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Wreck of the ship DUNBAR, Captain Pockley's report.

Date: 2 September 1857
Overall: 205 x 335 mm, 0.08 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Parliamentary paper
Object No: 00019543
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    A parliamentary paper entitled `1857 / New South Wales / Legislative Assembly / WRECK OF THE SHIP "DUNBAR" (Captain Pockleys report upon)'
    SignificanceThis manuscript 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.
    HistoryOn 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
    Photographer: Government

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