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Garton and Jarvis stove vent, DUNBAR shipwreck collection

Date: Before 1857
Overall: 45 x 115 x 20 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Alloy
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of the Andrew Thyne Reid Trust
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Vent
Object No: 00025764
Place Manufactured:Exeter
Related Place:South Head,

User Terms

    This vent was recovered from the site of the wreck of the DUNBAR, off South Head, Sydney. The ship was destroyed when it smashed into a cliff on 20 August 1857 during a storm. The wreck and the ship's large loss of life came as a great shock to the emerging colony of New South Wales. All material relating to the DUNBAR is protected under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976).
    SignificanceThis vent is a tangible reminder of the loss of the clipper ship DUNBAR in the worst commercial shipping tragedy in NSW's peacetime history. The wreck instigated the construction of Hornby Lighthouse to aid ships navigating through Port Jackson. It also had a substantial impact on the people of Sydney, still evident today through the annual memorial service held at St Stephens Church, Newtown.
    HistoryPart of the cargo of the DUNBAR consisted of two shipments of stoves from the company Garton & Jarvis of Exeter in Devon, England. One consignment was shipped by Reed & Hawley, Shipping Agents, London destined for Australia and onshipping to New Zealand. The second was a consignment ordered by William McDonnell, who was connected with the Colonial Stores in Sydney. The total number of stoves on board (packed in sections for shipping and ready for assembly) was in excess of 40. The models shipped included the Medium, Exonia and the Cottage, all of which incorporated the vent described here. On assembly the vent would have been afixed to the doors enabling the controlled flow of air. It was a fixture common to most models of stove produced by the company.

    Ambrose Parker Jarvis and John Garton formed the company Garton & Jarvis in 1836 (although the history of the company can be traced back to 1661) and specialised in wrought iron work, gates, railings, fire grates and fire fenders. With the purchase of Kingdom & Sons in the mid-1840s Garton & Jarvis branched out into greenhouse heating, commercial, large domestic and cottage stoves. Later they became one of the first firms to produce coil and cast iron radiators - cast in their foundry in Waterbeer Street in the centre of Exeter.

    At the Great Exhibition of 1851, Garton & Jarvis won two bronze medals for their portable stoves and following a commendation from Prince Albert, who had installed a Garton & Jarvis Cottage stove in his Model Cottage in Hyde Park, they were appointed stove makers to Queen Victoria and could display the Arms of Royal Appointment. By 1857 Garton & Jarvis stoves were being exported all over the world including the Australian colonies.

    Many wrought iron gates and railings from Garton & Jarvis were installed around Exeter, including the Cathedral Green, the Royal Clarence and the Deer Stalker statue when it was originally located in Bedford Circus. Sadly, most of this work was lost in World War II when it was removed for war production.

    In 1865 Ambrose Jarvis died and John Gould King joined the firm which was renamed Garton & King. Two years after the name change John Garton died - and a new partner named Munk briefly joined the firm creating King & Munk, but this was not a success, the partnership dissolved, and the Garton & King name was reinstated.

    Garton & King became a limited company in 1925 and the foundry was relocated to the outskirts of the city in 1939. It was involved in wartime manufacture but reverted back to production of municipal castings such as gullies, manhole and inspection covers, bollards, lamp standards, gear wheels and pulleys. The production of cast iron ranges declined in the early 1900s. The company became one of the first agents for the AGA cooker (invented by the Swede, Dr Gustaf Dalen) in the very early 1930s. The foundry closed in 1990 and following a buy-out by certain members of the staff of the company from the Holladay family - who took it over in 1900 - it continues to trade as it did in Garton & Jarvis's day under the 'Sign of the Golden Hammer'. Today (2012) it trades as GartonKing Appliances retailing quality kitchen equipment and AGA and Rayburn cookers.

    The complete history of the company 1661-1990 is to be found at

    The DUNBAR

    The 1850s was a period of great social and economic growth in Australia, spurred on by the gold rush and an increasing population. This rapid growth increased the demand for goods and services which could only be met by expansion within agriculture, industry and commerce. This economic climate and demand for passenger ships persuaded the well known ship-owner and merchant Duncan Dunbar to finance the construction of a clipper ship.

    The DUNBAR was a 1167-ton wooden three-masted sailing ship built in 1852 by the English shipbuilders James Laing & Sons at Sunderland. Costing over £30,000 and constructed from British oak and Indian teak, it was held together by copper fastenings and iron knees. It was designed to carry passengers and cargo quickly between England and Australia but was initially used as a troop transport in the Crimean War.

    In late May 1857 DUNBAR departed London for its second voyage to Australia, carrying 63 passengers, 59 crew and a substantial cargo, including dyes for the colony's first postage stamps, machinery, furniture, trade tokens, cutlery, manufactured and fine goods, food and alcohol. Many of the ship's first class passengers were prominent Sydneysiders, who had made good 'currency' in the colony, and after visiting England were returning to Australia.

    After a relatively fast voyage the vessel approached Port Jackson on the night of 20 August 1857, in a rising south-easterly gale and bad visibility. The Macquarie Light near South Head could be seen between squalls, however the night was very dark and the land almost invisible. Captain Green was a veteran of eight visits to Sydney, being first mate onboard AGINCOURT and WATERLOO and commanding WATERLOO, VIMEIRA and DUNBAR. Shortly before midnight he estimated the ship was six miles away from the harbour entrance and ordered the vessel on, keeping the Macquarie Light on the port bow.

    Shortly afterwards the urgent cry of 'Breakers Ahead' was heard from the second mate in the forepeak. Captain Green, confused by the squalls, and believing the vessel had sailed too far towards North Head mistakenly ordered the helm hard to port. In doing so the vessel sailed closer towards the cliffs instead of the entrance to The Heads. The DUNBAR struck the cliffs just south of the signal station at South Head - midway between the lighthouse and The Gap. Within a few minutes the ship had begun to break up. All 63 passengers and 58 of the 59 crew perished in the disaster.

    The only person to survive the wreck was a young seaman called James Johnson. He was hurled from the deck onto a rocky ledge - from there he climbed up the cliff face out of the reach of the waves. He remained there until being rescued on 22 August by either the Icelander Antonia Wollier or the diver Joseph Palmer (depending upon sources).

    Charles Wiseman, skipper of the small coastal steamer GRAFTON (who had decided wisely to stand off the coast that night rather than enter The Heads) realised that a large vessel had been wrecked when he sailed through the entrance and noticed large quantities of timber, bedding and bales floating in the water. By the time he arrived at Sydney more reports were filtering in from Watson's Bay and Manly about bodies being washed ashore.

    Dawn gradually unveiled the enormity of the event to the community of Sydney, as mailbags and other items washed ashore indicating the vessel was in fact the DUNBAR. Many of the local population knew the people on the passenger manifest, consisting of 122 men, women and children. Large crowds were drawn to the scene to watch the rescue of the single survivor, the recovery of the bodies and the salvage of some of the cargo. For days afterwards the newspapers were filled with graphic descriptions of the wreck and the public interest in the spectacle.

    The victims of the DUNBAR wreck were buried at St Stephens Church in Newtown. The funeral procession attracted an estimated 20,000 people who lined George Street. Banks and offices closed, every ship in the harbour flew their ensigns at half mast and minute guns were fired as the seven hearses and 100 carriages went past. The great loss of life caused by the wreck immediately led to an outpouring of letters demanding the upgrade of The Head's lighthouses. They were sent to the newspaper editors at the Empire (28/08/1857) (29/08/1857) and Sydney Morning Herald (27 - 30/08/1857). The upgrade issue was also raised at Question Time in Parliament and recommended by the jury at the DUNBAR inquest.

    'The verdict of the jury meets with pretty general concurrence. We may observe that the attention of the authorities is now directed to the subject of improving the arrangements for lighting the entrance to the harbour...' (Brennan, 1993). This recommendation was followed in 1858 and the Hornby Lighthouse was constructed.

    The effect of the DUNBAR wreck on Sydney is evident by the number of letters to paper editors, lithographs, paintings, poems, narratives and accounts which were published just days after the event. These publications were sold in their thousands. As well as the pamphlets and brochures other items began to appear in Sydney as part of the memorabilia associated with the tragedy. Salvers had acquired bits of the vessel and were manufacturing items including a set of chairs marked, ' Made from the wreck of the Dunbar’, along with 'Church, house and Garden Furniture' manufactured to any design, from the wreck of the DUNBAR in teak and oak.

    The impact of the DUNBAR disaster is hard to imagine in these days of safe and efficient air and sea travel. For those living in the emerging colony of Sydney during the 1850s the tragedy had a lasting emotional effect.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Garton and Jarvis stove vent, DUNBAR shipwreck collection

    Primary title: VENT

    Related People
    Manufacturer: Garton & Jarvis
    Related Sites South Head

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