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Offline csharpTopic starter
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« on: April 17, 2010, 01:04:40 am »
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Years ago i read articles about a ship that washed ashore by heavy storms and swells, it come to be known as The Mahogany.

here are some old newspaper extracts.

Melbourne Herald
April 18  1890

A question of very considerable importance to all who take an interest in determining the true history of the discovery of the Australian Continent has been revived by a contributor to a contemporary.  On the beach, near Belfast, there is the wreck of  an old vessel, believed to be of Dutch, Portuguese or Spanish build, and constructed, it is thought, of mahogany, which lies entombed in the sands a short distance from shore. 

It is conjectured that if this vessel could be in part examined and identified the question of whether the unknown and unmapped continent now called Australia was ever visited by foreign navigators other than those known previous to its occupation by the British race, might be solved, while a clue might be obtained about whether the greater Java of the Portuguese maps was really the land known afterwards as Terra Australis. 

The question of the identification of this vessel has often been discussed, but although some few years ago her timbers, which were still sound, were exposed by severe storms which hurled aside the superincumbent drift sand, no action was taken to resolve the doubts felt as to her nationality. 

The Minister of Public Works, who takes an  interest in questions affecting the discovery and exploration of Australia, has been approached, and it has been suggested to him that before the dredge is removed from Belfast she might be explored, taking away sufficient of the drift sand in which the curious old wreck is buried, in order to permit of an examination of her being made.  The Minister is disposed to approve this course if practicable, and though it is probable the cost will have to be provided by public subscription, there is little doubt felt, but that with the co-operation of the various scientific societies, this would readily be found.

Melbourne Argus
April 1  1876

A local curiosity is referred to by Mr John Mason, of Belfast, in the following letter to the Argus:-

"Sir,-Riding along the beach from Port Fairy to Warrnambool in the summer of 1846, my attention was attracted to the hull of a vessel embedded high and dry in the Hummocks, far above the reach of any tide.  It appeared to have been that of a vessel about 100 tons burden, and from its bleached and weather-beaten appearance, must have remained there many years. 

The spars and deck were gone, and the hull was full of drift sand.  The timber of which she was built had the appearance of cedar or mahogany.  The fact of the vessel being in that position was well known to the whalers in 1846, when the first whaling station was formed in that neighbourhood, and the oldest natives, when questioned, stated their knowledge of it extended from their earliest recollection. 

My attention was again directed to this wreck during a conversation with Mr M'Gowan, the superintendent of the Post-office, in 1869, who, on making inquiries as to the exact locality, informed me that it was supposed to be one of a fleet of Portuguese or Spanish discovery ships, one of them having parted from the others during a storm, and was never again heard of. 

He referred me to a notice of a wreck having appeared in the novel Geoffrey Hamlyn, written by Henry Kingsley, in which it is set down as a Dutch or Spanish vessel, and forms the subject of a remark from one of the characters, a doctor, who said that the English should never sneer at those two nations - they were before you everywhere.

The wreck lies about midway between Belfast and Warrnambool, and is probably by this time entirely covered with drift sand, as during a search made for it within the last few months it was not to be seen.

Warrnambool Standard
January 30 1890

The Mahogany Ship
To the Editor of the Warrnambool Standard

SIR, -- There appears no doubt that the wreck, known as the mahogany-built Spanish or Dutch ship, alluded to in today?s Standard, and in the well known note in ?Geoffry Hamlyn.?  is extant on our coast, and probably lies between Werronggurt and Armstrong?s Bay, though now further inland than formerly and covered to a greater depth in the sand hummocks.

It might not be worth while to go on a prospecting tour in search of her, yet the matter is worth keeping in mind, in case of one?s getting into the supposed neighbourhood of the remains.  It seems not likely that most interesting historic relics would be got, if she were discovered, for whether she came ashore here in the first instance, or were abandoned at sea and afterwards floated here, it is unlikely that all her stores, armament, etc., would have been removed.  These would, at any rate, be a most interesting result for the finder, who, it is to be hoped, would not forget the Warrnambool Museum.   Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the ship?s treasure chest is still there, still full of doubloons, pieces of eight and other pretty tiny kickshaw, things would become much more interesting.

Some one at Belfast is well up on the subject of De Quiros ship, which was abandoned in a terrible storm in, I think, the neighbourhood of the New Hebrides.  Perhaps he could give us an idea on the subject.

It seems, however, certain that the existence of the unrecorded wreck in our neighbourhood is no myth, but that it has been well above the sand, and that horses have been jumped over exposed portions of it within the last thirty years.

Melbourne Age
July 21   1910

Warrnambool, Wednesday

Interest has been revived in the story of the wreck of the 17th century Dutch or Spanish exploring ship near Warrnambool.  The town clerk has secured information of the bearings of the position of the ship as seen in the early days on the beach.   Probably an attempt will be made to dig out this interesting historical relic.  Early records state that the ship was of the high stern type of the 16th and 17th centuries.

This ship would be an extraordinary find if found.




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