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List of subscriptions in the Admella Relief Fund
Title : List of subscriptions in the Admella Relief Fund List of subscriptions in the Admella Relief Fund
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Source : Adelaide observer, 1 October 1859, p. 1
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : John Stephens
Date of creation : 1859
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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The list of subscribers to the Admella Shipwreck Reward and Relief Fund is arranged by the names of the collecting agents or agencies. Contributions came in from various areas of South Australia, including Chandler's Hill, Barossa East, Burnside, Payneham and Willunga. The total of funds on this list is 2,249 pounds and sixpence.

The SS Admella was an iron hulled ship which was on its way from Adelaide to Melbourne when it hit a reef off South Australia's southern coastline on Saturday 6 August 1859. It took several days for two seamen who had made it to shore to then walk the 20 miles to the Cape Northumberland lighthouse.  The lighthouse keeper borrowed a horse and rode to Mt Gambier to raise the alarm.  Information then had to be telegraphed to Adelaide and Portland, Victoria.  Two rescue boats were sent out, the Corio from Adelaide and the Ladybird from Portland. The Corio wasn't able to reach the wreckage until Wednesday of that week.  Twenty survivors were still clinging to the wreckage. Most of the Admella's passengers and crew had already drowned in the heavy seas or died of thirst or exhaustion.

It took another three days, eight days after the shipwreck, for the lifeboat, Portland, working with the Ladybird, to crash through the heavy seas to complete the rescue. Repeated attempts  by the two larger ships had failed. In total, 89 lives were lost, including several of the rescuers. Women, men and children died. Families were destroyed. Working men lost the tools of trade, which also meant the loss of their livelihoods. 

Following the establishment of the first Admella Relief Fund on 27 August 1859, other communities throughout South Australia and Victoria established committees to raise money to assist the survivors and reward their rescuers. Money was collected in churches and in pubs, through District Councils and through responsible individuals. Sums donated ranged from 10 pounds to several of just one shilling. People gave what they could afford. All of the survivors received varying degrees of assistance from the fund.

Among the rescuers, the Portland lifeboat crew were rewarded as follows: Captain Fawthrop received a gold medal and 100 pounds; Coxswain W Rosevear recieved a silver medal and 50 pounds; and the 13 crew were given medals and amounts ranging between 12 pounds 10 shillings and 25 pounds.

A positive result of the wreck of the Admella was the rapid establishment of a lifeboat service in South Australia.

Coverage year : 1859
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Adelaide
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Loney, J. K. Admella North Geelong, Vic.: J.K. Loney, [1975]

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

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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