Bells sound tales lost to the depths

By Raylene Bliss - Southern Courier


Shipwreck researcher John Sumner has photographed shipwreck bells along the eastern seaboard, including Maroubra and Bronte.

He said the port of Sydney hosted an enormous amount of shipping arrivals and departures, as well as some horrific losses of life, including when the Dunbar was wrecked in 1857 just south of South Head near the entrance to Port Jackson.

A total of 121 lives were lost with only one survivor, a crewman named James Johnson. A bell from the Dunbar was later bought at auction and installed in St John’s Church, Darlinghurst.

The Malabar, which was wrecked in Long Bay in 1931, was a very large ship, according to Mr Sumner. The suburb of Malabar was named after it. 

Mr Sumner has spent more than two decades taking photos of bells from shipwrecks and at the top of his wanted list now are bells from the Runic, Currajong, Woniora, Hero, Adolphe, Munmorah, Mary Hamilton, Sphene, Jacques Del Mar and Merimbula.



Shipwreck researcher John Sumner Maroubra Bronte port of Sydney Port Jackson