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From: "tony dalton" <>
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 00:48:10 GMT

There must be friends in Australia whose ancestors travelled in this ship.
This account of its wreck is from GGGPa's scrapbook and is dated December
2nd, 1865.

DUNCAN DUNBAR : Built by James Laing, Sunderland. Launched November 30th,
1853. Length 201 9, Beam 35, Depth of hold 22 7, 1320 grt. At the time,
was the largest ship to be built at Sunderland.

The ship left London, under Captain Swanson, on 28th August 1865 and
Plymouth on 2nd September 1865, with passengers and cargo for Sydney. On
the 7th October, 1865 she was wrecked on the reef Las Roccas 33.45 W., 3.52
S., on the coast of Brazil. She struck about 20:30. The Captain went in one
of the boats to take soundings around her but she had gone aground at high
tide. There were not enough boats to accommodate all the passengers and crew
so he determined to wait until daylight to see if there was any dry land to
which survivors could be taken by boat and raft. The passengers were in fear
because the vessel was rolling heavily and striking violently with each
roll. At daybreak on 8th October, the Captain succeeded in getting through
the breakers to a landing place on one of the two sand islets which rose
about 7 above ordinary high-water mark. Preparations were at once made to
transfer the passengers and crew to the spot, the passengers being lowered
in a chair over the stern because it was impossible to keep a boat alongside
due to the heavy rolling. By 07:00, all were landed. The islet was covered
with pig-weed but there was no water so this was ferried from the wreck.
Four of the five water-puncheons were lost, being stove-in by debris or
having drifted away. There were 117 persons on the reef. For the first two
days they had a pint of water each in temperatures of 112 degrees. A tent
was constructed for shelter. The islet was infested with land-crabs and
various vermin. They stayed on the islet for 10 days and during that period
had recovered from the wreck sufficient water and stores to serve a hundred
people for a hundred days.Captain Swanson had left, in the lifeboat, on
11th October, 1865, to sail towards Pernambuco. After making 120 miles he
was picked up by the American ship Hayara and dropped 15 miles from his
destination. There, he procured the assistance of the Oneida, Royal Mail
Steam Packet Co., which came to the island and took all hands safely to
Southampton. The Captain remained in Pernambuco.
Cheers, everyone.
Tony (Wales)

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