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3 corrections, most recently by doug.butler - Show corrections


From 'SEMAPHORE" Mr. A. T. Saunders   makes a mistake in his reminiscences. It was Pilot Benjamin Germein who was the hero at the wreck of the Admella, and many years after was

found drowned near to the Port Adelaide river. It was not "old Sam Germein" as he thinks fit to call him. Pilot Samuel Germein died at his residence, Hall street, Semaphore. From A. T. SAUNDERS:- As "Old Timer" writes, by a slip of the pen I wrote "Sam Ger- mein" instead of 'Ben' Germein (as the context shows I should have written— in fact, I was think- ing of 'Ben' Germein). As to the wreck, of the John Ormerod and Mr. Dagwell, 'Old Timer' is, I think, correct; and I have some recollection of having read about it , but in The 'Register of Oc tober 24, 1861, and the two following days, and also in The Border Watch, the name of Ben Ger mein alone is mentioned in connection with the wreck. I knew the three Germeins— John, Sam, and Ben; and their photos are in the Public Library among the old colonists, I also knew John Nathaniel Wills, who married their sister. He was a well-known Portonian custom officer, and he died on March 14, 1873. The Germeins were Plymouth fishermen, brought here in 1836 by the South Australian Company, who also brought out Capt. Wright for the fishery. John and Sam soon left the company. John became a Port Adelaide Pilot, and Sam master of the Government cutter Water Witch, and subsequently a pilot also. In 1851 John Germein was a lighterman, and in The Register of July 4, 1861, opposed the election of Mr. Giles, and attacked the South Australian Company. John Germein, Sen., came to South Australia in the Java in 1840. In March, 1844 he bought from the Government 40 acres of land for £40 10/, and established a blockmaking and pumpmaking factory somewhere about Mutton Cove. John Germein, sen., died aged 83 on April 23, 1869. The names of the three Germeins are scattered through the history of Port Adelaide and the two gulfs for over 60 years. John Ger mein resigned from the pilot service in May, 1870. Sam Germein, the discoverer of Port Ger mein in 1840, left the pilot service in connection with the collision of the City of Dublin and the Lubra about 1871. A petition from him to Par liament (Paper No. 147, of 1872) recites his his- tory and career. In' The Register of May 30, 1873, it is recorded how Sam Germein piloted the Queen of the Age, wheat-laden, from Port Pirie to the Althorpes, and left the ship in the dinghy Tiny Tot, in which he sailed to Troubridge. Ben Ger mein was a master mariner, and on January 9, 1848, arrived here from Mauritius in the schooner Emma Sherett, 92 tons. After that he was in a score of vessels, including the Government schooner Yatala, the Corios, and other steamers and the Meander or another Black Diamond liner. I last knew him as a harbour pilot Sam and Ben Germein did many brave deeds and saved several lives. On Sunday, April 20, 1856, the boat of The Register shipping reporter was capsized at the Semaphore; and, but for the brave and energetic efforts of Pilot Creer (father of Capt. Creer, of the Tug Company) and Pilot Sam Ger- mein, several lives might have been lost . What Ben Germein did at the wreck of the Admella is almost incredible, and The Register of Septem- ber 24, 1869, has an account of the presentation of medals to Louis Thomas and Ben Germein for their Admella services. I regret to say that I last saw Ben Germein's medal for sale in a Port Adelaide dealer's window. Parliamentary Paper   23 of 1847 says George Germein was pilot from 1840 for six years. I never knew George Ger- mein, and perhaps George is a misprint. They were three fine men with men's virtues and faults. The Register of July 28, 1853 records that Sam   Germein's fingers were cut off. The British Navy could do with 50,000 men such as John, Sam, and Ben Germein.