Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb
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this page we will endeavour to list as many ships as possible
that have some sort of importance to the Richmond River
area. This page will be updated as information
comes to hand. We hope to eventually, where possible, add
passenger lists and images of the ships.
Adventure was a 101 tonn, timber schooner. She was built
in Hong Kong in 1850 & was wrecked on the Richmond
in about 1855.
The Alchymist was a 2 masted schooner of 54 tons she
was built in 1869 by Rock Davis, Brisbane Water, she
was bought by J & T Fenwick in 1873
and was wrecked 19 Jan 1878 - at Woody Head (just North
of Clarence Head) - the master was Captain Callaghan
- he was proceeding from Ballina to Grafton and found
to be taking too much water to continue & had to
run ashore to save lives the boat quickly broke up and
was carrying 20 000 feet of pine which was washed away.
The Alert was built in Pyrmont, NSW in 1851. She was
owned by Griffiths, Fanning & Co. She was a 66 ton
wooden schooner that was strangely enough, wrecked on
the north spit of the Richmond River in 1854.
The Alexandra was built in the Port of Melbourne in
1863. She was a wooden, 2 masted brigatine of 112 tonns
gross, owned by Alex Taylor & John Amos. She was
wrecked on the south spit on the evening of the November
7th 1865. The Alexandra was attempting to leave the
Richmond River bar, & sail to Melbourne, laden with
The Andrew Fenwick was a timber schooner of 74 tonns.
She was built on the Tweed River in 1875 & wrecked
in November of the same year, near Cape Byron while
on a journey to the Richmond with a cargo of flour.
The Anne Theresa was a timber schooner of 61 tons, built
on the Williams River, NSW. She was forced to run aground
on the beach at Byron Bay on 7th February 1981, after
bumping the Richmond River bar & springing a leak.
The Annie D was a wooden brigantine, built in 1868,
on the Port of the Manning River. She was 76 tonns gross
& was used for the coastal transportation of general
cargo, such as alcohol. She was sighted sailing towards
the Richmond River on 11th July 1868, but was lost in
a gale, her Master being, John Wilson.
The Athletic was a steam tug that replaced the Culloden
after it sank. It was owned by William Yeager of Coraki
and Captained by James Stanger. She was an iron steam
tug, of 43 tons. She was built in 1872 by Parkinson
& Meyer, Sydney -- for William Tudor Yeagor, sold
The Australasia was a steam vessel, lost after striking
an oyster bank, near the edge of the Richmond River,
close to Ballina. She sank on the 29th June 1929, but
was salvaged & re-registered in 1931.
The Australasian Leauge was a wooden schooner, built
in New Orleans, USA, in 1847. She was 91 tons &
owned my Mathews & Marsden. Unfortunately she was
lost on the north spit of the Richmond River bar on
5th September 1857, when her Master, William Walker,
was attempting to cross the bar.
The Australia was a wooden 2 masted schooner, built
in 1852 at Wiscasset, Maine, USA. She was 124 tons &
was a coastal cargo vessel, owned by William E. Short.
She was being towed to sea by steam-tug Challenge ---
6 am, 11 Feb, 1874 when the tow line parted -- struck
the bar & then drifted to south spit and was totally
wrecked. Her Master was Captain James Watson & she
was carrying 7 crew members at the time. The sails &
spare gear was removed & the wreck was sold to Mathius
The Branble was a 56 ton wooden schooner built at Moruya,
NSW. She transported cargo along the coast & was
carrying cedar at the time of her demise. It was while
on a voyage from the Richmond River to Sydney that she
was wrecked on 28th September 1840, 6 miles south of
Long Point, between the Richmond & Clarence Rivers.
At least two people died.
The Britania was a 55 ton wooden, screw, steamer. She
was built at Woodburn , on the Richmond River, in 1902,
by Oliver R. Jones. The Richmond River Shipping company
owned the vessel until 1945, when it was sold, damaged
by fire & subsequently abandoned at Ballina.
The Cahors was a steel screw steamer powered by a compound
engine. She was a 1254 ton passenger & general cargo
transportation vessel. She was built in Fife, Scotland,
by John Key & sons, in 1883 & owned by the Australian
Steam Navigation Company. Captain David Walker lost
her, on the reef at Evans Head, when travelling from
Sydney to Brisbane. About 200 passengers were on board.
The Callender was a wooden brigantine of 139 tons. She
was built in 1846 in Newport, USA & was owned by
William Wright. She was wrecked on 6th June 1881 when
Captain Curry was taking her from Melbourne to the Richmond
River. She was wrecked on rocks at the northern side
of the entrance to the Richmond River bar, when the
The Captain T. Fenwick was a screw steamer built in
Ballina in 1908. She was used for transporting coastal
passengers & also cargo. Captain Tom Fenwick, wrecked
her on 14 December 1915, in the Richmond River, 15 miles
south east of Lismore. She ran aground, but was refloated
& moved for restoration.
The Catherine Hill drifted onto the south spit on the
morning of 18/12/1866. She lost her rudder, anchor &
45 fathoms of chain plus other damage and was floated
off the spit on the afternoon tide.
The Challenge was the first tug on the Richmond River
- believed to have been in 1872, she was a paddle steamer
owned by A & J Brown of Newcastle and her Master
was Captain McIntyre.
The Champion was a 73 ton wooden schooner. She was built
at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada & owned by Mr
Brown. Captain C. Cross lost her when she struck the
Richmond River bar on 27th November 1860. She was attempting
to leave the Richmond, bound for Sydney.
City of Grafton
The City of Grafton was a screw steamer, mastered by
Captain Paulson. She was wrecked on The Richmond River
bar in September 1903 & was later refloated.
The Clara was a 40 ton wooden ketch, built in 1867 at
Brisbane Water by Benjamin Davies. She was owned by
Joshua Davies. She was wrecked i 1869 between the Tweed
& Richmond Rivers.
The Colleen Dhas was a wooden top sail schooner, of
103 tons and was built at Macleay River, Sydney 1875
- by David Elliot and was wrecked April 1883 - grounded
on Richmond bar.
The Columbine was a wooden schooner, built by James
Munn 1883, Sydney - 68 tons she struck the Richmond
bar -- creating a hole in the vessel -- wrecked inside
The Comet was a wooden screw steamer powered a by a
compound engine and was built in Stockton, NSW 1873
by Timothy O'Sullivan. She was 82 tons and served the
port of Ballina. She ran ashore between the channel
and North Head on 28/7/1887 and on the 19/3/1890 she
struck south spit of Richmond River while on way upriver
to Broadwater whilst carrying empty molasses casks (probably
to the Broadwater Sugar Cane Mill.
The Coquette was a 214 ton schooner, built on the Williams
River in 1883 by William Roderick and was owned by John
Henderson & Alexander Smith. She hit Richmond River
bar 1/5/1883 - no loss of lives - was refloated.
The Culloden was a paddle steamer that replaced the
Challenge. She was built in 1845, Scotland and was Mastered
by Captain Johnson. She was lost on the Richmond River
The Dragon was a wooden barquentine of 243 tons and
was built Newbury, USA in 1850. She was owned by Robert
Napier and was totally wrecked on Richmond River bar
The Harriett was a cutter and was wrecked in 1851 on
Richmond River bar.
A schooner called Hope was wrecked on the south spit
of the Richmond bar in June 1845. She ran ashore while
attempting to enter the river. The crew did manage to
rescue some of the cargo, but within 2 hours, the ship
had broken up.
The Josephine was a wooden, 2 masted schooner of 126
tons and was built in 1854 on the Manning River by Malcolm
& Newton for Joe Eyles & Fred Bacon. She had
the best sailing record around at one stage -- could
do a round trip from Ballina to Melbourne, fully freighted
both ways within 6 weeks. Captain Copeland was sailing
her from Sydney 18/11/1865 to Ballina. Ran aground on
the middle spit on 15/11 when entering Richmond bar.
A salvage was impossible, luckily there was no loss
of life and no cargo lost.
The Keystone was a woodern stern wheel paddle steamship
of 11 tons, 6 hp engine and was built in 1863 by Thomas
Stephenson Rountree & Co at Balmain, for William
Tudor Yeagor. She had a very shallow depth, so Coraki
- Casino transport was even possible when River level
was very low. In Dec 1890 the old paddle steamer broke
up on Richmond River.
Lizzie Blair was a wooden, 2 masted schooner of 51 tons
and was built 1856 by Benjamin Davis Brisbane Water,
and owned by James Blain. She drifted onto south spit
on the morning of 18/12/1866 with 5 other vessels. She
was floated off the spit that afternoon when the tide
came in & arrived safely at Sydney with her cargo
of pine.She was wrecked on 1/5/1869 when it drifted
onto south spit on entering the Richmond bar after a
voyage from Sydney, all the crew & cargo was saved.
Lorenza Sabine was a schooner that drifted onto the
south spit on the morning of 18/12/1866 with 5 other
vessels. She was floated off in the afternoon when the
tide came up.
Morning Herald, 6th February 1845
Northumberland, under the command of Captain Chandler,
left Sydney and arrived off the Richmond on the 7th
January and thinking there was sufficient water, they
stood for the bar. The sea was rather heavy, and none
of the crew being were familiar with the port, or bar
harbours, they did not comply quickly enough when the
captain issued orders, and she drove ashore on the South
Spit, within a few yards of the spot where the cutter
Esther was lost.
minutes after the schooner struck, she filled as the
butt-ends had started to separate as she had neither
sheathing nor copper on. The crew launched the boat,
placing, some stores, clothing, and other things in
her, which were landed with some difficulty, owing to
the surf. Whilst the boat returned to the wreck for
another load, people on shore stole everything that
had been left on the beach, breaking open the chests
belonging to the captain and stealing his clothes, books,
Chandler thought that the robbery had been committed
by some of the sawyers, as they could not find traces
of any natives on the sand.
Ranger was a wooden, 2 masted schooner, trader which
was built in 1837 at Brisbane Water. The owner was James
B. Elphinstone of Sydney. The schooner was wrecked on
the 7/11/1865 on the south spit whilst bound for Sydney
with a load of pine. Luckily there was no loss of life.
Copy of page originally transcribed by Mandy O'Neill (content remains unedited)
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