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Bradshaw's Views of the Wreck

Date: 1857
Overall: 312 x 460 mm, 0.08 kg
Display Dimensions: 458 x 317 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00019541
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    A lithograph drawn by C.Roper titled 'Bradshaw's views of the wreck' with a portrait of DUNBAR shipwreck survivor James Johnson at centre. The other views are subtitled; 'Off Dover'; 'The wreck'; 'The Gap'; 'Johnson rescued'. Across bottom is the funeral procession for the DUNBAR victims.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is an important record of the loss of the clipper ship DUNBAR, the worst peace-time merchant shipping tragedy in New South Wales history. The wreck had a substantial impact on the people of Sydney and featured in many newspapers, lithographs and magazines of the time.
    HistoryJames Johnson was the only survivor of the wreck of the DUNBAR in 1857. Not long after the sinking he was appointed to a position under the old Marine Board at Newcastle. "Whilst so serving Johnson had the unique experience of saving the only survivor of the CAWARRA, Frederick W Hedges. That steamer was, on July 13, I868, wrecked on the Oyster Bank in Stockton Bight, immediately to the north of the Newcastle entrance during a memorable gale, and Johnson pulled out by himself in a boat toward the wreck, which occurred in day light. He was thus able to pick up Hedges, who had partly swam and partly been washed into the river entrance. For a lengthy period, up till some 10 years ago, Mr Johnson was in charge ot the lighthouse at The Nobbys Newcastle, whence on the Anniversary of the DUNBAR disaster it was the practice of many of his friends, to make a pilgrimage to renew their congratulations. Latterly he had resided in Sydney."
    (Source: The Brisbane Courier, 15 April, 1915)

    On the night of Thursday 20 August 1857, the clipper DUNBAR approached the heads of Sydney Harbour after a voyage of 81 days.
    Launched in 1853, the vessel was owned by Duncan Dunbar, and was the sister ship of the PHOEBE DUNBAR, the DUNBAR CASTLE and the DUNCAN DUNBAR.
    Under the command of Captain Green, the DUNBAR was on its second voyage to Sydney. Despite the treacherous weather conditions on the night, Captain Green and his crew attempted to enter Sydney Harbour that evening, rather than wait until morning.
    The DUNBAR was driven into the reef at the foot of South Head and began to break up immediately. In the hours that followed, all but one of the passengers and crew perished. The survivor, Able Seaman James Johnson clung to a ledge on the cliff face until he was rescued on the morning of 22 August, some 36 hours after the DUNBAR ran aground.
    When news of the wreck reached Sydney the following day, it immediately captured the attention of the public. In the days following, the media provided extensive coverage of the search for survivors and victims, and daily chronicled the progress of the inquest.
    Residents were drawn to the scene for the morbid task of identifying friends, relatives and business associates. Still only a relatively small town, Sydney was staggered by the enormity and proximity of the tragedy.
    A mass funeral for those who died and who, in most cases, could not be identified was held on 24 September. The interments took place at St. Stephen's Cemetery, Camperdown where there is still a monument to the victims.

    Related People
    Maker: C Roper

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