BULLI- Collier shop Bulli was built on the Greenwich Peninsula by Stockwell and Lewis and used in Tasmania – where there are some very familiar place names, so don’t get confused. Here are some cuttings about her wreck from the Tasmanian press – lots more to come.
1877 – 3rd July Mercury Intercolonial Telegrams (By submarine cable)
Australian Associated Press Telegrams. Melbourne Monday
The Steamer Bulli has been wrecked at Murray Pass, Kent’s Group. All hands were saved. The vessel is insured for £15,000 in several offices
1877 5th July Mercury
The Steamer Bull has been wrecked in Murrays Passage, Kent Group, but all hands have been saved. The Bulli used frequently to visit this port with coals. from Bulli for the B. and T. C.’s Iron Co’s works Lempriere. She last arrived here on the 4th June and left on the 6th and was probably on her passage here this time when she was lost.
Lempriere Examiner July 3rd
1877 7th July Mercury
With reference to the SS Bulli, which was wrecked at Kent’s Group on the 28th ult., Rear Admiral Barnard; yesterday received a report from the Acting Superintendent at Kent’s Group lighthouse. The report, which has been kindly placed at our disposal -states-that the Bulli went through Murray’s Pass at noon on the 28th, but in consequence of a heavy gale she ran back and anchored at Erith Island at 4: p.m. She got under weigh again at 8 p.m. and proceeded on her voyage to Port Lempriere. When about two miles off N.W.Islet she struck on a sunken rock. She then bore up again for Erith, and anchored but she soon sank, and the crew had difficulty in escaping. They all however got safely to shore in a splendid lifeboat which•the ship carried. The Captain and three men then proceeded to Deal Island, where the lighthouse is situated and returned with the Superintendent to Erith, conveying the remainder of the Bulli’s crew, 23, to Deal Island, whence they were taken to Melbourne by the S.S. Tararua. The foreyard of the Bulli is just awash at low water.
Examiner 7th July 1877
Wreck of The Bulli. The steamer Tararua arrived yesterday from New Zealand, bringing with her the captain and crew of the steamer Bulli which was .wreckcd -on a reef at Kent’s Group on Tuesday Last. ‘The Bulli’ was bound for Tasmania with a cargo of coal, and met with very severe weather. The wind increased .to a perfect hurricane when the vessel was off Kent’s Group, and Captain Rendell was compelled to seek shelter under the land. He was endeavouring to go through one of the, passes between the islands when the’ vessel, struck heavily on a reef, but after bumping once or twice ,floated off again, and was kept afloat, by dint of hard work at the pumps till West Cove was reached where she sunk in five fathoms of water. All the crew were saved., getting ashore in the boats, but everything else went down with the vessel. The men remained on the island up till Saturday last, when the Tararua was signalled, and in order not to escape observation; one of the boats was manned , and went out to meet the steamer which hove to till the captain and the remainder of the crew were brought off the island and put on board. The ship wrecked men had exceedingly rough time of it on the island from Tuesday till they were brought off on Saturday having lost everything when the vessel went down. They were hospitably treated on board the Tararoa, and are now at the Sailors Home well in health; but devoid of everything except what they stand upright in. Daily Telegraph July 2″
1877 9th July Mercury
The Steam Navigation Board proceeded yesterday to inquire into the loss of the Bulli. Mr. Smith appeared for the captain; and before any evidence was taken he took a technical objection that the board had no power to enquire into the cause of the wreck. The Bulli was registered in Sydney, and traded with Tasmania and the wreck-took place on the Tasmanian coast. The provisions of part 3 of the Imperial Act of 1854 as to shipwrecks and suspension of certificates did not apply: to colonial vessels. . By section 288 of the Imperial Act power was given to the local legislature to adapt, the provisions of part 3 to ships registered at, trading with;- or being at any place within the colony. He contended that the Bulli did not fall within these provisions, and therefore the board had no jurisdiction in the matter. He took this objection because of the possibility of the case assuming such a character that the Captain might be arraigned for hazarding the lives of his crew. The board after consultation, considered it would only be waste of time to go on with the cargo. Age July 5th
1877 July 13th Mercury
So as fully to ascertain the position and possibility of raising the sunken steamer Bulli, in the Murray Pass, Kent’s Group, the steamer Williams has been chartered from Messrs Jas Deane and Co and on Saturday at noon left Hobson’s Bay for the scene of the wreck. She had on board as passengers Captain Daish on behalf of the underwriters Captain Randall late commander of the Bulli; Capt. Frederick a thoroughly practical man in getting off or raising stranded vessels and Mr. Erickson the diver. Should the weather be at all propitious the Willians may be expected back tonight.-Age. 9th July
1877 21st July Mercury
The Steamer Bulli, it appears, is not to be left to her fate and rust away under the waters of Murray Pass without an effort being made to raise her. The figure for which she is covered by Insurance is too material to be paid over lightly, and an attempt is to be made on behalf of the underwriters to lift her from her present position. Capt. George Frederick, who is not without experience in raising sunken vessels, has been entrusted with the work of recovering the Bulli, and his plan of operation has been approved of. The necessary gear; including a boiler and powerful centrifugal pumps, is being collected and shipped, and the vessell containing these will leave for the scene-of the wreck about the middle or end, of the present week. Mr. D.Munro, provides the pumps and machinery and, along with Capt. Frederick, he is sanguine of the attempt proving successful.
9TH AUGUST 1877 Mercury
WITH reference to the s.s.Bulli the same journal reports that the Board held an investigation into the circumstances connected with sinking her. She was on a voyage coal Laden bound for Launceston and had put into West Cove, Kent’s Group, for shelter during heavy southerly weather on the afternoon of Thursday 28th .June. At 8 p.m. same day when the weather was clear with a fine moonlight the master got under weigh in the prosecution of his voyage but after proceeding some distance was compelled to return and whilst doing so rounded the sunken rocks off the N.E. island of the Kent’s Group so closely as to strike on them. The vessel was got back into West Cove and an attempt was made to throw the cargo overboard, as she was making water, but by the time a few tons were got out, the leak , which, has hitherto been confined to the fore compartment, broke into the main and vessel soon after went down. The board decided that Rendell, the master, committed two grave errors in judgement – 1st in rounding the rocks of the N.E. inlet too closely and 2nd in not beaching his vessel after arriving in West Cover in place of attempting to throw the cargo overboard. taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration the Board was of opinion that a caution to use more judgement in future would meet the merits of the case.
Cutting from unknown modern source
BULLI . On 28 June, while steaming from Newcastle to Launceston with 450 tons of coal the Bulli was forced to shelter from a gale under Erith Island in the Kent Group, Bass Strait. When the weather moderated she proceeded through Arthur’s Pass, then struck a rock about two miles out and commenced to leak badly. She returned to her former anchorage, but when the pumps failed to hold the water, was abandoned. Rockets were fired to summon help from the lighthouse and eventually the crew of 26 were taken on to Melbourne by S.s. Tararua, Pumps and salvage gear were sent to the islands where a close inspection of her lying in ten fathoms showed she had been badly holed so the project was abandoned. In 1881 a company was formed to make a second attempt to salvage her, but this was also unsuccessful. Modern day divers report that the hull of the steamer remains almost intact after more than 100 years on the seabed. The Marine Board of New South Wales decided the master committed two errors of judgment; in going too close to the island, and not beaching his vessel in West Cove when the leak was discovered. He was cautioned. The Bulli was an iron steamer of 524 tons, built at Blackwall, England, in 1872 by Lewis & StockweJl, on dimensions of280.2 x 23.2 x 15.9. She was built for the Bulli Coal Mining Company as a coal carrier with a capacity of 500 tons, and deck saloon accommodation for 24 passengers.
Cutting from an unknown modern source
The S.S. Bulli was an iron steamer of 4 tons built in London 1873, and owned by the Bulli Coal Mining Company. On 28th June, when bound from Newcastle to Launceston, she met heavy weather and anchored for shelter under Erith Island, Kent Group. When the weather moderated she got her anchor and left but struck a sunken rock and returned to her former anchorage. It was found that the pumps could not cope with the inrush of water so the vessel was abandoned. She sank but the top of her funnel showed even at high water. The crew was taken off the island by the S.S. Tararua. In 1881 a company was formed to refloat the Bulli but it was unsuccessful.
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