planking" A few moments afterwards the steamer went astern and left the shipwrecked men to perish. The steamer made a half circle and lay-to during the whole of the night the stem and mast-head lights being within view of the despairing men. When broad daylight came the steamer was still in sight, but too distant for voices to reach her The launching of a boat was anxiously awaited, but after some time the steamer was observed to make a. circle and steam straight away in the direction of Sydney The shipwrecked men had been confident that with the approach of day they would be rescued, and when the vessel departed from their sight one or two of the bands lost heart and sank.[12]

During the day three other steamers were sighted, all bound south The first was the South Australian, and the second was one of the Hawkesbury river boats both vessels, however, were too far out to hear voices A few hours afterwards the City of Grafton passed within 50 yards of Captain Gallant and the cook, but although renewed efforts wore made by the now exhausted men to attract attention the vessel passed without noticing those in distress after 16 hours in the water all that were left was Captain Gallant[12]

The red light of the Advance came into sight, and the vessel came within a quarter of a mile of him Although exhausted he made one more desperate effort to attract attention In his own words he shouted and screeched without stopping, and within 20 minutes was picked up in un almost unconscious condition by the ship's boat all his strength had vanished and the boat containing him was hauled up on board the schooner, and he was lifted into the captain's cabin where spirits were administered and his limbs were rubbed to restore the circulation of the blood spirits in very small quantities were given to him and the terrible thirst from which he was suffering was gradually allayed Captain Gallant subsequently managed to obtain a few hours sleep, and upon awakening, although extremely weak from exhaustion and exposure, was able to relate the privations through which he had passed[12]

Captain Colburg, master of the schooner Advance, stated that his attention was called by one of the deck hands to a voice from the water He replied that the noise came from a flock of birds but the deck hand was confident that it was the voice of a human being and they listened for a few minutes They were then convinced that someone was floating and at once lowered a boat this was at about 8pm on Sunday night The boat was steered in the direction from which the voice proceeded and Captain Gallant was discovered almost dead clinging to a piece of planking with a lifebuoy round his body He was lifted aboard the ship's boat, but was in such an exhausted condition that the boat containing Captain Gallant had to be hauled aboard the Advance was on the voyage from Sydney to Newcastle, and. had passed the scene of the wreck before the voice was heard The flapping, of the sails had evidently drowned the previous shouts for help, and in another few minutes the Advance would have been too distant to hear cries When the boat was lowered they had to go back for a considerable distance.[12]

The Shipwreck Relief Society gave by Captain E. Carlberg, of the schooner Advance for his prompt and humane action of the himself and the schooner’s crew, a reward of a pair of binoculars, suitably inscribed, and paid to each member of the crew £3 sterling, and provided a certificate from the society.[13]

Captain Neate, of the steamer Tangier, was publicly vilified in refusing as alleged to tender assistance to the castaways on the occasion of the loss of the brig Minora [14]

Shipwreck Event

The vessel became a wreck early in the morning of Thursday 12 June 1902 It appears that after having discharged a cargo of coal from Wollongong at Swinburne's wharf at Botany she sailed on her fatal trip at about 1 O'clock in the morning She was in ballast, bound for Newcastle to load coal for the Government dredge Ulysses, now lying at Shea's Creek [15]

The Advance only carried four hands all told, and three of them succeeded in reaching the rocks in safety, although all of them received injuries of a more or less severe nature.

As near as can be judged it was 3 o'clock when she came to grief on the rocks immediately under Henry's Head, near the entrance to Botany Bay It is evident that the schooner stood in too close to the headland, and upon an attempt being made to tack she missed stays The little schooner was then in a perilous position, and all hands on board at once recognised that the Advance was doomed
The Story of the wreck is best told through the mate, Lars Johan Carlson who retold the story from his Hospital bed at Little Bay

The Advance at the time of the mishap was keeping close over to the northern shore, it being the captain's intention, to make a tack for the purpose of clearing the point the wind was blowing from the south-east. There was a heavy sea coming in through the Heads, while the tide at the same time was running out. Our ship, too, was empty and this made it difficult for her to answer the helm The captain gave the order to wear the ship round, but she missed stays As she did so a terrific sea struck her, smashed in the bulwarks and drove her on to the rocks. Almost immediately the receding waves sucked her buck, only to send her on the rocks again.

Two of the crew -the cook, and Holm- were standing by the boat, and seemed to be making an attempt to launch it. I called out to the captain that it was no use trying to get the boat out, and that our only chance was to make for the rocks He seemed to have been a bit confused, and I think he must have been hurt by the main boom, which was flying about in all directions I know I had to crawl on all fours myself to keep out of the way I called out to the captain two or three times, but again got no answer. It was a good thing for us that the schooner had struck so close up, as it enabled us to get on to the rocks.

Even then our lauding was attended with some difficulty, for the ship was humping heavily just after I got on to the rocks the jib boom carried away and fell over the side. In its fall it jammed me on to the rocks and the jib-stay sawing backwards and forwards cut through my trousers and flesh right on to the bone I got I free at last, and then we all crept under a rock to wait till morning. My two other companions were bruised a good deal, Holm more than the other I happened to have some matches, and we lit a fire to warm ourselves and dry our clothes. The night was very cold and in our bruised and helpless state it was anything but comfortable waiting for daylight Nor were we cheered by the thought that our skipper was probably being dashed to pieces on the rocks below us.

Morning came at last, and with it we discovered the body of Captain Ingstrom floating below we got him out of the water and found he has a giant gash right across the forehead, while the nose was smashed flat on his face Mr Clark, who is the coast guardsman at La Perouse had seen our fire during the night, and as soon as it was light he made his way as best he could to our help We found it hard work getting around to the coast guards station. Here Mr Clark gave as a good breakfast and treated us very kindly we wanted to go on to Sydney, but he advised us to go to the Little Buy Hospital Mr. Clark also wired to the police to tell them of Captain Ingstrom’s death, and advised them where to find the body On our arrival at the hospital the doctor told me and Holm that we were too badly hurt to go to Sydney, and he had us placed in the wards” [16]

Gustavo Ingstrom also a seaman who resided at Balmain, identified the remains of his brother Captain Ingstrom, Gustavo was accustomed to sailing in and out of Botany Bay in the Advance and considered it as a good, sound vessel, and well found Gustavo last seen saw deceased alive a, fortnight prior Gustavo knew of Henry Head and new it was a dangerous place, and his brother also knew that.[17]

The Crew

Captain Charles John Ingstrom was a single man about 45 years of age, and principally lived on board his vessel, he and was born in Norway and was well and favourably known in shipping circles. He had not left any property, was of temperate habits, strong and healthy, could swim, and had been a sailor all his life.[18][19] Captain Ingstrom was interned on the following Saturday 14 June at the Necropolis, Rookwood. The body was taken from the South Morgue to the funeral train, with a few old friends of the deceased following it to its last resting-place and the remains were interred in the Church of England section of the Necropolis.[20]
Lars Johan Carlson, the boatswain, was born in Sweden, and at the time of the sinking was about 50 years of age, and joined the schooner in January 1902[21]
Alexander Leith, cook and AB was born in the British West Indies He is about 44 years of age, and joined the Advance only a month prior to the sinking He resided at Pyrmont[22]
John Holm, A B, was 20 years of age, and was born in Norway He joined the schooner on the same date as the boatswain Carlson [23]

Wreck Site & Wreckage

Henry Head, where the Advance struck, is a bold headland, distant about half a mile from Cape Banks, which forms the northern entrance to Botany Bay. The cliffs above are high and overhanging, while at the foot are a number of huge boulders lying about in all sorts of fantastic positions.

This small headland as a coincidence had claimed another vessel called the Advance just 18 years prior in many similar circumstances

The Day after the accident all that was to be seen of the Advance was

One of the masts, some planking, and a confused heap of rigging, sails, and tackle High up on the rocks an oilskin was lying, also a lifebuoy and lifebelt On one enormous rock, looking not unlike a Druid's cromlech, a mast was resting partly out of water, and which see-sawed with each ware, making it dangerous to approach too close. On top of the very cliffs where the disaster occurred the fornications known us Fort Henry The shipwrecked men were quite in ignorant of this fact until Mr Clark, the La Perouse Custom officer, came to their assistance. It was here that the body of Captain Ingstrom was removed to by Sergeant Foy stretching away from Henry Head towards Bare Island there is a rock-strewn beach, where some planks and beams, and part of the deckhouse could be seen.[24]

See also

Advance (1872) A ship of the same name lost at the same headland

Further reading

Online Databases
Australian National Shipwreck Database[1]
Australian Shipping - Arrivals and Departures 1788-1968 including shipwrecks [2]
Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks - New South Wales Shipwrecks [3]


  • 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