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HURRICANE IN THE NORTH.
MESSAGES OF SYMPATHY.
TELEGRAM FROM LORD LAMINGTON.
MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTRY.
The Premier has communicated to us the following telegram which he received yes- terday from his Excellency the Governor, who is now in Tasmania :-" Please conley my deep sorrow at learning #f.the d.sa^er in North Queensland, and my sympathy with the sufferers. I have only now heard the news, having been cut off from the tele- graph. (Signed) LAMINGTON."
Mr. Dickson requests us at the same time to state that the members of the Govern- ment have been profoundly shocked by the appalling calamity to, which Lord Laming- ton so feelingly alludes, and desire to ex- press through our columns Jheir deep sjni pathy with the sorrowing relatives of those who have been so suddenly cut off in the fulness of health and vigour.
THE STEAMER DUKE OF NORFOLK.
CAPTAIN JENKINS EXPLAINS.
The B.I. Company's steamer Duke of Nor- folk, from London, via ports, which arrived and anchored in Moreton Bay on Thursday night, was assisted up the river yesterday to the A.U.S.N. Company's Norman Wharf. When questioned with reference to the recent hurricane in the North, Captain Jenkins, who is in command of the vessel, replied that he had nothing to add to the Information he gave while at Townsville.
Asked as to the truth, however, of the statements made to .the effect that he had not reported the matter at Cooktown, the captain gave the following explanation : Immediately after leaving the dismasted schooner Crest of the Wave, I decided to .signal off Cooktown as follows :-" Q.P.N. D.W.P.F.; V.J.; C.R.S.D.; D.J.M.T.; H.P.F. B.N.F.M.; L.S.W.; D.K.F.J.; N.T.F.-' W.B.L.; D.V.Q.L.; L.V.C.;" which, being in- terpreted, means: "Of the utmost importance to telegraph immediately head of the Marine Department, has been a hurricane at Flin- ders Cape. Lightship or floating ligbt is missing. Fishing boats twenty stranded. Near beacons gone.'' We commenced signal- ling at 4.50 p.m., but owing to the dilatory manner in which the man ashore read th.-> signals, we had only got as far as the word
missing" when darkness set in. I imme- diately got under way, and proceeded with all possible speed to Townsville, where I sent the following letter ashore, addressed
to the harbour-master :
" Sir,-I have the honour to report for the information of the Portmaster that in pass- ing from No. 2 Claremont Island southward I observed that the beacons on Ead and Dhu reefs were down. There were throughout this locality evidences otherwise of a severe hurricane recently passed over. On No. 2 Claremont were four pearling vessels stranded, on No. 1 Claremont seven vessels, and on Pelican Island and the reefs in the neighbourhood of it several other stranded vessels were seen. Numbers of schooners and luggers were under way, but made no signals of distress. I, therefore, proceeded Without communicating with them ; proceed- ing towards Cape (Melville. I discovered the lightship to be missing, and, two and a-third north-westward of Channel Rock, the schooner Crest of the Wave dismasted and flying signals of distress. I anchored near and sent the second officer in charce of the lifeboat. Captain Porter, o£ the Crest
of the "Wave, reports that he was anchored. in Bathurst Bay on the night of Saturday, the 4th instant, when it commenced to blow hard from the south-east. Several vessels were anchored near him. The wind in- creased to hurricane force, and, although unable to see the other vessels, minute guns were heard. The barometer fell to twenty six inches. To save the vessel the masts were cut away, and- after the centre of tho storm passed the schooner dragged from her anchorage towards 'Channel 'Rock. He did not see the (Light vessel. The schooner on several occasions almost foundered, and everything movable was swept off the decks, together with the bulwarks. At the request of Captain Porter I lent him a boat. The only other request he made was Impracticable -namely, that I should tow him into Flinders Group. I took Mrs. Porter and child and transhipped them to the Duke of Port- land, at "Mrs. Porter's request. I sent a letter to Captain Makepeace, of the Duke o£ Portland, suggesting that he should try to communicate with the White Star as to the missing lightship. The beacons R and S are probably down, as they were not seen. I beg to forward this report, confirming my signals at Grassy Hill." " t ,. ,
In support of hlsstatement to the effect that it was impracticable to tow the Crest of the Wave into Flinders Group, the captain paid that if he had made a rope fast to her and started towing her with the sea that was running the dismasted schooner, which had all her bulwarks smashed in, would simply have gone under. _
THE PILOT'S STATEMENT,
ipilot Reid, who brought the Duke oC Norfolk down from Torres Straits, called upon the Portmaster yesterday, and gave h s account of what had -occurred. This is substantially the same as that of Captan Jenkins. The pilot states, with regard lo the luggers passed in the vicinity of Clare- mont IslandB, that they were so close that if any assistance.had been required, they couhThave asked for it by signs, and le was concluded that no help was needed, particularly as there were a number of
vessels of the ¡pearling fleet both at anchor i and under way, which could have given aid
if necessary. At Cape Melville, the Duke I was anchored all night near the dismasted
schooner Crest of the Wave, .and Captain' Jenkins rendered all the assistance in his, power. The pilot thinks it would have
been impossible to tow the schooner to ai better anchorage than that at which she lay. The Duke of Norfolk lent a boat at
Captain Porter's request, and took off Mrs | Porter and child, afterwards transhipping them to a vessel bound for Thursday Island,
as stated. The weather was very tempes- j tuous, and Captain Jenkins felt no little1 anxiety to do the best he could for the live3 and for the vessel intrusted to his own care. On arrival off Grassy Hill, Cooktown
every effort was made to convey the news, by Bignal to the station on shore, hut with-1 out success, aB the wind was heavy with rain squalls, and the light was failing.
Asked about this matter, Captain Almond
states that there is only one man at the] Grassy Hill signal station, and he Is cm-i vlnced thal everything that could be done by him was/done, as he is a very capable man. He/adds that the difficulty of takln» I signals under the circumstances described can only be understood by those who have had experience in the work.
TO THE EDITOR.
""Sir,-Having read " Humanity's." and " Voyager's" letters in your issue of yester- day and to-day, I should be glad if, in justice to Captain-Jenkins and the pilot, you would insert these few lines In your paper. In my opinion-ana I was also a passenger by the Duke of Norfolk-every help possible was pandered to the Creal of the Wave. Captain
Porter, 2 understand, wished to be towed to Flinders Island, but I fancy the very rough weather was decidedly afàinst risking ino Duke of Norfolk In euch a service. " Voy ager's" remarks on wrecks and peop'.e ashore must be accepted guardedly, as most ordi* nary travellers are apt to give free rein to their opinions of sea mattera, of which, as a rule, the>* know very little. I have no hesi- tation in saying that under the circumstances Captain Jenkins could not have acted other- wise than he did. " Humanity" remarks on the Insufficiency of the news signalled at Cooktown. It was Lite when the ship arrived, the light was bad, and the signalling ashore very slow ; consequently the message sent was necessarily brief. I do not think a boat could have gone ashore tbat evening, owing to the strong current of fresh water running out. In any case, I think more should be known of the facts before any definite
opinion can be formed in the matter.
-r am, I
air, &c, PASSENGER.
Brisbane, 17th March.