On several occasions the Wimmera counted amongst her passengers, the captains, crews and others whose own ships had met with recent disaster.
On Saturday 26 October 1907 six survivors of the wrecked Swedish barque Alfhild (formerly the British-flagged Rockhurst) embarked the Wimmera in Hobart for passage to Melbourne. Their ship, the Alfhild, had been on her way Hobart from Rio De Janeiro in ballast when gales blew her ashore on West Coast of Tasmania on the morning of Thursday 10 October.
Only the mate, second mate and four seamen were rescued out of an estimated crew of 17, ie. Axel Wehlin (mate) Carl Abrahamson, A. Benglson, Gustav Wilson? (Olsson), Brand Wilson? (Olsson) and Oscar Olsen (Olsson).
Four of the crew including the carpenter and cook were drowned and the Captain, Sven N. Bengtssen, and six others were left behind on shore as the others made their way along the coast for rescue. The Captain’s body was later discovered yet no signs of the other men were ever found.
After being conveyed to Hobart from Maatsuyker by the Koonokarra, attending an inquiry into the loss of their ship, and the burial of their captain, the survivors took the Wimmera to Melbourne from where, it was reported, they then travelled to Sydney to embark the Swedish steamer S.S. Tasmanic for home.
Forrest Hall (1909)
Several members of the crew of the three-masted ship Forrest Hall embarked the Wimmera in Auckland for Sydney on [22 March 1909] and arrived on 26 March 1909. They included the ship’s first mate William Glass together with John Peterson, Hugh Roberts, Arthur Hughes (steward), T. Flatherly?, John Ramsay and B. Connolly. The Forrest Hall had run aground on…en route…with a cargo of coal from Newcastle, New South Wales. In the subsequent enquiry the ship’s captain was…and his master’s certificate suspended for two years. Members of the crew (including the first mate) were accused of drunkenness and…by…the ship’s rescued rations…
Others shipwrecked passengers included Captain Frederick Schroder and his wife, of the 135-ton schooner Alice. The vessel, which was also owned by Schroder, was under charter to the Cook Island Trading Company, when it drifted onto a coral reef at Ratahanga [Rakahanga] one of the islands of the Manahiki group of the Cook Islands on 28 September 1909. Although the Alice became a total wreck no lives were lost. The captain and his wife were eventually conveyed to Auckland from Islands aboard the steamer Talune arriving on Friday 17 December. Ten days later they joined the Wimmera for Sydney on 27 December 1909.
Star of Canada (1912)
Another shipwrecked captain and his wife were Captain John Mann Hart and Mrs Hart. In September 1912 the couple boarded the Wimmera in Gisborne for Sydney via Auckland. The Captain was master of the Tyser Line steamer Star of Canada which had become stranded off Kaiti Beach at Gisborne on Sunday 23 June 1912.
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021