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Date: 1874
200 x 650 x 185 mm
Medium: Brass, lead
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Bunbury Historical Society
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Ship's bell
Object No: 00040900

User Terms

    SignificanceSydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1887
    Australasian Shipping News, 11 June 1887, 16 July 1887

    HistoryShips' bells traditionally are used for ringing time, and also for use in fog. The strokes on the bell mark the six watches of four hours into which each day is divided.The passage of time in each watch is marked by the bell every half hour, with one stroke at the first half hour, two at the second and so on. The bell was an important part of the ship, often regarded superstitiously as the voice of the ship, with a legend that when a ship sank the bell continued to toll. Bells of ships which are broken up or lost are highly prized as mementoes of the ship.

    SS WARATAH was an iron screw steam ship of 425 tons, built in 1874 by Hall, Russell & Co. at Aberdeen, Scotland. It was bought by the Waratah Coal Company of Sydney and operated carrying coal on the NSW coast until June 1887 when it was lost in heavy sea while loading coal at North Bulli wharf. The moorings carried away, the vessel was driven ashore and became a total wreck. the crew got ashore in baskets slung on a line betweeen the mast and the beach, and all the fittings and other moveables were taken off by the same means the next day. The bell was undoubtedly retrieved at this time.
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