Diving the Historic PS Clonmel Wreck

Picture becoming woken by the unexpected jolt of the ship as it strikes a sand lender touring at 10 knots for each hour. The wooden ship shudders beneath you and then will come to a grinding halt. Imagine the panic, the confusion and the emotion of stress as you stumble out of mattress and hurry up on deck. Thick mist surrounds the ship but you can plainly see the waves that crush throughout the shallow sandbank, each and every a person lifting the vessel bigger upon the bank.

This describes the knowledge of these traveling on board the paddle steamer PS Clonmel, as it ran aground on its voyage from Sydney to Port Phillip (now Melbourne) in the early hours of the early morning on the 2nd of Jan 1841. The ship and its thirty-8 travellers and forty-two crewmembers were being firmly caught and nothing, not even throwing cargo overboard was going to lighten the ship. There was nothing still left to it, the ship experienced to be deserted.

Captain Tollervey coordinated the hard work and by the afternoon transferred all on board and some provisions ashore to a makeshift camp. Though everyone was out of fast hazard, this was not the conclude of their problems they were stranded and surrounded by wild, rugged and unexplored place, in a single of the most distant parts of the younger colony.

The PS Clonmel was a two masted, schooner rigged paddle steamer and was the initially steamer to sail in Australian waters. The ship was one of the last wooden steamships built in England before iron turned the dominant product made use of and as these it signifies the peak of wood shipbuilding technologies. The ship was a complete wreck and reasonably little was salvaged off the vessel around the years, which can make this shipwreck a important site and worthy of the greatest amount of safety. The wreck is also historically major as it acted as a catalyst for the opening up of the Gippsland region to trade and pastoral settlement, as the wreck transpired just off the entrance of a deep harbor that turned Port Albert. As such a 50m Guarded Zone was declared close to the wreck and entry to it involves a allow from Heritage Victoria.

I was blessed sufficient to join the Maritime Heritage Unit of Heritage Victoria when they were being performing field work on the web-site. Heritage Victoria team frequently take a look at the site in purchase to keep track of the wreck and research the remains of the hull and the equipment. A wide range of artifacts such as portholes, deck-lights and brass skylight protectors as nicely as reduce glass tableware and a range of pennies have been recovered from the internet site and now reside in the nearby museum. There is a wealth of archaeological product still left on website to this day however, much of it buried and safeguarded by the sand. The most imposing section of the wreck is its boiler and the foundation of its funnel that protrudes out of the drinking water at lower tide. It is really worth noting that the motor area of the Clonmel was 58ft prolonged and took up extra than a 3rd of the ship’s length! The 220 horsepower motor drove the paddlewheels, but it was a guzzler and essential 610kg of coal for each hour to run. Nowadays this wreck is not only an amazing dive web-site (it is not frequently a diver receives an chance to dive on a shipwreck in which relics can nonetheless be discovered on site) it also provides us a unique perception into the Australian way of daily life in the 1840s.

So what occurred to the castaways, did they endure? No one particular realized they experienced wrecked and with very little hope of salvation they had to consider matters into their have fingers. 1 of the travellers, a Mr Simpson was an professional seaman and volunteered to get a single of the whaleboats to the closest settlement in purchase to increase the alarm and get assist. The seven volunteers piled into the frail open boat and established off to Port Phillip the very up coming day. It took about sixty several hours for the group to get in sight of civilization and they battled fierce wind and waves each stage of the way. The minimal boat was swamped by the breaking seas lots of situations through the voyage and essential continual bailing to maintain afloat. By the time the cutter Sisters picked them up, they were soaked to the pores and skin, cold and fatigued. It was the heroic efforts of these gentlemen that saved the remainder of the shipwrecked crew.