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2-123 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Broadside*,un
Newspaper Article
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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The barque Neva, of 337 tons, Captain B. H. Peck, left Cork on the 8th day of January last, with 150 prisoner women, nine free women, and fifty-five children on board, under the superintendence of Surgeon John Stephenson, R.N. Her crew was twenty-six in number, Captain Peck did not touch at the Cape of Good Hope, but having on the 26th. April made the Island of St. Pauls, in fine weather, he hove-too for a few hours, and obtained from the settlers on it, some articles of food.
On the noon of the 12th. of May, by calculation, King's Island bore about 90 miles to the eastward. The weather was fresh, and the Captain continued running until about 1 A.M. of the following morning, (13th), when a good look out being kept, the land (King's Island) was discovered. The wind was in a W.N.W. direction, and blew strong, - vessel under double-reef topsails, close hauled on the larboard tack; the course was good to clear the Harbinger Reef, & every danger known to exist to the northward of the Island.
At five A.M, a reef was reported to be seen right a-head - put the helm down immediately. - the ship came head to wind, and while in stays, struck, and carried away her rudder - the wheel fell on deck, and the vessel being unmanageable, payed off before the wind. In a few minutes she took a reef on her larboard bow, and struck violently. A sea hove her broadside on, and bilged her - the next that followed, made a fair breach over c her, and swept many of the unfortunate women overboard.
The pinnace was hove out, and the Captain, Surgeon and several women got in, but before she could be shoved from the wreck, so many women rushed into her, that she sank alongside. The Captain and two others recovered the wreck. The long boat was then launched, into which most of the crew and several women consigned themselves but she had scarcely cleared the wreck, when a sea capsized her, and the whole number, excepting the Captain and the Chief Mate, met a watery grave. These two a second time recovered the vessel. 
She soon after separated into four parts, the deck leaving her top, and dividing formed two rafts. The scene now became the most heart-rendering that ever was witnessed by human eyes. The number of females, some holding children up, and at the same time drowning themselves was so dreadful that the survivors turned away from the sight with horror. On one of the rafts the Captain and several of the surviving women held fast; the first officer with some others, clung to the other. They floated clear of the wreck, and the hapless people, after clinging to them for 8 hours, were drifted upon them into a sandy bay. The raft upon which was the first officer, being disengaged from the rigging and gear, went well in shore, and most of the people were saved from it. Those upon the Captain's raft were not so fortunate - a large portion of the vessel's foremast stuck through it, and occasioned it to ground, when about of a mile from it. A tremendous surf rolled upon the beach, which broke upon the raft and swept from it every individual - the Captain, a seaman, and a woman gained the shore, the rest of this ill-fated little band, perished in the surf.
Twenty-two persons in the whole reached the shore alive - seven of whom died during the next day, either from over-exertion, or injuries received in the melancholy struggle for life. Out of the Neva's complement of crew and women, (240) fifteen only have been saved. These poor people made the best of their distressing situation upon King's Island - built for themselves a tent out of a topmast, studding sail, and gaff topsail, washed on shore, and supported themselves upon shell-fish which they procured from the rocks and from the fragments of provisions that were occasionally cast up when it fortunately happened that the attention of some men who had been previously wrecked in a small vessel named the Tartar belonging to Mr Charles Friend upon the southeast end of King s Island some weeks previous was attracted by the pieces of wreck and materials that floated about and undertook a search round the Island. [159] Upon the northern end they fell in with the survivors from the Neva.
By the exertions of the dogs belonging to a sealer who had been passenger in the Tartar some wallaby were procured which proved of much service to the distressed people On the 15th of June Mr Charles Friend made the Island m the Sarah Ann bound to a whaling station at Port Farrie, and took all the unfortunate people from it at some risk, with the exception of 2 seamen and 1 woman, who were in the bush, and were not aware of the arrival of the vessel. With these Mr Friend returned to Launceston, and arrived on Saturday afternoon, 27th. June.
Every kindness that humanity could suggest, and Mr Charles Friend's limited circumstances permitted, was bestowed upon the sufferers, until their arrival at Launceston, when, we are proud to say, the Port Officer, Lieutenant Friend, personally exerted himself, in providing for them every accommodation and necessary, that no doubt, proved gratifying indeed, after the hardships and sufferings they had for so long endured. Lieutenant Friend, in a most praiseworthy manner, opened a subscription, which he liberally started; we trust his example will be followed up by every inhabitant of the town, and that a sum may be realized, sufficient to reimburse the poor people for their pecuniary loss.
The following are the names of the survivors: - B. H. Peck, commander; Joseph Bennett, chief mate. Seamen - Thos. Sharpe, John Wilson, Edward Calthorp, Thomas Hines, Robert Bullard, John Robinson and William Kidney. Female Convicts - Ellen Galvin, Mary Slattery, Ann Cullen, Rose Ann Heland, Rose Dunn and Margaret Drury.
Of these, Robinson, Kidney, and Margaret Drury, were left at King's Island. The Shamrock, Colonial vessel, is to be dispatched to King's Island, to bring off those persons left behind, and to secure any Government stores that may have been washed ashore.
Thus with the destruction of the barque, Neva, prison ship, recalls the wreck of the unfortunate male prison ship, George the Third, at the entrance of the Derwent, while it is still fresh in our minds. The sacrifice of human life in both instances is appalling: - In the first named vessel, 224 human beings perished, and in the latter, no less than 134, making a total of 358 souls, that have been hurried into eternity by accidents, that we maintain, should not have occurred.
We have a Colonial Marine, that is now to be supported by the Colonists, at an amazing cost, and ought to be employed in the only way in which the Colony can be benefitted by its services. One of the vessels might, with much advantage, be employed in surveying the entrances into the Derwent, - the coasts of the Island, - and Bass's Straits. The loss of life occasioned by the ignorance of strangers making our ports, which cannot be otherwise, so long as they are suffered to remain unacquainted with the dangers that exist, is agonizing, and reflects much reprehension upon the Local Government.
If the means were not provided for the express purpose of rendering the navigation into our ports, and in the vicinity of the Island, safe, we should be crying out against the British Government, and upbraiding it for neglecting our interests. - It has provided the Colony with every necessary means, to ascertain the existing situations of every danger that the mariner is liable to meet with in approaching the Island, and it ought to be done.
After the establishment of the Colony for a period of thirty years - we have a right to expect, at the least, with the expensive Marine kept up, a something approaching to correct charts of the neighbouring seas and coasts.
We cannot suffer this opportunity to pass, without again imploring the Local Government, if merely for humanity sake, to cause the entrance into the Derwent, & Bass's Straits, to be carefully surveyed and made public, and the improvements promised in the river Tamar, to be commenced. What will be thought of our coasts, and our harbours by Foreigners.
What will strangers think of these repeated losses? The consequences are evident. Merchants and ship owners will not send their vessels and goods without insuring them, - the underwriters will exact premiums in proportion to the risk, which is, of course laid upon the imports, and the consumers, that is, the Colonists have to pay it. We trust His Excellency will command surveying to be done at once, and thereby prevent the recurrence of the dreadful calamities it is our duty to record.
The loss of three hundred and fifty eight human beings, by shipwreck, in less than three months, is conclusive of the necessity for adopting immediate measures to prevent such awful shipping disasters for the future, by instant surveys of our coasts.