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The Skeleton Closet

Small Boats in South Australia

These are some of the small boats that have been recorded as entering Port Adelaide and other ports in South Australia. Often these were fishing boats or the cutters and skiffs from wrecked ships. There are also some interesting stories surrounding these small boats, I have also included a few of here.

See also [Whale Boats]

The Solway's longboat reached Nepean Bay under Captain Pearson on 8 Januray 1838 carrying some passengers including Mr. D. McLaren. I then carried a letter to Port Adelaide and returned with various items sent back to Kangaroo Island by Mr E. Stephens. Later, in February, this boat took another letter to Encounter Bay which makes reference to an employee of the South Australia Company having been removed from the Island in Buck's boat.

Water Witch, Solway's longboat and Young Solway took part in a sailing regatta at Kingscote on Nepean Bay in May 1838.

A cutter rigged boat belonging to Hennig and Fenden left Holdfast Bay on 5 October 1839 to cross St Vincent Gulf. She capsized and two people drowned. The accident was witnessed by passengers and crew aboard the Lady Lilford. Messrs Thompson, Walker, Fox and Sullock were send in a whaleboat on 17 August 1840 to assist in the search for survivors of a wreck believed to have been the Maria near the Coorong. A Dr. Penney left Goolwa on 10 September 1841 to investigate the report of a long dead body having been discovered. During the trip he found four bodies - all members of the crew who had survived the wreck but did of exposure.

Two sheep brought to the colony on the ship Porter for Messrs White, were stolen by sealersfrom Kangaroo Island at Port Lincoln on 5 September, and taken in thier whaleboat back to the Island.

A Deal boat purchased by the Government took Lady Franklin down the Port River to meet the Abeona on 8 January 1841. This craft was 12-oared and rigged for sailing.

Boats from the Fama, King Henry and the Francis Yates went downriver at Port Adelaide on a pleasure trip on 8 January 1842. The boat belonging to the Fama capsised and a child and Captain Gibb were drowned.

In September 1842 and American negro named Dyer who had escaped from gaol about 9 months before, stole a boat from Mr G. Hepenstall at Onkaparinga (near Noarlunga) and sailed it to Kangaroo Island.

"Messrs Robert Buck, senior and junior, of the Reedbeds, were charged with stealing a bullock and having it on board their small boat in the creek. This boat was seen in October 1842 as far up as any masted vessel has evr reached." Both men were found guilty.

To avoid paying port taxes, ships' masters often left their ships anchored at Nepean Bay on Kangaroo Island and sailed across Back Stairs Passage, into the Gulf and up the Port River for supplies in their long boats. Such was the case with Captain Paulsen of the St Croix and Captain Hawes of the Majestic.

Venn's Littl Clipper was expected to race the Hatchboat in the Port Adelaide Regatta of 1845.

These boats competed in the Port Regatta of 1846 - Medway's launch - aschooner rigged and sailed by second officer Sanders; Mr Wooldridge's boat which he built himself and sailed; the four-oared gigs from the Britania - coxswain J.F.Bennett in command and from the Heerjeebhoy Rustonjee Patel commanded by overlander J. Stein; the Government gig commanded by C. Fisher, and dinghies were pulled by Mrs. Forsyth and Mrs. Hayes.

On 20 July 1850, the customs gig and the mail boat chased the Alexander Harvey off the flagstaff and arrested the master and mate for smuggling.

A lighter carrying passengrs form the Anna Maria ran ashore on 24 November 1850 at Snapper Point. The passengers were rescued two days later.