From: Mike Nash
Steve Johnson of our Interpretation Section passed on your recent email re the steamship Bulli. I am the State maritime archaeologist and did the research for the shipwrecks on our website and have also dived on the Bulli on a number of occasions. There are two views of the Bulli available. One is from 1877 but only shows the wreck at a distance with the mast and funnel sticking up. The picture that is on the web site is from the “Australasia Sketcher 17th May 1873” showing the vessel after its delivery voyage. There was a reasonably large fleet of steam colliers built in Britain during the period and a number of these eventually turned up in Australia and I know of at least one other located wreck “Lady Darling” of this type of vessel.
The Bulli had two compound steam engines built in 1872 with a combined 100HP. The vessels’ register has the name of the engine makers but it but it is difficult to read. It is something like “Roamhill, Hoaglon & Company”. Newcastle is a large city on the coast of New South Wales north of Sydney that is 4r5bamed as such because it was a major producer of coal from its first settlement in the 1820s.
L1aunceston is a city of around 90,000 people near the northern coast of Tasmania (named after the same in Cornwall). The Bul1i was delivering coal to an ironworks.
The Bulli is regarded as a significant shipwreck site (One of the first 10 sites protected under legislation in Tasmania and is one of the few examples of steam collier wrecks. One called the “Lady Darling” has recently been located off the coast of New South Wales.
The Bulli is a spectacular dive. It lies in an isolated group of islands on the middle of Bass Strait (separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland). The week is reasonably intact and sits upright on a white sand sea bed in shallow water. The bow and parts of the upper deck have gone but most of the hull, the engines, propeller rudder ail still remain in place.
From Pat O’Driscoll
I went to the National Maritime Museum to see if I could find any details of the BULLI. No trace at all in Lloyds register although she should be there but the Mercantile Navy lit for 1875 states
BULLI official number 64409 Registered at Sydney N.S.W. 1873 built E.Greenwich 1871. Iron construction, dimensions 180ft x 23.2ft x 15 9 ft nett tons 334, gross tons 4966
She was screw driven and has a 100 hp engine. Owners Bulli Coal Mining Co. Sydney N.S.W.
By the 1877-79 Vol she had acquired the identifying code flag signal W.N.G.R.
I checked in Lloyds List under ‘Casualties’ for June July and August 1877 and found no trace.
Had she been in Lloyds Register these would have been noted with more details of her engine and also the month in which she was launched. A pity as this would have made it easier to check the Kentish Mercury,
At the end of earlier vols of the M.N.List they mention losses of vessels in the previous year but I could find no mention of the Bulli presumably because here was apparently some chance of salvaging her, otherwise I could have found the date of her stranding.
Return to Stockwell and Lewis