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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


The stranding of the ship Manhow.

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Fast Facts
Type of event Accident

Town or locality Port Willunga
Date occurred or began August 17, 1857
Date ended August 21, 1857
Managed or hosted by Mark Staniforth

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This vessel, after a passage of 114 days from Hong Kong, anchored opposite the Semaphore station on Saturday evening. She had on board 358 Chinese and was bound for Guichen Bay, but being short of water, provisions, and wood, she put in at the Lightship station for the purpose of obtaining the necessary requirements.

During the night a violent gale of wind caused her to break from her anchor. For the succeeding 24 hours she vainly endeavoured to regain her former position. At about 3 o'clock on Monday morning, the darkness being intense, she stranded, with all sail set, on the Willunga reef. News of the disaster reached the Port late on Monday night. Captain Douglas left for Willunga the next morning. On his arrival he found that the greater portion of the passengers had been landed, and in a few hours afterwards all of them had got on shore without accident. The captain abandoned the vessel to the charge of Captain Douglas. The part of the reef on which the Manhow has stranded is likely to be less injurious to her than any other portion of the reef, the rocks being comparatively few, and the water smooth. With the exception of her rudder being knocked away, the vessel has sustained but little injury.

Captain Douglas is sanguine that she will be got off from the reef today (Friday). After striking she made water fast; but on Wednesday the water gained only two inches in five hours. The Blanche, with Captain Douglas on board, and the Young Australian, with a gang of men, proceeded to the stranded vessel on Thursday afternoon; and it is confidently expected that she will be towed off the reef at once. The Manhow was in part the property of her captain. She brought no cargo, and was uninsured. The Chinese are encamped at Willlunga. They, of course, are bound for the diggings; but are undetermined as to their immediate course of action. The Burra Burra will start today (Friday) for Willunga, and in all probability will be engaged to take the Chinese on to Guichen Bay.

South Australian Register Friday 21 August 1857. p. 2.


  • South Australian Register Friday 21 August 1857. p. 2.

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