DRAMA OF MOANA WRECK
The End Of The "Hoodoo Ship"
By N. F. GOSS
JUST 78 years ago, in the dark of a Sunday morning in 1855, the emigrant ship Nashwauk, Captain McIntyre
master, with 268 emigrants aboard, was heading up the Gulf towards Port Adelaide. The night was clear, with starlight and a fresh breeze, and one yellow point of light glanced across the water from the dark shadow of the land. At 4 a.m. the watch was changed. Clouds obscured the coast. Less than an hour later, the Nashwauk was aground off the mouth of a creek that wanders half-heartedly to the sea through the Moana sand hills. The "hoodoo ship" had reached her last resting place. In the 18 months since her launch ing in Nova Scotia, the Nashwauk had been once aground, once dismasted, and four times on fire before she left Liverpool on February 13 to meet her doom in the Antipodes on May 13. For half an hour after the Nash wauk struck the crew "made sail on her" in a desperate effort to get her canted off, but, although her sails were all drawing, the surf, pounding in about her, shook the wind out of them and left her helpless. There she re mained until the wind, setting in from the southward and westward next day. drove her firmly on the reef, which in those waters lies some six feet beneath the sand. Moana Relics TODAY, two relics mark the site of the wreck. On the bare hillside, about a quarter of a mile inland, lie the ruins of Dalkeith Farm, gazing out with empty windows over the waters of the Gulf. Here, in the '50's and '60's, lived Andrew Harriott, with whose life fate strangely ravelled the obsequies of the "hoodoo ship" and her master. The other relic is a rusty anchor, mounted near the Kiosk, perhaps the very one that, after half an hour's futile endeavor on board, the chief mate took out in the longboat at 5.30 a.m. He went ashore to enquire the rise and fall of the tides. In view of the deserted nature of the coast, it is scarcely likely that he enquired any where but at Andrew Harriott's farm. Probably, too, it was someone from the farm who, about daybreak, brought news of the wreck to Noarlunga. People Arrive On Beach ABOUT 10 a.m. people began to arrive on the beach. First came Hollins, landlord of the Horseshoe Inn and after him Richard Bosworth, JP, of Prior's Court. About this time the surgeon of the Nashwauk came ashore "tipsey," and set off for the inn where, some time later, Bosworth found him "incapable."
Bosworth returned to the beach and about 1 pm., at his suggestion, Mc Intyre began the disembarkation, as rough weather looked to be blowing up. Four hours later, all the women and children were "safe and well" at Noarlunga, where they were lodged at the inn and at four empty cottages belonging to local residents. The Noarlunga people treated them most hospitably, baking bread and killing and roasting sheep for them. By 10 pm, the Nashwauk was de serted, the captain and the crew coming to the township while the mates watched her, bulking blackly against the skyline, through the night. Ships To Rescue MEANWHILE, the news had reached Adelaide, and dawn on the Mon day found the steamer Melbourne and the Government schooner Yatala an chored off the wreck. After a futile morning spent in try- ing to re-embark the emigrants, none of whom would leave Captain Doug las, who was in charge, anchored his vessels under the reef, near the mouth of the Onkaparinga, and tried again from the Jetty. At length, against McIntyre's opposition, he induced 70 of the emigrants to go aboard the Mel bourne, and 30 on the Yatala. At even ing he weighed anchor in the Mel bourne, leaving the schooner to take on any others who wanted to leave. Those who remained on shore were taken buck to the inn by Captain Eger ton-Warburton, the Commissioner of Police, who arrived about dusk, and were taken to Adelaide in bullock drays on the Tuesday. Local Legends The locality has shrined the memory of the Nashwauk in a legend. It is a colorful tale, in which misleading shore lights, drunkenness on the ves sel, and misbehavior of the young women ashore blend delightfully. An drew Harriott figures as a smuggler, in the attic of whose house hung the misleading light. As to the charge of smuggling, it is impossible to say de finitely, but the records prove that, with the exception of the surgeon there was no case of drunkenness aboard. Further, the only reference to any shore light proves that it was visible when the vessel was several miles be low the spot where she struck, and that no one on deck was aware of it after 4 a.m. As to misbehavior, "The Adelaide Times" accuses the crew, and "The Re gister" the young women emigrants. There was obviously some rumor cur rent at the time, but as there is no later reference to it, and as the two sources disagree, it is possible that nothing happened that cannot be ex plained by the confusion natural to the occasion and the overwrought condi tion of the women. End Of "Hoodoo Ship" AS the days passed, the Nashwauk was seen to be breaking up. Al though apparently not damaged, she was ripped open below the waterline. and on Saturday, May 26. a coastal gale completely shattered her. One after another her masts went over the side, ripping her open and scattering her cargo to the waves. For a mile and a quarter the beach was strewn with wreckage. With the ex ception of the masts, spars, sails and boats, only a handful of things was saved. What remained was auctioned on the beach on May 31. The sale rea lised upwards of £600, the chance of cargo finding passing to Andrew Har riott for £65. He also bought the hull of the "hoodoo ship" for £70. So passed the Nashwauk. In the meantime, two boards had been convened to investigate various aspects of the Nashwauk wreck. After having heard certain evidence, both adjourned, because Mclntyre was too ill to attend the preliminary sessions. The enquiries were destined never to
Picture in article - Anchor from the ill-fated Nashwauk, after it had been hauled ashore. The bearded man is Mr. Robertson, owner of the land on which Dalkeith Farm stood.