Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb

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On 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.

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The 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 cedar.

Andrew Fenwick
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.

Anne Theresa
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.

Annie D
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 in 1875.

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.

Australasian Leauge
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 Lewis.


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 wind dropped.

Captain T. Fenwick
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.

Catherine Hill
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.

Colleen Dhas
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 bar 1/2/1851.

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 bar 4/4/1872.


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 6/4/1869.


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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.


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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

The 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

The 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.


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Sydney Morning Herald, 6th February 1845

The 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.

Five 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, papers, &c.

Captain 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.


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The 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.


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Copy of page originally transcribed by Mandy O'Neill (content remains unedited)
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