Maritime history reveals itself

Great lakes wreck

By Tim Connell - Great Lakes Advocates

With rough seas unearthing a Forster shipwreck, divers have found the sands parted to reveal an underwater playground and a century-old crash site.

The wreck, off Forster’s Main Beach, inspired Tuncurry snapper Shane Chalker to get these submarine shots.

“I’ve seen it before, but the big seas we’ve had have chewed a lot of sand away and exposed a lot of it,” he said.

“The top of it’d only be a metre below the surface.”

But which ship is it ? The late Great Lakes historian Elva Carmichael quotes “a reliable authority” claiming there are about 700 vessels on the sea floor between Harrington and Sydney’s North Head – with “probably the greater percentage between Port Stephens and Cape Hawke”.

From newspaper clippings provided by the Great Lakes Historical Society, it seems the ship is one of four pummeled to shore on the bitter night of June 2, 1897.

“In the darkness, and the deafening roar of the gale and waves as they dashed in their fury on the beach, the helpless crews of these vessels stood by waiting in breathless anxiety,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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