Comboyne (1911)

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Career Template:Country data AUS Sydney (1911-1920)
Name: Comboyne
Owner: Allen Taylor & Co
Port of registry: Sydney
Builder: Ernst Wright Tuncurry, New South Wales, Australia
Completed: 1911
Identification: Ship official number 131486
Ship Sydney registration number: 25/1911
Status: Wrecked
General characteristics
Type: Wood Steamer screw
Tonnage: Gross tonnage (GT) of 281 tons
Displacement: Net tonnage (NT) of 151 tons
Length: 137 feet 2 inches (41.81 m)
Beam: 29 feet 7 inches (9.02 m)
Draught: 7 feet 5 inches (2.26 m)
Installed power: Compound 40 hp
Twin compound steam engine
Propulsion: Twin Screw
Ship primary use: Transport
Ship industry:
Ship passenger capacity: Unknown
Crew: Unknown
Wreck Event
When lost: 1920/11/27
Where lost: Shellharbour, Bass Point, 1 mile off
Reason for loss: Struck object
Cargo: Timber
Travelling from: Narooma
Travelling to: Wollongong
Master: Captain Woods
Deaths: Unknown
Wreck Location
Discovered: No Approximate Position
Position: 34°35′50″S 150°55′18″E / 34.5973°S 150.9217°E / -34.5973; 150.9217Coordinates: 34°35′50″S 150°55′18″E / 34.5973°S 150.9217°E / -34.5973; 150.9217,

The Comboyne was a Wooden Steamer screw built in 1911 at Tuncurry, that was wrecked when it Struck an object whilst carrying Timber to Wollongong and was lost at approximately 1 mile off Shellharbour, Bass Point, New South Wales on the 27 November 1920

Ship description and construction

The ship builder

The builder of the Comboyne was both John Wright (Snr) was the founder of the town of Tuncurry and the ship building industry it became known for. He died in 1910 His son Ernest continued the business and finished the construction of Comboyne Ernest went on with the building of the Narani, Wallambra, Glenreagh, Allenwood, Nambucca 1, Nambucca 2 and the Uralbra as well as many small tugs, lighters, yachts and launches with the ship building company going on to be known as E. Wright & Son[1] John Wright also built a number of other vessels used on the North Coast including the Bellinger, Our Jack and the Tuncurry.

The original owner

The original owners of the vessel was Allen Taylor & Co. This company was formed by Sir Allen Arthur Taylor (1864 - 1940)[2] a self made man timber merchant, ship-owner and politician.

He founded Allen Taylor & Co in the 1890s and moved into the field of hardwood timber supply in which the company is still active in. In the 1890s he become active in the shipping of hardwood from the north coast also though his shipping company and the later (1919) the North Coast Steam Navigation Co which purchased his shipping interests[1]

Ship description Comboyne (1911)

The vessel was a wooden single deck and the bridge ship with 2 masts and an Elliptical Stern it dimensions were

Length from foredeck of stem to stern post was 137 feet 2 inches (41.81 m)[3]
Main Breadth to outside plank 29 feet 7 inches (9.02 m)[3]
Depth from top of deck as side amidships to bottom of keel 7 feet 5 inches (2.26 m)[3]

The vessel had a Gross tonnage (GT) of 281 tons and a Net tonnage (NT) of 151 tons when first manufactured[3]

Ship service history

1912 sinking and refloating

On Sunday 8 September 1912:

The steamer Comboyne, whilst trying to put into Port Kembla Harbor at 3 o'clock in the morning, struck the end of the eastern breakwater, and a big hole was knocked in her side. The water poured in, and the mate, who was on the bridge, decided to run for the beach. The captain by this time was on deck, and seeing the vessel fast settling down ordered the crew of 14 into the boats. They had no sooner entered the boats than the Comboyne sank. The captain was still on board, and owing to the darkness was unable to make out where the boat was. He then struck out for the shore, which he reached after having been over half an hour in the water. The crew landed safely and made their way to the Electrolytic Company's works. The vessel sank in about 40 ft. of water. The stewardess (Miss E. Birkenshaw) was asleep at the time the vessel struck, and was only just able to escape in her night dress. The escape of all on board is regarded as wonderful, seeing that the vessel sank within a couple of minutes of the time of striking. Captain Lacey said he could not account for the accident. Whilst swimming ashore he thought he was done for, but he struggled on and managed to reach land. About 2 ft. of the funnel is showing out of the water, and arrangements are to (be made at once for refloating) [4]

On 2 October the Marine Court inquiry found that the accident was caused by default of the mate, Joseph Daley, in not calling the master earlier [5]

The vessel was then refloated

1915 discovery of a murder

On Tuesday 21 September 1915 the Comboyne, while proceeding up the Camden Haven River caused the man's body to come to the surface the body was recovered by the police and it was found to that the body had been weighted down with an anchor (weighing 1½ cwt 168 pounds (76.20 kg)). The head had been battered, both jaws being broken, as also was the nose. It is supposed that the unfortunate man was murdered. The man named Purcell, had lived at Hunter's Hill formerly but had arrived at Laurieton in April, with a companion to become a fisherman. Towards the end of August Purcell had disappeared, but no alarm was raised, as it was thought he had gone to a neighbouring town. The police then arrested his companion [6]

Shipwreck event

On Saturday, 27 November 1920 the vessel reportedly struck a submerged rock or a floating object

While steaming off Bass Point, near Kiama. She was carrying a full cargo of timber, and was at the time about a mile from the shore. The bump caused the vessel at once lo leak very badly, and the pumps proved unable to cope with the water. An attempt was made to beach the Comboyne, but she took a dangerous list, and began to settle down. The crew therefore took to the boats, and soon afterwards the vessel disappeared The men in the boats went to rest till daylight, as they were very tired after their efforts on the Comboyne. When the fog lifted they hailed a passing coaster, which picked them up and carried them to Kiama. They lost all their belongings in the Comboyne.[7]

Further reading

Online Database's
Australian National Shipwreck Database[1]
Australian Shipping - Arrivals and Departures 1788-1968 including shipwrecks [2]
Encyclopaedia of Australian Shipwrecks - New South Wales Shipwrecks [3]
Other Online sources
Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954 [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