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The DUNBAR New East Indiaman

Date: 1853
Overall: 130 x 240 mm
Medium: Handcoloured wood engraving on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000957
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Handcoloured wood engraving from the Illustrated London News titled 'The DUNBAR New East Indiaman' published London 24th December 1853.
    SignificanceThe DUNBAR was one of the most devastating shipwrecks off New South Wales and affected the growing city profoundly. Despite the growth of the economy and the hopes that the gold rush bought, travel was still perilous and Australia was still a vast distance from 'home'.
    HistoryThe DUNBAR was a passenger and cargo ship that ran the route between London and Sydney as a result of the Australian gold rushes. She was owned by Duncan Dunbar and was the pride of his growing fleet. After being requisitioned during the Crimean War she was returned to Dunbar and in 1856 she made her first journey to Sydney which was a success and she was proclaimed a "splendid ship".
    In 1857 she left England again bound for Sydney and was looking forward to repeating her success. On this journey she was laden with both expensive and important cargo and also a full contingent of passengers including some local Sydney dignitaries who had been visiting England. Her Captain, Green, was no stranger to the route and managed to sail her to Australia where she arrived off the coast of Sydney on 20 August 1857. However, there was a raging storm that night which made visibility particularly poor and the sea very rough.
    [ 39_The_wreck_of_the_Dunbar.pdf]
    Shortly before midnight Captain Green estimated the ship’s position off the entrance to the Heads and changed course to enter, keeping the Macquarie Light on the port bow. However, the estimation of where the ship was in relation to the heads was wrong and the DUNBAR, instead of entering the harbour through the heads was rammed against cliffs. The desolation in that weather was quick and savage. There were no survivors except one seaman, James Johnson, who had been thrown higher up the cliff face where he waited two days before being rescued.
    The shock the next morning was city wide and business came to a standstill as the populace tried to understand and process the disaster. Wreckage and bodies were widespread along the foreshores and there was a day of mourning and an estimated 20,000 people lined the streets on the day of the funeral procession. Many of who had relatives amongst the 121 people who had died.
    A memorial to the DUNBAR is located at South Head and the bodies of those victims located were buried together at Camperdown Cemetery.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The DUNBAR New East Indiaman

    Assigned title: De DUNBAR - New East Indiaman company zeilschip

    Assigned title: Die DUNBAR - New East Indiaman Segelschiff

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