Perilous Position of the "Black Ball" line ship Prince Consort-The Kembla Steamer Preparing to tow her off.

Rare colonial engraving of  Black Ball line Prince Consort, of 1,200 tons, commanded by Capt. Aitcheson, The ship had sailed, from Brisbane for Newcastle on the 29th of May, 1864 having on board a portion, of her original cargo from London, … Read Full Description

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Full Title:

Perilous Position of the “Black Ball” line ship Prince Consort-The Kembla Steamer Preparing to tow her off.




In good condition.


Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

x 165mm
Perilous Position of the "Black Ball" line ship Prince Consort-The Kembla Steamer Preparing to tow her off. - Antique View from 1864

Genuine antique



Rare colonial engraving of  Black Ball line Prince Consort, of 1,200 tons, commanded by Capt. Aitcheson,

The ship had sailed, from Brisbane for Newcastle on the 29th of May, 1864 having on board a portion, of her original cargo from London, consisting of 400 tons of railway iron for the Great Northern Railway. On the morning of the 9th she was off Nobby’s Light, but as the weather, looked threatening the Captain deemed it advisable to stand off the land. Through-out the day the gale increased, and during the 10th and 11th the vessel, under close-reefed canvas, drifted to the southward. On the 12th the gale moderated, and when the ship was off Molla Walla, about half-way between the Heads and Wollongong, the breeze died away, while the heavy ground swell carried the helpless vessel towards the high range of cliffs which form a prominent feature of that part of the coast. The anchors were now the only hope of saving the ship, and one of these was let go, the cable being payed out to the bare end. The vessel still continuing to drift, the second anchor was dropped, and for some hours they held, but the ship, though making no lee-way, was riding so heavily that the topmasts had to be cut away to ease her, and shortly afterwards the starboard chain parted and with ninety fathoms of chain to the port anchor, she commenced drifting towards the cliffs. Her destruction seeming inevitable, the quarter-boats were got ready; but hardly had the crew placed their clothing in them, when the ship gave a heavy lurch and carried away her mainmast close by the deck, taking with it both boats. During the afternoon of the 14th it was determined to abandon the ship, and as a steamer was discerned in the’ distance the passengers and crew, in all twenty-seven persons; left the ship in the two life-boats, and were soon after picked up by the Illawarra S. N. Co.’s steamer Hunter, from Clyde River for Sydney. On learning that the vessel was abandoned, Capt. Sullivan made an effort to tow her off shore but his vessel not being supplied with warps sufficiently strong, he decided on continuing his voyage to Sydney and obtaining the assistance of the Kembla, a large and more powerful vessel belonging to the same Company, and arrived here with the crew at about 10 o’clock that night.

From the original edition of The Illustrated Sydney News.

Gibbs & Shallard. Illustrated Sydney News. ISSN 2203-5397.

State Library New South Wales: F8/39-40
State Library Victoria: PCINF SLVIC=1853-1872
National Library Australia: Bib ID 440095

O.R.C. - Oswald Rose Campbell (1820 - 1887)

Campbell was an artist  born in the Channel Islands, arrived in Melbourne in October 1852. He then moved to Sydney for brief period and returned to Melbourne in 1864. On Thomas Clark's retirement, Campbell applied again for appointment as drawing-master at the School of Design, claiming that for the past twelve years he had been drawing on wood, chiefly figures for the illustrated papers. He was appointed on 1 December 1876 at a salary of £250.

View other items by O.R.C. - Oswald Rose Campbell

Frederick Grosse (1828 - 1894)

Grosse was an engraver and vigneron, was born in February 1828 at Aschersleben, Prussia, son of Tibertus Andrew Arristoft Grosse, founder, and his wife Dorothea, née Hensher. Frederick arrived in Adelaide in January 1854, departing a few days later for Victoria. After a year on the Sandhurst (Bendigo) goldfields he set up business in Melbourne as a designer and wood-engraver. At his home in Flinders Lane on 6 November 1856 he married with Lutheran rites Caterina Sophia Henriette Hachmann, née Hanstein, a German-born widow. They were to have four children, three of whom died in childhood. Grosse had mixed success in business, mainly producing woodblocks for illustrated periodicals that rarely ran for long. His earliest recorded work was in the first issue of Melbourne Punch on 2 August 1855, after which he engraved illustrations for the Newsletter of Australasia, the Illustrated Melbourne News and the Illustrated Australian Mail. Yet he was optimistic concerning the future of graphic journalism in the young colony, being a partner with the publisher William Detmold and the artist-illustrator Nicholas Chevalier as proprietors of the Illustrated Melbourne News, which ran for six weeks at the beginning of 1858. The most likely cause of failure was a lack of capital, compounded by an ambitious weekly publication schedule given Victoria's small, decentralized population. Engaged to engrave the punches for two series of Victorian postage stamps, Grosse produced the Beaded Ovals series (1860) and the Laureated series (1863-67). Also at this time, he and Rudolph Jenny, possibly an employee, developed what seems to have been a woodblock stereotype process known as 'Bismuthography'. This was patented on 16 February 1861 but there were no commercial applications. In 1862-68 Grosse's engraving work for illustrated periodicals expanded with the launching of the Illustrated Melbourne Post and the Illustrated Australian News. His monogram appeared on many illustrations in both these monthly papers. A new prosperity was reflected by his 1864 purchase of Tooronga Vineyard on Emu Creek, Strathfieldsaye, near Bendigo, after having sold a vineyard he had planted in 1857 at Thomastown. On 11 June 1868 Grosse was appointed supernumerary wood-engraver to the Government Printing Office. He subsequently produced hundreds of engravings for government publications, most notably R. B. Smyth's The Goldfields and Mineral Districts of Victoria (1869) and The Aborigines of Victoria (1878). Grosse was given a permanent appointment on 1 July 1877, but lost his position six months later in the Berry government's 'Black Wednesday' dismissal of sections of the public service. Grosse then became a full-time vigneron. In May 1881 he expanded upon his operation by opening Bendigo Wine Cellars in Melbourne. His wines won prizes at colonial, intercolonial and international wine shows and he displayed further entrepreneurial flair in 1889 when he engaged a German-trained wine-maker Maurice Steiner, from Hungary, to manage his vineyard. In the early 1890s Grosse bought the adjoining Emu Vineyard, giving him a total holding of sixty-eight acres (27.5 ha) under vine; he became the largest grape grower in the Bendigo district. His wife died in 1887. In December 1893 he found Phylloxera vasatrix in his vineyard, the first discovery of the disease in the district; his vines were uprooted in early 1894. The experience told heavily and after a short illness Grosse died of influenza and pneumonia on 4 October that year at St Kilda and was buried in St Kilda cemetery. One daughter survived him.

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