The James Craig Salvage

by Geoff Winter

Geoff Winter is a long time museum volunteer, and was heavily involved in the salvage of the James Craig hull, from her watery resting place in Recherche Bay.

Geoff’s diary provides a concise and extremely interesting account of the process of recovery, and covers many details including weather conditions and machinery used.

We hope you enjoy reading through Geoff’s diary!

The Winter Diary

 

Background

Early in 1972 the Museum, then known by its original name of Lady Hopetoun and Port Jackson Marine Steam Museum, was attempting to acquire a permanent waterfront site, adjacent to the Rocks area in Sydney Cove. To this end the name was changed to the Sydney Cove Waterfront Museum. The Museum was advised that there was no chance of getting the site and having ships on display unless a square-rigged sailing ship was included. By chance, the magazine SEA BREEZES (Nov 1971) contained a letter about the barque James Craig (ex Clan Macleod), abandoned in Tasmania. This was brought to the attention of the then secretary, Alan Edenborough, by Capt. Ron Wayling and set in motion the train of events which led to the arrival of the James Craig in Sydney in January, 1981.

 

First Visit

 

On January 14th, 1972, Alan flew to Hobart, drove to Dover and chartered a fishing boat, the Alladin, owned and skippered by Graham Turner. The James Craig (referred to hereafter as ‘the ship’) was lying in the north arm of Recherche Bay (the Pigsties) about twenty miles by sea south of Dover.

Time allowed only a brief visit to the ship; sufficient for Alan to see that the hull, half flooded but upright, appeared to be largely intact, although the timber deck had been burnt and there was some structural damage to the stern, forward of the sternpost.
After taking numerous photographs, Alan returned to Sydney. Graham had proved to be enthusiastic and a mine of information; later he was to take the Alladin dangerously close to an open west coast beach to photograph the wreck of the Svenor.
The results of the first visit, and a survey of other wrecks around the coast, showed that the James Craig was the only sailing ship likely to be capable of being salvaged and restored. This justified a second visit to carry out a preliminary survey of the hull and, if time and equipment permitted, to try and pump out the hull.
It must be remembered that the ship was beached in a remote bay in S.E. Tasmania, accessible only by water; either from sea, subject to weather, or by small boat trailed to the opposite side of the bay along a very rough track.

 

Second Visit

 

On March 31st, 1972, Alan Edenborough, Bill Livingston and Jeff Toghill left Sydney for Dover to join Graham on the Alladin. A small diesel pump had been hired and one of the pump company’s staff joined them. Available time was limited to a full day on the ship. This allowed as detailed a survey as conditions permitted, in particular the location and sizes of holes in the hull plating at the stern, damaged by explosives.

First awakenings as the survey team take their salvage vessel alongside.

First awakenings as the survey team take their salvage vessel alongside.

An attempt was made to pump out the hull but the available materials were insufficient to adequately patch the holes. However the main aim had been achieved, much information gained, and a better appreciation of the conditions a team would have to contend with if a more ambitious expedition was sent.

Following this visit, the Museum’s Board analysed the information gained to date to decide whether it was feasible to proceed on what was obviously going to be the biggest project yet undertaken. There were also the problems of getting legal title to the ship, finding companies willing to repair the ship and tow her to Sydney, and raising finance to pay for it all – a story in itself.

The decision was made to go ahead, and planning was started to send a team of up to ten people and equipment with the aims of:

 pumping and clearing the hull for a more detailed survey, and
measuring the ship so that prefabricated bulkheads could be manufactured if it was decided to subdivide the hull prior
to towing her away from Recherche Bay.
Up on deck, discussion follows discussion as the possibility of recovery of the ship is examined.

Up on deck, discussion follows discussion as the possibility of recovery of the ship is examined.

The team was assembled gradually. I recall a meeting on 4th September, soon after I had been invited to join the team. After showing his slides of the ship Alan asked me if I thought restoration was feasible. My reply – ‘very difficult but not impossible’ -is an opinion that has not changed.

This was the first of many meetings during the six weeks that remained before we departed. There was a lot to be done, and not many people to do it. Equipment had to be obtained, both in Sydney and in Tasmania, plywood patches made, transport arranged for equipment and personnel – the list seemed endless. We could not afford to forget anything, as we would be out of reach of sources of supply. I also had to prepare for measuring the ship (taking off the ‘lines’) as I had devised a new and quick method which was relevant to the condition of the ship.

As much as possible of the equipment to be sent from Sydney was packed in two small containers which, together with coils of wire rope, were sent in advance, by sea.

Graham Turner’s Alladin was again chartered -a thirty-nine foot steel boat, she was very suitable, having been built as a workboat. The small enclosed wheelhouse forward contained a galley and mess and gave access to a four-berth cabin in the focsle. Aft there was a small hold and clear deck protected by bulwarks. As departure date approached, Alan found that he would not be able to go. Instead he continued to control matters from Sydney as the Alladin was fitted with radio.

Eight people from Sydney, and Graham and his deckhand, Norm, made up the team.

The following account has been amplified from the notes kept during each day. As some of these notes were critical of certain organisations I have had to delete all company names, to my regret, as most were extremely helpful. Times are given in the twenty-four hour system, distances in miles and nautical miles, dimensions in feet. The following distances are relevant: Hobart to Dover (road) 51 miles Dover to Recherche Bay (road) 22 miles Dover to Recherche Bay (sea) 20 miles (mostly open sea)

 

Third visit

 

Tuesday, 17th October, 1972 (Day 1)

Michael Dight and I departed Sydney at 0750 by air for Hobart. A rented station wagon had been arranged so we drove into Hobart to check if the containers and wire rope had arrived. The transport company had no knowledge of the shipment; many phone calls to and from Sydney and some hours later we knew that the ship was not due until 2200, Wednesday, but, in spite of this, the program was not to be postponed. Everyone was to go to Dover except myself (I was staying with relatives in Hobart and could be reached by phone) and Graham was to drive to Hobart to help with transport.

Wednesday, 18th October, 1972 (Day 2)

Michael and I collected equipment which had been arranged locally and then went to the airport to meet the second group (Keith Chambers, Brian Hill, Bill Livingston, Mauritia and Terry Stevens) which arrived at 1030. Graham was there when we arrived – Bill knew him from the second visit. We all then left for Dover (about an hour’s drive) in the two cars and lunched at Graham’s home where some of the team were to stay until we sailed, the rest being accommodated on the Alladin.

Staging planks had been ordered from the Dover sawmill, which was still steam powered, so there was no shortage of volunteers to collect them. I returned to Hobart later as Alan had sent a message about the pumps. I phoned Graham so that he could arrange to get fuel for them.

Thursday 19th October, 1972 (Day 3)

In the morning I checked with the transport company. The ship had berthed during the night. Our small containers would be packed on a large pallet which would normally take eight hours to clear from their depot. Their representatives agreed to go to the wharf to expedite clearance and, after collecting lubricating oil for the pumps, I also went there. Fortunately the pallet with our containers was near the front of the stack and should be moved by 1100 . One of the company drivers who lived at Huonville, not far from Dover, would deliver them to Dover wharf on his way home that evening.

In the afternoon, after phoning Sydney to report progress, and getting the car tuned, I left for Dover. Meanwhile Graham had taken some of the team to Geeveston – more steam engines!

The truck arrived at 1845 with the containers, but not the wire rope. The driver agreed to investigate the next day and deliver the following evening. This suited us as the Alladin was to return to Dover on Saturday to collect the pumps and Jeff Toghill, who could not arrive earlier. We unpacked the containers and stowed everything on the Alladin and after an evening meal at Graham’s home, all retired early in readiness for an early start in the morning.

Friday, 20th October, 1972 (Day 4)

The Alladin departed at 0545 with all except Bill and myself. Two aluminium boats, one about 12, the other about 10 feet long were carried on the aft deck. As transport would be required at Recherche Bay for some of the team to leave early to return to Sydney, and in case of emergency we drove there in the station wagon. We arrived there at 0645 and parked in a clearing off the track. We could just make out the ship about a mile away across the bay to the East. Her colour blended well with the background of low cliffs and trees. The Alladin arrived at 0800 and berthed alongside the ship and we were soon picked up by oneof the boats to join the others for a most welcome breakfast on board.

After a quick look over the ship we started ferrying gear ashore and found a site for our camp among the trees. We then started work. Graham, Terry and Mauritia got into their wetsuits and, with Michael and Keith, started fitting the plywood patches to the underwater holes in the hull plating. Bill, Brian, Norm and I went off in the boats with a supply of bags to look for sand. The closest was the beach on the other side of the bay near where we had left the car. As each boat was loaded, Norm drove it back to the Alladin and off-loaded the bags on to the aft deck. Brian was an expert at sewing up bags and we soon learned the knack, so by lunch time about eighty bags had been filled.

In the afternoon, more bags were filled while patch fitting continued – a slow and difficult job as the patches were too large and had to be cut to size, and the buoyancy of the plywood with the foam plastic sealing strips made them difficult to position. The patches were secured with long bolts to strongbacks across the frames.

Work ceased about 1600 so that the camp could be organised before dark. Tarpaulins were spread over ropes between trees for shelter. A message was received over the radio during the afternoon that the wire rope was still in Sydney, so we would have to manage without it.

The day had been fine with a fresh S.W. wind for most of the afternoon.

Saturday, 21st October, 1972 (Day 5)

The Alladin was due to sail during the morning for Dover so we laid planks on the cabin deck beams and started to transfer sandbags from Alladin through the hole in the stern. This was taking too long , so we offloaded the remaining bags into the two boats and then transferred the rest of the gear onto the ship. The Alladin departed at 1000 with Graham and Mauritia on board.Norm, Terry and Bill continued fitting patches while the rest of us started building the cofferdam across the stern (the hole in the stern was too big to patch. The top of what we later discovered to be the water tank made an ideal base on which to build the cofferdam and was only about two feet below the surface. A technique was soon developed for handling the bags which, being wet were very heavy. The smaller boat, loaded with bags was brought right up to the stern. Brian, in the boat, placed a sling round a bag and hooked on the block of a tackle slung from a deck beam and tipped the bag over the gunwale. Michael, having guided it through the opening while Keith and I hauled on the tackle, positioned it and unhooked the tackle. Plastic sheet was used to seal the cofferdam along the bottom and sides.

We had some unexpected assistance for a few hours – a schoolteacher from Dover and a friend. A few more bags had to be filled and transported, and by dusk the cofferdam was complete (about 120 bags were used) and one hole only had to be patched.

We had been fortunate with the weather, which had been fairly calm all day.

Sunday 22nd October, 1972 (Day 6)

Through the gaping hole in the stern, the sandbag cofferdam can be seen.

Through the gaping hole in the stern, the sandbag cofferdam can be seen.

The Alladin returned at 0910 with Graham, Mauritia and Jeff Toghill and two diesel pumps – a six inch suction pump at the stern and a two inch pressure pump on the foredeck. The last patch was fitted while the hoses were being run through the stern. The Alladin was moored across the stern as the weather was good. A wire mesh basket was fitted over the hose inlet to keep out the larger debris but later the rose supplied with the pump was found to be more convenient.

Pumping started about 1000 and by 1230 the stern had risen noticeably. Three hours pumping cleared most of the water revealing about three feet depth of silt, small coal and ash from the burnt decks, interspersed with bits of timber, wire rope, mast and deck fittings and the bilge pump. Everything was black – soon including ourselves – as we started the daunting task of clearing the hull.
The pump handled the silt and small coal well, provided it was mixed with plenty of water, so the pressure pump was used to wash it towards the inlet. This pump was out of action for a while, so some of the timber was collected and stacked and the heavy windlass, which was lodged precariously among the deck beams, was secured with wire rope slings. The Alladin’s anchor was laid out from the ship’s bow towards the shore.

By the evening a diver reported that the keel aft was well clear of the bottom, but she was still aground forward. Most patches were now clear of the water and there were very few leaks. The weather was still clear. The big pump was kept running all night.

Monday 23rd October, 1972 (Day 7)

In the morning everyone was busy clearing out the hull. The Alladin’s derrick was rigged at the break of the quarter deck to lift out the heavier items of debris.. I marked frame numbers with paint throughout the hull, preparatory to lifting dimensions. As we were now running behind schedule, Jeff proposed that we work two shifts – 1800 to midnight and midnight to 0600.

During the afternoon, while clearing out continued, Graham took Mauritia, Michael, Bill and myself in the two boats to the entrance of the Catamaran River to see the remains of the coal loading wharf (“The Bins”). We then went around the point to a bay known as “The Waterhole” where there is also the remains of a wharf. We landed here and found a few fittings among the foundations of the coal loader. This is an interesting area. We had already seen the sites of steam saw mills – bricks and massive timber engine beds – and Graham had shown us where the three hundred ton schooner, Annie McDougall had been built on the beach in 1897.

The 1800-midnight shift (Bill, Brian, Jeff and Terry) continued pumping out silt and coal and stacking timber ready for lifting out during daylight. The weather had again been fine all day.

Tuesday, 24th October, 1972 (Day 8)

Midnight to 0600: Keith, Michael, Norm and myself continued to pump out silt and coal. We were using the pressure pump further forward now to wash silt aft and the suction hose kept choking due to insufficient water. We had to disconnect the last length and while clearing it Jeff, who was sleeping onboard the Alladin called us out as the ship’s stern was swinging around. The pump was stopped at 0300 and Graham started the Alladin’s engine and repositioned the ship. The anchor had been brought back yesterday from the ship’s bow and laid out in a S.W. direction from the Alladin.

The weather was very calm so Graham and Jeff went back to bed while we continued clearing the hoses. Michael went back on board to keep the inlet clear while Keith restarted the pump. We were about to go back on board when Keith noticed that we were drifting slowly away from the shore. It was just getting light. The rising tide, higher than we expected, perhaps assisted by the ship’s eagerness to get afloat again after some forty years hard aground, had done the trick.

Calling out Graham and Jeff, who were once again asleep, we rushed to disconnect and stop the pumps while Graham, still in his underwear and without his contact lenses, started the engine and got the anchor preparatory to casting off and taking the ship in tow. Michael had the honour of staying on board as sole crew until joined by Jeff who had been checking around the ship in one of the boats. They lowered a rope through a hawsepipe to the Alladin. The ship was, by this time, parallel to the shore and drifting slowly, stern first with the tide, towards the entrance to the bay.

The Alladin got way on and circled round until the ship was heading towards the shore, sheering away at the last moment to let the ship run herself aground. In spite of our shouts and the Alladin’s horn-blowing the shore party was quite unconscious of the drama. Thus there is no record on film of this momentous occasion which could, so easily, have been a disaster. The fates were kind. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the water was flat calm.

To prevent a recurrence, we were now able to run a rope ashore to a tree on the top of the cliff as the ship was closer in than before (this would have been done earlier had we had the wire rope). Half an hour later we retensioned it as the tide was still rising.

At breakfast it was agreed that there was no chance of our clearing out all the coal and debris in the time available, particularly as a change in the weather was forecast. The pumps would not be used any more, and the hull was to be cleared by digging down to the ceiling only where necessary for lifting dimensions, ie at frames 8, 20, 32, 46, 66, and 85. With Brian and Michael’s assistance, I started measuring as soon as the first frame was clear, and by midday the work below the deck was completed. To measure from the ceiling to the plating, Michael bored holes in the timber ceiling which, except where it was exposed to the air up forward, was still in excellent condition. We were just in time as the wind was rapidly rising from the N.W.

We decided to flood the ship as quickly as possible before the wind blew her stern around, and as all the holes were now above water the only way was to pump water in until they were submerged. There was a delay in getting the pump to prime but eventually it was working properly , and the hull was flooded by dusk. I had continued measuring and recording details of the hull structure during the afternoon.

The wind had been rising gradually and working round towards the South and by the time Alladin had been moved to shelter alongside the ship it was nearly dark and there was a strong S.W. wind with rain.

Wednesday, 25th October, 1972 (Day 9)

During the morning I continued measuring and recording while the others broke camp and loaded the Alladin. Jeff and Michael departed about noon in the station wagon to drive to Hobart and fly to Sydney the next day. The ship was about four feet higher out of the water than before with less trim. The cofferdam was out of the water, as were all the holes at low tide. She had a slight list to port and rocked in the stronger gusts. The weather was still bad – fresh to strong S.W. winds with rain and hail.

We sailed at 1500, the Alladin heavily loaded and towing the two boats. It was cold and there was a fresh wind and steep following sea as we headed towards the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. It was an interesting trip as we all crowded into the wheelhouse and Graham pointed out the landmarks and the locations of some of the numerous shipwrecks from the days of sail.

The Alladin berthed at Dover wharf about 1745 and we wasted little time in booking in at the Dover Hotel, eager for hot showers, a meal and a long night’s sleep.

Thursday, 26th October, 1972 (Day 10)

In the morning we unloaded the Alladin, except the pumps which required a crane and packed one of the containers with personal gear and a selection of fittings from the ship. Unfortunately this was lost enroute to Sydney. Some equipment was left in Dover for the next visit.

After lunch we all drove to Hobart. Jeff had left our station wagon in Dover and transferred to the car he had driven from Hobart. Graham and his family drove up with us in his car. He took us to see a builder of steel boats in Prince of Wales Bay to discuss the ship, see his yard and stock of steel plate. We also took the opportunity to look at a number of old craft nearby before booking in at a hotel.

There we said goodbye to Graham and his family who had been of such great help to us. Not in very good health Graham had shown great interest and enthusiasm and his boat had been ideal for the work to date.

Friday 27th October, 1972 (Day 11)

First thing in the morning we drove Mauritia and Terry to the airport. The rest of the morning was taken up with returning equipment on hire. In the afternoon we visited Battery Point. The Shipwright Arms Hotel was being renovated so we could not see their collection of old photographs. After visiting some of the antique shops we visited Mr Johnston whose unique collection of photographs of sailing ships and early Hobart would, we hoped, contain some of the James Craig. He generously showed us around the display of some of his collection. We were still not able to reveal any direct interest in the ship but did see one photograph of her.

Later we drove to an eastern shore suburb to view a mast band which had recently been advertised as being from the ship. The asking price was high so we did not buy it. Nor did anyone else but the advertiser was later persuaded to return it. The ship had, of course, long since been stripped of anything useful – understandably as she had been derelict for so long. But the surprising thing was that so many fittings, though gone from one side, still existed on the other.

Saturday 28th October, 1972 (Day 12)

We (Bill, Brian, Keith and myself) were the last to leave Hobart. Due to depart on the 1135 flight we spent the available time getting as near as possible to the ketch Enterprise and the steam tug Wonga.

None of us would ever forget the previous two weeks (or even two months). Good planning and organisation, a minimum number of people involved who all worked well together and good leadership had all gone towards making this a successful and unique project. It was also unusual for the lack of publicity, almost secrecy, even within the Museum. But this was soon to change, and for many the work was only just beginning.

 

Fourth Visit

 

Saturday 26th May, 1973 (Day 1)

Michael Dight and I caught a taxi to the Ansett Terminal where we met up with the rest of the crew (Alan Edenborough, Bill Livingston, Brian Hill, Elizabeth Wedlock (later to become Alan’s wife) and Serge Busato who were going down to Tasmania hopefully to bring the ship out of Recherche Bay where she had lain for so long back to the Derwent River in Hobart.

We arrived in Hobart at 1040 and all bundled into a rented, overloaded, station wagon bound for the Derwent Sailing Squadron at Sandy Bay to try to borrow bunting and attempted to see the Quintrex agent, but they were, unfortunately, closed. Back to the city for interviews with the ABC and Hobart Mercury and then to Constitution Dock, the maritime heart of Hobart. Alan visited the Harbourmaster to talk about berthing facilities for the ship when we brought her up from Recherche Bay and made some enquiries regarding the availability of tugs. After lunch in the city we drove to Recherche Bay. It rained most of the way down and the dirt road was flooded in many places but we eventually got through. We left the vehicle near the jetty with the PlantFab (PF) vehicles. Plant Fab was a Victorian company, which had been contracted to do the salvage work on the ship and they had spent the previous two weeks securing steel plates over the holes in the hull and generally preparing for the tow.

George Cook, Managing Director of PF, picked us up in the runabout and took us to the ship which was being flooded by the terrible weather , having been nearly afloat earlier in the day. Birngana, an 80 year old fishing boat, was completing the laying of a mooring in the bay while we waited to be collected. Birngana had been contracted by PF to transport materials and equipment to the ship.

After inspecting the repairs to the hull and a meeting with the PF crew (there were eight of them in total including George & Rod Cook, “Plugger”, Wayne, Archie Wallace – who later supervised the work in Hobart -Bill, Ted and Jack) we ate and retired early. It was to be a wild night, with heavy rain and wind. The forward half of the cabin deck had been decked over and tarpaulins were laid over a timber framework 2-3 above the quarterdeck. We were kept somewhat warm by a “Volcano” heater burning diesoline. Jack prepared all our meals on a wood stove.

Sunday 27th May, 1973 (Day 2)

We woke fairly early and proceeded to clear the ship of unnecessary gear, loading it into Birngana. Alan returned early by car to Hobart. The weather remained variable with scudding showers and a gusty wind from the West. Pumping started during the morning but the Sykes four-inch pump proved difficult to prime. We began preparing for towing by rigging the towing gear – a wire rope between the stumps of the fore and main masts and wire rope from the mainmast to the quarter bollards. A wire rope bridle was also rigged by passing it through the hawsepipe, back through the other hawsepipe and taking the ends one and a half turns around the foremast before fastening them together with wire rope grips. We fixed a spreader at the hawsepipes just forward of the collision bulkhead. A light wire rope had been rigged through the port hawse to a tree on shore. The other end was connected to a winch on the fore deck. Quarter wires led to anchors with a winch on the starboard wire only. Pumping stopped at 1600 with at least one foot depth of water still in the hold. While doing all this we took the opportunity to paint over some of the graffiti on the sides of the ship.

The ship had settled on the sandy bottom since being re-beached last year. We attempted to haul her off with the winch fitted at the stern, and rigged out to a buoy, but were not successful. The wind, at this time was blowing lightly from the west. The fishing boat Minarapa, which was at anchor nearby, was asked to assist. With both Birngana & Minarapa pulling at the stern, in conjunction with the winch, the ship came afloat rapidly. The time was 1443. The bow wire was pulled out of the grip connecting it to the winch wire before it could be disconnected. Both the port and starboard stern wires were cut with an axe. She was then towed, stern first, to her mooring by the Birngana. We picked up the mooring with some difficulty. A light sisal buoy rope was attached to a 3/4 ” short link chain. Minarapa passed a tow line to the port quarter and, due to a misunderstanding – not helped by the skipper being nearly deaf – towed her stern around to the south and held the ship broadside to the wind. This meant that the buoy rope was in great danger of parting. Birngana went to her lee (starboard) bow and pushed until the bow was directly over the mooring. About six men on the deck then pulled the buoy rope and chain up onto the ship and made the chain fast around the foremast. By now it was 1840 and nearly dark. At dusk the wind dropped and remained calm all night.

Monday, 28th May, 1973 (Day 3)

We awoke to a fine, calm, morning. Birngana collected the wire rope from the moorings. The tug Sirius Cove arrived around 0800, coming in very slowly and with Alan Edenborough, Jeff Toghill and Michael Muter aboard. The tug was secured alongside, on the port side, and towards the aft of the ship for the tow through “The Narrows”. The towline was passed forward and shackled to the wire rope bridle while Birngana came alongside forward to pick up the anchor chain.

The rudder moved freely, the steering gear having been removed so long ago. Rope tackles were set up on each side to the tiller and the crew took turns, two at a time, to steer the ship. This was an easy task, as she was trimmed by the stern.

We began the tow at 0940. At the entrance to Recherche Bay the Sirius Cove cast off from where she had been alongside and went ahead for the remainder of the tow until our eventual arrival in Hobart. With a slight swell the ship rolled a little but she was obviously stiff in spite of the water in her hold. In the sheltered waters of the D’Encastreaux Channel we made about 7 knots but generally our speed was around 4 knots. Towards the northern end of the channel the tug stopped to allow some of James Craig’s crew to board a runabout, which she had been towing astern, to take some photographs. The weather was fine but with a wind increasing to around 15 knots off the Huon River and rising to 20 – 25 knots off Sandy Bay. The tug then went ahead, stopping again to allow the crew to reboard. The tow continued at about 7 knots up the Derwent River until we were off Sandy Bay at about dusk.

Full steam ahead. With the difficult part of the tow behind, the James Craig heads at speed into the River Derwent.

Full steam ahead. With the difficult part of the tow behind, the James Craig heads at speed into the River Derwent.

The tug then came alongside, starboard aft – with some difficulty due to the wind – for the tow through the bridge to her berth.

She finally berthed alongside the Transport Commission Shipping Services (TCSS) stock wharf in Prince of Wales Bay at about 1900. Following her berthing the PF crew left the ship. Michael Muter left for Sydney while most of the museum crew stayed on board overnight.

Tuesday, 29th May, 1973, (Day 4)

Alan Edenborough, Michael Dight and Geoff Winter went into the city to pick up a second rental car. Alan was negotiating with TCSS for use of their main wharf on the other side of the bay as there was no road access to the stock wharf. While we waited we dismantled the wire rope towing arrangement.

Wednesday, 30th May, 1973 (Day 5)

Today the tug, Swiftness (Peter Kemp, master) moved the ship across the bay to the TCSS main wharf after a 0800 start. A gusty westerly wind made coming alongside difficult and one of the two sisal mooring lines supplied by PF parted. Eventually we managed to secure to the wharf using the wire ropes, which had been used for the tow to Hobart. A mobile crane and a semi-trailer arrived and the masts were lifted off the deck and the capstan and windlass were removed as were the foremast stump and the upper part of the mainmast stump. As there was no access to, or from, the wharf after 1700 Michael Dight was given permission to use the PF runabout. We left the car at the Sea Scouts’ hall but access by water was only possible at high tide.

Friday, 1st June 1973 (Day 7)

The Maritime Museum’s team continued digging, removing another 3 loads today. Terry Quantrel, of Quintrex Boats, and his son, Graham arrived in the morning . We learnt that no access was to be allowed onto the wharf during the weekend and it was a public holiday on Monday. All of the PF crew, besides Bill, were retrieving vehicles from Recherche Bay today.

Saturday, 2nd June, 1973 (Day 8)

No work on board today. In the morning we toured the antique shops and visited the museum. After lunch we went to the top of Mount Wellington after which we returned to the ship before venturing into the city for dinner. The Maritime Museum crew slept on board for the last time tonight.

Sunday 3rd June, 1973 (Day 9)

We booked in at the Hotel Russell and then went down to the ship for filming. We then left the ship with our baggage and went back to the hotel, Bill, Serge, Michael, Geoff, Brian and I went to New Norfolk, returning by the other side of the river to see the remains of Joseph Conrad’s Otago.

Monday, 4th June, 1973 (Day 10)

Bill and Serge, together with Alan and Elizabeth left on the 0700 flight for Sydney. Later in the day we visited Bern Cuthbertson to see his collection of artefacts. Bern gave us the fiddle head which had replaced the original figurehead, and which he had restored.

He also gave us a lifebuoy belonging to the ship and some blocks. We took these back to Sydney with us. We then called on the Mercury to give them a story and, in the afternoon, went out to Port Arthur.

Tuesday, 5th June, 1973 (Day 11)

First call was a visit to Hobart Tug and Lighterage, to see Peter Kemp, in search of mooring lines. He gave us an old 6″ sisal line and said he would give us an old towing hawser which a fisherman had salvaged and tried to sell them, if we could check with the fisherman first. We then returned to the ship and re-arranged the mooring lines using the new line which we had been given. We then visited the docks in search of the fisherman but without success. Later we called on Greens Transport who packed the figurehead and a sheet block in a strong cardboard carton before we delivered them to Ansett for transfer to Sydney.

Visited Purdon and Featherstone at Battery Point to enquire about slipping the ship as Hobart did not have a dry dock facility. It was most interesting to see the record book which contained an entry for the James Craig the last time she was slipped there – in 1926!!
PF commenced work on the lower deck structure around the masts today.

Wednesday 6th June, 1973 (Day 12)

We had an early start today. Geoff Winter took Michael Dight to the airport with the lifebuoy, for the 0700 flight. Then Brian Hill and Geoff Winter went to the ship to measure and sketch details. Brian checked in the hold for fittings while three labourers were digging out coal and rubbish. It rained most of the day. In the afternoon we went to PF’s store and Geoff Winter measured and sketched the recovered masts while Brian went with Wayne (of PF) to collect an old towing hawser which they then rigged as an extra mooring line.

Thursday 7th June, 1973

Brian Hill and Geoff Winter returned to Sydney.

 

Back to Historical Articles About James Craig main page