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American shipwreck in the rip, Geelong lifeboat [ASA PACKER barque, 24 May 1861]

Date: 1861-1871
Dimensions:
Overall (Includes frame): 582 x 782 mm, 48 kg
Sight (Visible image): 399 x 603 mm
Medium: Oil on canvas, gilt timber frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00002791
Related Place:Port Phillip Bay, Newcastle,

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    Description
    The entrance to Port Phillip Bay is known for its hazardous conditions and has claimed hundreds of vessels. This painting possible depicts the barque ASA PACKER being wrecked in a storm at the mouth of the Bay in 1859. The masts of the vessel can be seen floating in the rough seas as a lifeboat crew row out to rescue survivors.

    Archival information seems to indicate - and despite the historic nomenclature on the painting's stretcher - that the painting is of the rescue of the passengers and crew of the 960 ton, English registered, three masted ship SUSSEX off Barwin Heads by the crew of the Geelong lifeboat and the paddle steamer WAR HAWK on 30 December 1871.

    SignificanceThis dramatic painting represents the loss of the ASA PACKER and the tradition of 19th century maritime ship painting.
    HistoryASA PACKER was a 329 ton barque named after the American businessman Asa Packer, who pioneered the American railroads. The ASA PACKER wrecked off the extreme end of Point Nepean, on 24 May 1859 on its way from Melbourne to Newcastle. Despite the extreme storm conditions the Captain persisted in taking the vessel out against the advice of the pilot. The crew of the ASA PACKER were rescued after repeated attempts by a Lifeboat, manned with Customs and Health officers.

    The Shipping Masters Office of the State Records Authority, New South Wales provides the following names for the ASA PACKERS crew, predominantly made up of British sailors. Captain Alexander Gold, crew mate J Brennan, 2nd crew mate Mark Ellingworth, carpenter WM Cruickshank, steward Christr Brennan, cook Louis Victor, AB (able bodied) J. A. Adams, AB A. W. Mason, AB James Brown, AB John Davis, AB N. A. Farrell, AB N. A Farrell, AB J.A March, AB Henry Milson and AB James Dunson.

    Please Note that recent (2015) archival reserach seems to indicate - and despite the historic nomenclature on the painting's stretcher - that the painting is of the rescue of the passengers and crew of the 960 ton, English registered, three masted ship SUSSEX off Barwin Heads by the crew of the Geelong lifeboat and the paddle steamer WAR HAWK on 30 December 1871.




    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Wreck of the barque ASA PACKER

    Web title: Wreck of the barque ASA PACKER

    Assigned title: American shipwreck in the rip, Geelong lifeboat [ASA PACKER barque, 24 May 1861]

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