AN ANCIENT WRECK.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,-In Kingsley's story, Geoffry Hamlyn, occurs the following : -
"Down the coast here, under a hopeless black basaltic cliff, is to be seen the wreck of a very very old ship, now covered with coral and seaweed. I waited down there for a spring-tide, but could determine nothing save that she was very old ;
whether Dutch or Spanish I Know not. You English should never sneer at these two nations, they were before you everywhere. " And in a note-
"such a ship may be seen in the eastern end of Portant Bay, near the modern town of Port Fairy."
The remains of such a ship undoubtedly exist, but not in the place ruther inconse- quently described by the author. They are covered over by the hummock sand, but might easily enough, I think, be got at, and the condition of her timbers is far better than those of the Viking ship recently found in Norway after burial for nearly a thousand years. By the courtesy of Mr. J. A. Lynar of Queen street, Melbourne I am furnished with a sight bearing taken by the late Captain Mills, harbourmaster of Belfast, who gave it from recollection. Well to the eastward of Gorman's-lane, proceed eastward along the beach till you bring the point of land on
which the old ¡ron church stood in line with the highpst point of Tower Hill Island. The wreck would be almost in straight line with those objects well in the hummocks. I have also received a letter from Mr. R. Osburne author of the History of Warrnambool, enclosing a rough sketch ot the position of the wreck. Mr. Hugh Donnelly, of Laang, tells me that she was first seen in 1836, and that statements of natives 70 or 80 years old made at the time were to the effect that the wreck had been there since their childhood, had "always been there," and in the same condition as then, could not account for how she got there, nor was there any tradition about her. Captain Mills told Mr. Lynar that there was a tradition amongst the Yangery natives of
"yellow men" coming among them, but whence they came no one knew. There is evident room to theorise here at great length, and in a most satislaeiory manner.
Mr M. C. Donnelly, of Smeaton, mining surveyor, saw the timbers of the wreck as late as 1880. Captain Mason, of Belfast, wrote to The Argus in April 1876, on the subject. He thought her about 100 tons, and that she was built of mahogany or cedar. Other estimates give her 60 or 70 tons. All are agreed about her remarkable distance from the water's edge, estimates varying from 1 to 200 yards, also her great hight above the water up a hummock, in fact Mr. M C Donnelly says he thinks about 30 feet. Mr Hugh Donnelly describes her as lying "almost broadside on her stern, and "fast in the brow of the loose dry sand, on the edge of the natural verdure of the hummock. "
Now, it would seem that whether this ship came ashore with her crew,or was abandoned at sea, and drifted here, a search would probably result in brining to light some of her armament or stores, such at least of the heavier part as has not been distributed by the natives. In one way or other a portion of her secret could be wrested from her
A little expenditure would Ho doubt be repaid b) results in intillectiiiil exercise, also of an antiquarian, geographic, or histnue kind lhere is what I think we might venture to call "hietonc evidence ot her having been in her present position and state for more than a centiir) She is probably, therefore as the novelist Bays, ' aver), very old ship '
'Io the present the only attempts to acquire information about her have been made by two gentlemen, one of whe m tried to cut a piece from one ot her timbi ra with his pen killie, and failed owing to the extreme hard ness of tue timber, the other tailed from the annie eiusi, and bruin Ihe bia Je ot his knile And jet this wreck has Irom time tourne rouaed a e,ood de ii ot interest nnd curiosity She hat been evi r since 1830 known BS the foreign or Spanish, us she pro bubly is but wh) no one aeetus to know She l8 tin" centre one of three about eqni
distant-the onls wrecks of historic interest on an) pnrt of the Australian coast 1 he two other« nre Henl)'a ship the Ihutle 07 tons, on Relfast bench , the other the Luterprise, at Warrnambool
Any further inlormation in my possession will be placed at the disposal ot inquirers Mr. T. H. Osborne manager of the Warrnam- bool Steam Navigation Company, and Mr. H. A. C. Macdonald, town clerk, will also be glad to furnish any information in their power -I remain, &c. ,
Warrnambool, April IO,