C1884

The Collission Between the Steamers "Birksgate" and "Barrabool," in Sydney Harbour.

Rare colonial engraving showing the collision between the ships Birksgate and Barrabool, on Sydney Harbour on the night of the 9th August, 1884. In the first of three protracted trials both ships were found to each found to be responsible … Read Full Description

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S/N: ISN-SHIPS-AA-840826001–432583
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Details

Full Title:

The Collission Between the Steamers “Birksgate” and “Barrabool,” in Sydney Harbour.

Date:

C1884

Artist:

Unknown

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

230mm 
x 252mm
AUTHENTICITY
The Collission Between the Steamers "Birksgate" and "Barrabool," in Sydney Harbour. - Antique View from 1884

Genuine antique
dated:

1884

Description:

Rare colonial engraving showing the collision between the ships Birksgate and Barrabool, on Sydney Harbour on the night of the 9th August, 1884. In the first of three protracted trials both ships were found to each found to be responsible for the collision. In the third final trial the Birsksgate alone was found to be responsible.

Contemporary account:
Under the light of a clear moon, and without a ruffle on the water, or the faintest fog to render the navigation of Port Jackson hazardous, the A.S.N. Co.s steamer Birksgate, outward bound for Newcastle, collided with H. Smith and Sons’ steamer, Barrabool, immediately east of Bradley’s Head. The latter vessel was coming into port, coal laden, and her momentum at the time of impact was sufficient to crush in the starboard bow of the other vessel. The damage extended some 18 feet from close to the forerigging towards the bow, and from the upper deck to below the water line, revealing sections of the interior of the steerage and lower hold. The vessel was at once beached, and remained so until about midday on Sunday, the interval being occupied in pumping out water ballast, shoring the bulk heads, &c. The Barrabool did not come off scatheless, as a considerable portion of her stempost, and plates connected therewith, were left ‘ aboard the Birksgate, but her collision bulkhead remaining tight she was enabled to proceed to her wharf as usual. The Barrabool had previously attained a celebrity, by having sunk the tea steamer, Queensland, in Bass’s Straits, a few years ago, and also a smaller vessel engaged in the coasting trade. That no lives were lost during her last collision, is very fortunate, considering the force with which the two vessels came together. The most extraordinary features of the occurrence are the diametrically opposite stories which the two captains have given of the circumstance under which it took place and the relative positions of the vessels. The captain of the Birksgate says he had rounded Bradley’s, going out, and was proceeding down the west channel, with the Sow and Pigs’ light on his starboard bow and the approaching steamer’s green light open; the captain of the Barrabool asserts that he was rounding Bradley’s inwards on a port helm, as close to that point as he could go with safety, yet when the accident occurred the other vessel was inshore of him. With such conflicting testimony it is not our province to deal. The Marine Board is seized with jurisdiction in the case, and we trust that no effort will be spared to arrive at such a decision as the magnitude of the affair deserves. Collisions are becoming too frequent for the comfort of those who travel by sea, and appear to have been increasingly frequent since insurance companies, in competing for business, inserted what is known as a “collision clause” in their policies, and have not protected themselves by providing that where it is proven that such collision was caused by neglect or violation of recognised rules, the loss should fall on the owner.

From the original edition of The Illustrated Sydney News.

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

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