The COLLISION BETWEEN the BARRABOOL and BONNIE DUNDEE. :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>

The COLLISION BETWEEN the BARRABOOL and BONNIE DUNDEE.

Journal by janilye

The inquest on the body of Sarah Brown, one of the
victims to the collision between the Bonnie Dundee and
Barrabool, was concluded yesterday, the jury finding a
verdict of manslaughter against the captain and mate of
the Bonnie Dundee. The inquest was commenced on the
12th instant, and that day's evidence we published, but the
following day the Coroner made an order against the pub-
lication of the evidence until the conclusion of the inquiry,
so we were unable to record the evidence from day to day.
The following are the statements of the witnesses, with the
exception of those taken on the 12th, which we have
already published :-
Dr. Owen Spencer Evans deposed that on Tuesday he was
called to a house in Darling-street, Balmain, and there saw
the dead body of a woman, about fifty years of age, which
he recognised as that of a woman known to him by the
name of Sarah Brownhe examined tho body and found
no direct marks of violence ; froth was oozing from the
mouth and nostrils, and the body generally presented the
usual appearances of death by drowning; witness was of
opinion that death had been so caused.
Thomas Crawford deposed that he was chief officer of the
lost steamship, Bonnie Dundee, a screw steamer, trading
between Sydney and the Manning River; she left
Sydney at forty minutes past 1 o'clock on Monday
afternoon, the 10th instant, her destination being
the Manning River: when the vessel got clear
of the heads her course was shaped N. by E. half
E.; the weather was fine and clear, a light breeze blowing
from the northward and eastward until tho evening, when
the wind fell and it became calm; witness took charge of
the deck at 6 o'clock; the vessel was then steering the same
course; shortly after 6 o'clock the coloured side lights and
white masthead light were lit and slipped in their usual
places; the steamer was then going at the rate of seven or
eight knots, and was about two or two and a half miles off
the land; the vessel had not a full cargo and was not deep
in the water; she answered her helm readily; about half
past 7 o'clock witness saw a masthead light, bearing about
north by east and about two and half miles distant ; at the
same time that witness saw the light, the look-out man on
the forecastle reported "a vessel a-head; the strange
vessel appeared to be steering a S. S. W. course; at this time
the moon was up a little, and the night was fine and clear,
with smooth water and little or no wind; a few minutes
after the look-out man reported the vessel, witness saw her
red light; he then ordered the man at the wheel to keep the
vessel off a point, and her course was accordingly changed
to north-east by north; the Bonnie Dundee kept on this
course until witness saw the green light of the approaching
steamer, about five minutes after he saw the red light; at
this time the captain of the Bonnie Dundee was on the
bridge on deck, witness was also on the bridge; the quarter-
deck of the Bonnie Dundee was raised about two feet above
the main deck; her deck was about 120 feet in length, and
her tonnage was 130 tons; at the time the strange steamer
was approaching, the Newcastle light was in sight about 15
miles on the port bow of the Bonnie Dundee; immediately
on seeing the green light of the approaching steamer,
witness gave the order to put the helm hard-a-starboard, and
then when the two vessels got to within half-a-length of each
other, he saw that the stranger had altered her course, so
that her red light was again showing; the captain, who
was on the bridge at the time, ordered the man at the wheel
to keep the helm as it was, and then he gave the order to
stop the engines and go full speed astern, but by that time
the stranger was close on to them on the starboard side,
and immediately afterwards struck the Bonnie Dundee
amidships; the water began to pour in on the main deck,
and the vessel heaved ovor heavily to port; witness saw
some of the men jump on board the other steamer, and he
had tho ship's hoat lowered, and took charge of it; the
Bonnie Dundee sank almost at once, foundering about four
minutes after the collision; there were four lady pas
sengers on board the Bonnie Dundee; one of them was a
Mrs. Brown, whose dead body witness viewed on Wed-
nesday, in a house in Balmain, in the presence of
the Coroner and jury; after the Bonnie Dundee had
foundered, witness's boat was pulled alongside the
strange vessel, which was then ascertained to be
the Barrabool, and witness was taken on board,
after assisting in recovering the body of Mrs. Brown;
(witness here expressed a wish to make a correction in his
former evidence: when the mast-head light of the Barra-
bool came in sight, the Bonnie Dundee was steering
N.N.E.;) at the time of the collision, the engines of the
Bonnie Dundee were going astern, but the vessel had still
a little way on, probably about two knots an hour; witness
could not say exactly at what rate the Barrabool was
going when she struck the Bonnie Dundee, but she was
going at great speed, and she struck with great force;
witness did not hear any order given on board the Barra
pool; in his opinion, after the collision, everything that
could possibly be done to save life was done by both ships.
To Mr. Rogers: Witness did not see the green light of the
Barrabool first, but the red one; when ships met in a line
the rule was to keep red light to red light, or green to
green; when the ships met end on, each ship ported her
helm. To a juror: Witness held a certificate of master in
a coasting vessel from the Marine Board; when the captain
was on deck, the charge of the ship devolved on him.
;John Alexander Stewart stated that he was master of the
BonnieDundee which left Sydney on Monday afternoon for
the Manning River: the Bonnie Dundee was 121 tons register,
an 45-horse power; her length was about 20 feet, and her
full power of steaming 8 knots an hour; witness went on
deck about 6 o'clock in the evening, and at about a quarter
to 8 he heard the officer of the watch, who was on the bridge,
sing out to the man at the wheel "hard a starboard;"
witness rushed up on the bridge and saw a vessel's green
light; he then asked the man at the wheel how his helm
was, and the reply was that it was hard a starboard, and
witness ordered the seaman to keep it so; very shortly after-
wards the green light of the approaching vessel disappeared,
and the red light became visible; on perceiving this,
witness gave orders to stop the engines, and this was done,
and about a minute afterwards the stranger having ap-
proached to within fifty yards of the Bonnie Dundee, the
engines were reversed full speed astern; very shortly after
this the stranger struck the Bonnie Dundee amid-
ships on the starboard side cutting about four feet
into the deck and smashing the starboard life-boat;
at once a number of the crew rushed to the part
of the deck where the collision took place and climbed up
the bows of the Barrabool; witness, not knowing exactly
the extent of the damage sustained by his vessel, ordered
the engines full speed ahead in order to try and reach the
beach which was about two and a-half miles distant; after
giving this order he perceived the uselessness of such an
attempt, and stopping tho engines, gave orders to lower
a boat which was promptly done; by this time
the lady passengers, four in number, were on the
bridge with witness and he, cutting away the lifo buoys
gavo them to the ladies; as soon as the boat touched the
water and got rid of the tackling, the stewardess, who had
a child in her aims, threw it into the boat, and immediately
afterwards the vessel went down with witness and the four
women on the bridge, all the others having left the ship
either in the boat or by climbing up the bows of
the Barrabool. Between three and four minutes elapsed
from the time of the collision until the vessel went down;
there were 21 hands on board all told at the time of the
collision; witness did not know, there was a vessel in sight
until he heard the mate give the order "hard a starboard;'
it was not the duty of the officer of the watch to report a
vessel in sight, to witness unless he thought there was
danger; when witness first saw the light of the Barrabool
she must have been about 300 or 400 yards distant, and the
Bonnie Dundee was going at the rate of 7 knots an hour
when the collision occurred, the Barrabool was, in witness's
opinion, going at a speed of about 3 knots.
To Mr. Sly: In witness's opinion the vessel was properly
handled after the light of the Barrabool had been sighted
the steam whistle was not used; it was not customary to use
it on a clear night like that on which the collision occurred
when the red light of the Barrabool was sighted, it was too
late to port the helm of the Bonnie Dundee, as the former
vessel was almost on top of her; at the exact time of the
collision the Bonnie Dundee was almost stationary; there
was no time to get the passengers into the boat before the
vessel went down.
To Mr. Rogers: The Bonnie Dundee was heading about
north-west when she was struck; everything was done by
the Barrabool people to save life.
To Mr. Manning: Witness did not think, under the cir
cumstances, that there was any occasion for the chief officer
(to communicate with him before allowing the ships to come
so close together if the green light of the Barrabool had
continued in sight; witness had given the Herald news
paper a report of the occurrence; - he was in bed when the
reporter came, and the chief officer was in the room; wit
ness was the only man left on board the vessel when she
went down.
Henry Dose, able-bodied seaman of tho Bonnie Dundee
joined tho vessel on Monday last; he was at the wheel at
the time of the collision with the Barrabool; he went to
the wheel about 6 o'clock, when about twelve or fifteen miles
south of Newcastle; the vessel's course was thena north
by east half east; about 7 o'clock witness was directed
by the mate to change the course to N.N.E.; the
vessel had passed Bird Island when that order was given;
the N.N.E. course was continued until the red light of a
steamer, afterwards found to be the Barrabool, was sighted
about four miles distant, and bearing about north on the
port bow; on seeing the red light, the mato gave the order
to keep the vessel off a little, and accordingly witness kept
her off another point, her course then being north-east by
north; that course was kept until the Barrabool, when
nearly abreast of the Bonnie Dundee, showed her green
light; the mate then gave the ordor, "Hard a starboard,'
and witness brought the vessel round till her head was
about north-west; the Barrabool was then almost on top of
them, and showing her red light, and immediately after
that she struck the Bonnie Dundee on the starboard side;
the captain went on the bridge about 10 minutes before the
collision took place; when the vessel waa struck, the captain
shouted, "look out for yourselves;" if the Barrabool
had not altered her course there was sufficient room for her
to have passed between the Bonnie Dundee and the land.
John Petersen, seaman of the Bonnie Dundee, was look-
out man on the forecastle when the collision occurred; he
went on the lookout about 6 o'clock; between 7 and 8
o'clock, while on the lookout, he sight a bright masthead
light, which appeared to be straight ahead; about five or
ten minutes after sighting the masthead light the red light
of the vessel came in sight; witness reported the light to
the officer in charge of the deck, and he said " All right:"
witness continued on the lookout on the forecastle, and soon
afterwards, when the vessels began to near one another the
red light disappeared and the green light came in sight
almost immediately after the green light of the approaching
vessel come in sight she ran into the Bonnie Dundee; when
first witness sighted the masthead light it was about two or
three miles off.
To Mr. Rogers: Witness did not notice whether the
Bonnie Dundee slackened speed; he could not tell that,
being forward.
To Mr. Monning: Witness did not see the red light of
the Barrabool a second time; he was looking at the Barra-
bool from the time she showed the green light until the
collision occurred; he climbed the bows of the Barrabool
after the collision.
To the Coroner: Witness heard the steam-whistle
sounded on board the Bonnie Dundee; there was so much
confusion and excitement that he could not tell whether a
bell was rung or a whistle sounded on board the Barrabool;
but he was quite certain that the whistle sounded on board
the Bonnie Dundee.
Thomas Crawford, recalled, deposed that when he first
saw the green light of the Barrabool it was on the port bow
of the Bonnie Dundee, nearly straight ahead; he lost the
red light, and a minuto or two afterwards saw the green
light; from the position the steamers were in to one
another, a slight movement of the helm would have caused
the change of lights; when he first saw the green light the
Barrabool was about her own length off; there was nothing
in the relative positions of the two vessels that would have
led witness to apprehend danger until he saw the green
light of the Barrabool.
John Charles Simmons, chief engineer of the Bonnie Dundee,
was attending, to the engines of the vessel when the collision
took place on Monday night; about a quarter to 8 o'clock
that evening he received an order by telegraph to stop, and
then "full speed astern" ; he obeyed both orders without
any delay; about a minute after he received the latter
order he felt a shock, and almost immediately afterwards
received the order "full speed ahead," quickly followed by
"stop"; after stopping the second time he went on deck,
and found the vessel sinking.
Henry Dose rocallcd: When he first saw the Barrabool
he saw the red light and the mast-head light.
To a juror: At the time he first saw the red light he did
not see the green light; when the mate saw the red light he
told witness to keep off a little, and witness then ported his
helm, which would have the effect of showing the red light
more; about a quarter of an hour elapsed between the time
witness first saw the red light, and the timo he received the
order "hard a starboard" he did not see the greenlight till
he got the order, "Hard-a-starboard;" if the Bonnie
Dundee had kept the course she was on before that order
had been given the Barrabool would have struck her on the
port bow; witness did not hear the lookout man sing out,
but that would be accounted for by the fact that he
(witness) was standing alongside the steam funnel, and the
noise from that would probably drown the shout of the
lookout man; witness got on board the Barrabool by the
bows.
Hercules Dalzell, one of the seamen of the Bonnie
Dundee, first saw the Barrabool's masthead light bearing
on the port bow about two points and about three miles
distant; he next saw the red light and some time after-
wards the green light almost abreast of the Bonnie Dundee;
as soon as he saw the green light, he heard the order given
by the mate, "Hard-a-starboard," and directly afterwards
the Barrabool ran into the Bonnie Dundee, which sank
about three minutes after the collision.
To Mr. Want: The first time that the vessel's helm was
shifted it was to starboard; witness was sure that it was
not ported before it was put to starboard; he could not say
whether the helm was not ported when the Barrabool's
red light was first sighted; it might have been at that time
without his noticing it.
To Mr. Sly: After the vessel's helm had been put to
starboard witness again saw the Barrabool's red light before
the collision.
To Mr. Manning: When the Barrabool's green light first
came in sight witness was forward on deck; if no other
change had been made from that time in the course of either
vessel, witness did not think there could have been a colli-
sion; after he first saw the green light of the Barrabool the
latter vessel appeared to change her course, and then her
green light came in sight; he heard the look-out report the
masthead light.
John Redmond Clarke deposed that he was master of the
screw steamer Barrabool trading between Melbourne,
Sydney, and Newcastle; she left Newcastle on the evening
of Monday, the 10th instant, clearing Nobby's Head at
half-past 6 ; it was a beautiful clear, moonlight night, with
a light north-easterly, wind blowing and the water
smooth; after clearing Nobby's the vessel's course
was shaped S.S.W. by compass, and that course
was kept until half-past 7, when it was changed
to S. by W. three-quarters W.; when the course was
altered the vessel had gone about ten miles; a quarter-of'
an-hour after leaving Newcastle the second mate took
charge of the deck; witness also was on deck; about twenty
minutes to 8 o'clock a masthead light was reported; witness
looked over the side and saw a masthead light about two
points on the starboard bow, and about 3 miles distant; a
few minutes afterwards he sighted a green light
he then spoke to the mate asking him if that
was not a green light the stranger was showing, the
mate replied in the affirmative, and witness then ordered the
man at the wheel to starboard the helm a little; the order
was hardly given, and was not executed, when the mate
drew witness's attention to the fact that the approaching
steamer (which afterwards turned out to be the Bonnie
Dundee) was showing her red light; witness then counter
maned his former order to the steersman, and gave the
order " hard-a-port," which was immediately obeyed
the light of the Bonnie Dundee, now about half
a mile distant, disappeared across the Barrabool's
bow; witness telegraphed to engine-room, "Stop her," and
directly afterwards, from the position of the Bonnie Dun
dee's light, thinking that they were going all clear, he was
about to telegraph to the engine-room to start her ahead
again, when suddenly the green light of the Bonnie Dundee
came in sight, and all three lights were in sight, revealing
that the vessel was bearing down right upon the Barrabool
witness instantly telegraphed the engineer, "Full speed
astern," and proceeded to blow the steam-whistle, several
times, at the same time the red light of the Bonnie Dundee
went out of sight, showing that she was bearing up towards
the bow of the Barrabool; immediately afterwards the
vessels collided, and witness gave orders to lower a boat
which was done without any delay; the boat was manned
by the chief mate and two seamen, who were instructed to
pull with all speed to the Bonnie Dundee, then in a sinking
condition on the starboard bow of tho Barrabool; witness
ordered the engines to go slow ahead, and when
his vessel had approached to within fifty yards
of the Bonnie Dundee, the latter went down; the
Barrabool was then stopped among the wreckage, and three
life buoys and some cork fenders were thrown overboard in
case there should be any person in the water; the boat of
the Barrabool, accompanied by that of the Bonnie Dundee
soon came alongside, and witness shouted out to them to
know if all hands were saved; receiving no answer
he went on the main deck, and hearing someone say there
had been four women on board, looked over the rail and in
quired if there were any women in the boats; the reply
was "no," and witness ordered the chief mate to go
back and see if he could find any one floating; the Bonnie
Dnndee's boat was also ordered away for the same purpose;
soon the chief mate of the Barrabool returned with a lady in
his boat; she was got on board, and though she appeared
to be quite inanimate, efforts were made to endeavour to
restore animation for more than an hour and a half, but
without avail: after bringing the lady on board, the boat
returned to search among the wreckage, but no one else was
found and witness asked Captain Stuart if he thought there
was any use staying longer; Captain Stuart replied that he
thought everv thing possible had been done, and after the
damage which had been done to the Barrabool's bow had
been repaired as well as could be under the circumstances,
the vessel proceeded on her course to Sydney; about a
hour and a half elapsed between the foundering of the
Bonnie Dundee and Barrabool's resuming her voyage to
Sydney. To Mr. Want: The look-out man of the Barra
bool was on the top-gallant forecastle, and to prevent any
mistake being made by the look-out man, the signals were
given by bells; there was nothing to interrupt witness's
view-nor that of the mate, the look-out man, or the man at
the wheel; there were passengers on board the Barrabool,
two of them-Mr. and Mrs. Lovell-were on the saloon
deck; when two bells, the signal of the Bonnie Dundee
coming in sight, were struck, Mr. Lovell asked
if that was 8 o'clock, and witness replied
"No, it is a light on the starboard bow;"
when first the Bonnie Dundee was sighted, if each
vessel had kept on her course they would have cleared each
other by a good half-mile; witness gave the order "star-
board a little to clear them a little more, but before the
order was obeyed the red light of the Bonnie Dundee came
in sight (here the models were again brought into use, and
at this time and throughout the remainder of his evidence
the witness explained the positions and manoeuvres of the
two vessels by their aid); seeing that the red light of the
Bonnie Dundee was on the starboard bow of the Barrabool
it was the duty of the latter to keep clear, and accordingly
witness had the helm put to port aud stopped the engine
and supposing they had gone on as they were then, they
would have passed each other quite clear; the green light
of the Bonnie Dundee, however, then came into sight; the
evidence of some of those on board the Bonnie Dundee had
stated that the green light of the Barrabool was seen
by them after they sighted her red light, but that was
quite impossible, as the Barrabool was on her port
helm after it was first ported; it was not true that after
showing her red light to the Bonnie Dundee the Barrabool
came across and showed her red light; when the
vessels collided, the Barrabool's speed was under a mile an
hour; the Bonnie Dundee was going about five or seven
miles; if the Bonnie Dundee had stopped her engines
the same time as the Barabool did there would have been
no collision, as the two vessels would not have reached one
another; the damage to the Barrabool was on the port bow,
about 20 inches from the stern, and was caused by the
Bonnie Dundee tearing across the Barrabool's bow; if the
Bonnie Dundee had not been going so fast she would not
have made the hole in the Barrabool's bow that she did.
To Mr. Sly: The Bonnie Dundee was about 3 miles
distant when witness first sighted her masthead light, and
about a mile distant when her green light was first seen
witness would positively swear that, at the time of the
collision, the Bonnie Dundee was going at a rate of about 5
knots an hour, and the Barrabool was going at a rate of less
than one mile an hour; immediately after the collision the
Barrabool had stern way on; when first the red light of the
Bonnie Dundee was sighted the vessels were about three
quarters of a mile apart.
To Mr. Manning: The masthead lights of each vessel
would probably have been sighted by the other at about the
same time, but the Bonnie Dundee would most likely have
sighted the side lights of the Barrabool before her own
lights could have been visible to the latter, as the moon was
rising and was putting the Bonnie Dundee's lights in the
shade; witness had heard the examination of the mate
the Bonnie Dundee; he (the mate of the Bonnie Dundee)
did port his helm in the first instance, and then after showing
a red light put his helm hard-a-starboard, and as a
matter of fact the helm of the Barrabool was first put a little
a-starboard and then hard-a-port; if the mate of the Bonnie
Dundee was right in saying that when he first sighted the
Barrabool, she was two miles on his port bow, that would
put the Bonnie Dundee about a mile further out to sea than
she really was; the Barrabool was about three miles out
from land when she first sighted the Bonnie Dundee.
To a juror: The Barrabool's full speed is ten knots an
hour; after giving the order to stop, if the engines were
reversed full speed astern, she would go about one-third of a
mile before she stopped altogether; there was a rule of the
road that when ships are meeting end-on, all lights being
in view, each vessel must port; that was the only case in
which that rule held good; when witness gave the order to
stop the engines immediately before the collision, it was
not, he considered, an error of judgment; if he had not
dono so the Bonnie Dundee would have run into the Barra-
bool; when witness gave the order "stop" the Barrabool
was going about 10 knots an hour; he did not think he
could have got ahead of the Bonnio Dundee by going full
speed ahead; when the Bonnie Dundee's red right was on
the Barrabool's starboard bow, it was the Barrabool's duty
to give way, and the Bonnie Dundee should have held on
her course.
Arthur Nelson Pidcock, second mate of the Barrabool,
with a master's certificate, was in charge of the deck when
the masthead light of the Bonnie Dundee was reported;
on looking at the light he saw it was bearing two
points on the starboard bow, and about 4 miles distant;
about 10 minutes after sighting the masthead light
of the Bonnie Dundee, the green light became visible ;
Captain Clarke who was on deck asked what lights
the steamer was showing, and witness replied, " Green, but
burning indistinctly ;" the captain replied, "Yes, oh yes,"
and then gave orders to the man at the wheel to starboard a
little; this order was scarcely given before the Bonnie
Dundee showed a red light; witness mentioned the fact to
the captain, who immediately had the helm put hard-a-port,
and gave the ordor to stop the engines; very soon after the
engines had been stopped the Bonnie Dundee showed both
her lights, but the red light soon went out of sight and the
green light showed close on the starboard bow of the Barrabool,
which at that time was going very slowly; shortly
afterwards the two vessels collided; tho Bonnie Dundee
appeared to have a pretty good speed; when the collision
took place the Barrabool's boat was lowered and sent away
to render assistance; after being absent someo time, the
boat returned with the body of the deceased Mrs. Brown;
after hanging about the scene of the wreck for over an hour
the vessel continuod on her course to Sydney.
To Mr. Waut: From the position of the Bonnie
Dundee when first she was sighted, it would have
been impossible for her to have seen the red light of the
Barrabool, and if the mate of the Bonnie Dundee had stated
that the gresn light of the Barrabool was the one first
sighted he would be correct; witness had read a report in
the Echo of the 11th instant, with reference to the mate's
statement about his seeing the green light of the Barrabool
first-that was correct; if the Bonnie Dundee had not
ported, the two vessels would have passed one another about
half a mile distant; t was only the Bonnie Dundee star-
boarding after her porting that brought her across the bows
of the Barrabool; it was untrue that the Barrabool after
porting her helm ever showed her green light to the Bonnie
Dundee; the Barrabool had not more than half a knot way
when the collision took place; the Bonnie Dundee appeared
to be going over four knots.
To Mr. Sly: Witness did not hear the Bonnie Dundee
blow her whistle at all; when first the green light of the
Bonnie Dundee came in sight the two vessels were about a
mile distant; the engines of the Barrabool were stopped on
the red light of the Bonnie Dundee becoming visible; witness
was of opinion that, according to the regulations of the
Navigation Act, the Bonnie Dundee was the vessel which
should have kept on her course while the Barrabool was the
giving way vessel, consequently the Bonnie Dundee should
not have altered her course.
Thomas Crawford recalled, in answer to a question as to
whether he had given a report of the occurrence to a reporter
of the Echo newspaper, stated that some persons had come
to him two or three hours after he arrived in Sydney,
and he gave them some account about the ships; he did not
know what he said to them; he could not say whether they
told him they were reporters for a paper; he could not say,
so far as he was aware of, that he gave the statement to the
reporters that appeared in the Echo of March 11th, he never
saw any account of the occurrence in the Echo.
To Mr. Sly: Witness was in the Caledonian Hotel when
they came and asked him some questions; he gave them no
written account ; it is not a fact that he first saw the green
light; he could not possibly have said so to a reporter ; he
did not say so; he could not say whether an account
appeared in the Evening News about the same time; ho did
not take notice of any newspapers; he was quite sober when
he made the statement in the Caledonian Hotel.
John Tucker, able seaman on board the Barrabool, went
to the wheel a few minutes after clearing Nobby's Head;
about an hour afterwards witness saw the mast-head light
of a steamer on the starboard bow, which had been signalled
by the lookout; she appeared to be running an opposite
course to that of the Barrabool; some time afterwards the
mate reported the green light of the steamer, and the
captain gave tho order, "starboard a little" ; witness was
just obeying that order when the mate reported a red light,
and the captain ordered the helm "hard a-port"; witness
obeyed the order, and, as he did so, saw the red light of the
Bonnie Dundee on the starboard bow; when the Barrabool
came round in answer to her helm, both the side-lights of
the Bonnie Dundee came in sight, and the red one disap-
pearing, she crossed the bows of the Barrabool; the captain
ordered the engines to stop, and a minute after gave "full
speed astern "; before the Barrabool had completely lost her
way, she struck the Bonnie Dundee amidships.
To Mr. Want: The helm was not put astarhoard at all
after it was ported; if any of the witnesses on board the
Bonnie Dundee had sworn that they saw the green light
of the Barrabool after having seen the red light, they
would have stated what was untrue; witness thought
that the Bonnie Dundee had more way on at the
time of the collision, but he would not swear to it;
it was about two or three minutes from the time witness
first saw the red light of the Bonnie Dundee until he saw
both lights, and about the same time between when the two
lights first showed and the collision.
William Lovell deposed that he was a passenger on
board the Barrabool at the time of the collision; he was on
the saloon deck of the Barrabool when the Bonnio Dundee
was first sighted, and on hearing the bell struck asked
if it were 8 o'clock, but the captain replied that it
was a vessel on the starboard bow; tho captain then
went to the starboard side of the vessel and look-
ing over said, "she is showing a green light;"
and then gave the order to the steersman "starboard a
little;" shortly after the mate on the bridge reported that
the vessel was showing a red light in place of the green,
and Captain Clarke gave the order "hard a port;" a few
minutes subsequently someone said that the vesssel was
showing a green light again, and the captain said "where
is she coming to ?" a few minutes after that the collision
took place; witness saw the white mast-head light of the
Bonnie Dundee when it was reported, and very soon after-
wards saw the green light; it was immediately after the
Bonnie Dundee showed the red light that the Barrabool's
engines were stopped.
To Mr. Want: He never heard any order given to star-
board the helm after the order to port it had been given ;
when he first saw the light of the Bonnio Dundee he had
no fear of a collision; there was no confusion on board the
Barrabool; Captain Clarke was very calm and cool, and
appeared to be exercising his judgment calmly.
Charles Wilson, able seaman on board the Barrabool, was
on the look out when the collision occurred; he saw the
masthead light of the Bonnie Dundee and reported it by
striking two bells, which signalled "a light on the starboard
bow;" when he first sighted it the light was two points
on the starboard bow and about four or five miles
distant; the vessel appeared to be steering in an
opposite direction to the course of the Barrabool;
about seven minutes after the masthead light was
sighted the green light became visible; several minutes
after the green light first came in sight, it disappeared, and
the red light took its place; Captain Clarke then sang out
"Hard a-port," and the Barrabool went round until the
red light of the Bonnie Dundee was on her port bow;
directly after that, both the Bonnie Dundee's side-lights
became visible, and then the red light disappeared, and the
Bonnie Dundee crossing the bows of the Barrabool, was
struck amidships, and shortly afterwards sank.
To Mr. Sly: The Barrabool was forging ahead very
slowly when the two vessels collided.
To the Foreman: The Bonnie Dundeo must have been
going at a rate of 4 or 6 knots an hour when she was crossing
the bows of the Barrabool.
Thomas Ashford, an able seaman belonging to the Barrabool,
was on the after part of the saloon deck when the
Bonnie Dundee's light was signalled; directly after the
light was signalled witness looked at the time and saw it
was twenty minutes to 8; shortly afterwards the officer on
the bridge reported a red light, and then witness went to the
assistance of the man at the wheel, and caught sight of the
red light bearing about two points on the starboard bow; as
soon as the mate announced the red light the captain gave
the order "hard-a-port;" the helm was put hard-a-port
and kept so until the collision took place.
To the Foreman: The Bonnie Dundee seemed to be going
very fast when she crossed the Barrabool's bows.
Isaac Wagland, second engineer of the Barrabool, was in
charge of the engine room when the collision occurred,
the chief engineer being off duty at that time; some time
between half-past seven and a quarter to 8 o'clock the
telegraph signalled "slow"; witness obeyed the order,
and then the telegraph signalled "stop" and "full speed
astern " in one order; the engines were at once stopped and
reversed, and about two minutes afterwards there was a
shock as if the vessel had struck something.
To Mr. Sly: If the Barrabool were going full speed
ahead, and the engines were stopped and reversed, it would
take two or three minutes before tho steamer would be
stopped.
William H. Dick, a reporter on the staff of the Sydney
Morning Herald, remembered hearing a rumour on the
night after the 10th instant that the Barrabool and Bonnie
Dundee steamers had collided; and in consequence of this
rumour he made inquiries to ascertain the truth of the
report; he saw the man before the Court, who
gave his name as Thomas Crawford; he stated
that be was the chief officer of the Bonnie Dundee;
the man giving his name as John Stewart was
present when witness interviewed the chief officer;
they were in the bedroom of an hotel, and Stewart,
who stated that he was the master of the Bonnie
Dundee, was lying on a bed; witness got the mate's state-
ment, which was to the effect that he was in charge of the
vessel at the time of the collision, that he saw the green
light about two miles ahead, and that he steered his vessel
so os to show his own green light: that suddenly he saw a
red light exhibited, and that soon after that Bonnie
Dundee was 'struck amidships on the starboard, the
captain was present when the mate made the statement
and did not contradict it in any way.
To Mr. Want: Witness reduced the mate's ?? to
writing; he went back a second time (after he to??
of the mate's statement), in company with the ??
reporter, in order that he might heur the stat ??
had a greater knowledge of nautical matters ??
was possessed of; the same statement was made and
time as had been on the first occasion; which he took
down the statement in shorthand and t?? it
into writing; he saw it afterwards in print it
was correct; the fifth paragraph after the ??
of the occurrence in the Echo of March ll, citing
" The chief officer of the Bonnie Dundee states, ??
ing with the words " escaping the suction,' was ??
ment made to witness by the mate; the same ??
wards appeared in the Herald of March 12th; ??
never asked to contradict these statements, nor ever
heard of any complaints about their being incorrect took
down the mate's statement in shorthand; ??
sitting in the same room with the captain; ??
very little about shipping matters, and the ??
to him what the three lights were.
To Mr. Manning: The mate did not appear under
the influence of liquor.
Thomas Crawford recalled : Had been ??
Sydney and the north for about 10 years; he ??
course steered by the Bonnie Dundee ??
particular occasion; it was the course generally used
in fine weather; the Bonnie Dundee was bound for the
Manning River, and had gone the same trips ??
18 months: when witness first saw the Barrabool ??
light she was about 225 yards off ; if he had seen ??
light on his port bow it would have been his duty ??
on his course, but he did not see her green light ??
bow; he saw it almost ahead; the Barrabool ??
been 1 or 2 points on the port bow when she ??
her red light; sometimes a couple of minutes ??
tween the time of losing one light and sighting the other;
it was a fact that the losing of one light necess??
immediate picking up of the other; when the ??
was first sighted it was ahead, but was if anything ??
on the port bow; as soon as witness saw the green he
put his helm to starboard; Witness had had no ??
the captain; there was no confusion or quarrelling on board
the Bonnie Dundee before she left the wharf; as ??
captain had heard the order 'hard-a-starboard," ??
up on the bridge and took charge; witness never ??
sounding the steam whistle; if he had not given ??
"hard-a-starboard," he believed the Barrabool would have
run into them on the port side.
John Alexander Stewart, recalled, stated that he had
been trading to the north for about twelve ??
course the Bonnie Dundee steered was, under the circum
stances, the proper course to steer; had heard ??
the Herald reporter, give his evidence; was present on the
11th instant when the chief officer gave him an account of
the collision; the report in the Echo of the llth instant
was not a correct report of what the mate told the reporter;
the orders that witness gave-"Stop her," " ??
astern "-wereo given, the one immediately after that.
To. Mr. Manning: When the reporter came witness was
too unwell to notice what took place; he did not ??
the mate said to the reporter, but he knew that he ??
say what afterwards appeared in the Echo.
To Mr. Want: There was no break between the orders,
"Stop her" and "Full speed astern;" witness ??
ously sworn there was a break of a minute between;
he did not consider that when the order "hard-a-starboard"
was given it was a serious thing, although he had previously
stated it was; there was no great probability ??
when the helm was starboarded; there might have been a
little danger.
To Mr. Want: The Bonnie Dundee was steering ??
close in to shore to avoid currents; she kept within ??
or three miles from the coast, and went from point ??
it was the general practice for coasting steamers going
south to go outside steamers going north; if witness ??
miles from Bird Island, and had the Barrabool been ??
out he would stand a pretty good chance of seeing ??
light.
The foregoing being all the evidence that was ??
anent the collision, the Coronor stated that previous ??
jury retiring to consider their verdict they would be
addressed by Mr. Manning, the legal rcpresentative of the
Crown. It had hitherto been his custom not to permit any
lawyers to address the jury, but in the present case
would follow the precedent offered lately in England ??
inquest on the body of the victims in the collision of Her
Majesty's yacht Misletoe, when the Crown Prosecutor
summed up and addressed the jury. Mr Manning accordingly
proceeded to review the evidencee,
and summed up greatly against the officers of
the Bonnie Dundee. He remarked that, in that
place, the jury were to consider whether the collision was
the fault of the Bonnie Dundee or the Barrabool. Accord-
ing to the evidence of the officers and crew of the Barra-
bool, the Bonnie Dundee was entirely to blame for the
occurrence, for she had twice offended against the regula-
tions of the Navigation Act in not holding to her course
when her green light, was to the Barrubool's green light,
and, subsequently, when red light was to red light,
of which positions she should have hold on her course. He
also pointed out that even by the showing of the Bonnie
Dundee's own men, she was in fault in crossing the Barra-
bool's course the second time. If the jury took the view
that the Bonnie Dundee committed a breach of the regula-
tions, they must further decide who was actually to
blame for the act, and return a verdict accordingly.
The jury were then left to consider their verdict
and after a deliberation of an hour and a half
returned the following verdict:-" We find that
the deceased, Sarah Brown, came by her death
on the night of the 10th instant by drowning, the result of a
collision between the steamer Bonnie Dundee and
the steamer Barrabool, in the former of which she was at the
time a passenger, which collision was brought about by the
gross negligence of the first mate of the Bonnie Dundee,
Thomas Crawford, and Captain John Alexander Stewart
of the same vessel; and we consequently return a verdict of
manslaughter against the said Thomas Crawford and John
Alexander Stewart." The Coroner accordingly proceeded
to commit the prisoners to take their trial at the next sittings
of the Central Criminal Court. Bail was allotted to
each prisoner in 300, with two sureties of 150 each.
Before the Court broke up the Coroner, in the warmest
terms, expresscd his thanks to the jury for the ??
careful, and intelligent way in which they had investigated
the case. He entirely concurred with them in their verdict
and he had much pleasure in stating his conviction that
was as good and true a verdict as could have been given
Source:
The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 22 March 1879
Page 6
Transcription, janilye
NOTE: This newspaper article is badly creased down the
right hand side; for the parts
unreadable I've used question marks.
Mrs. Sarah Brown wife of David Brown of Balmain was 53 and
came from County Derry,
Ireland.


Below is The steamer Barrabool in Duke's Dock after the collision.

Surnames: NONE
Viewed: 1124 times
by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2014-07-21 05:25:31

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:

Comments

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.