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Wreck of the Admella
Title : Wreck of the Admella Wreck of the Admella
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Source : Adelaide observer, 20 August 1859, Supplement
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : John Stephens
Date of creation : 1859
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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The special supplement to the Adelaide Observer provides full details of the wreck of the Admella steamship on the Carpenter Rocks off Cape Banks 6 August 1859, and draws together accounts from several newspapers over the preceding weeks.

Lists are provided of the passengers and crew, both survivors and those who died. The cargo of the ship is also given. The supplement continues with descriptions of the many rescue attempts and of the tragic scenes witnessed by the survivors. Details of the many telegrams which notified authorities of the wreck and attempts to unify the rescue attempts are also provided. Notices of prayer meetings for the lost and the survivors are given, and the first moves for a rescue and relief fund.

SS Admella had sailed from Adelaide early on Friday, 5 August 1859, bound for Melbourne laden with 93 tons of copper; flour and general merchandise for the Victorian goldfields; seven horses, 87 passengers and a crew of 26. The ship was an iron single screw steamer of 392 tons, built in Glasgow in 1857. She had been constructed with water-tight bulkheads, riveted to the hull. These were designed as a special safety feature, but were ultimately the cause of her speedy breaking up when she grounded on the rocks off Cape Banks in the early hours of 6 August.

The remoteness of the wreck, coupled with the continued crashing of the waves over the reef and the ongoing poor weather and the design of the ship which severely weakened her hull were all factors in the low numbers of survivors: only 24 people survived the wreck. In the years immediately following the wreck the South Australian government stationed lifeboats and rocket crews on the south eastern coast.

Related names :

Admella (ship)

Ant (ship)

Lady Bird (ship)


Coverage year : 1859
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Cape Banks
Region : South East
Further reading :
Mossman, Samuel. Narrative of the shipwreck of the "Admella", inter-colonial steamer, on the southern coast of Australia drawn up, from authentic statements furnished by the rescuers and survivors Melbourne: Printed and published for the Committee of the "Admella" Fund by J.H. Moulines and Co., 1859
Mudie, Ian. Wreck of the Admella Adelaide: Rigby, 1966
Loney, J. K. Admella North Geelong, Vic.: J.K. Loney, [1975]
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Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing exhibitions. Wooden Walls and Iron Sides August 2004-



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