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Author Topic: Queensland (Australia) government PS Lucinda  (Read 120 times)

Offline Roderick Smith

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Queensland (Australia) government PS Lucinda
« on: November 30, 2018, 10:11:06 AM »
This doubled as a vip vessel and as a lighthouse tender.
Just one of the sections from this lengthy article.

16 November 2018.  From disasters and plagues to celebrations: How Brisbane came to love its river.
...Disaster strikes on the Brisbane River.
Wreck of the Pearl off the South Brisbane bank of the Brisbane River.Credit:State Library of Queensland
The only event of recent years which can be compared with the wreck of the SS "Pearl", on Thursday, the 13th instant, is the wreck of the "Quetta," in 1891, and even that, although resulting in a larger loss of life, was perhaps less keenly realised in Brisbane, by reason of its farawayness, than was the disaster of last week, which happened at our own doors, and was seen with agony by many, probably hundreds, who were unable to stretch out a hand to save those who struggled before their eyes for dear life.
The story of the wreck is brief enough, brief as such sad occurrences often are. The heavy rains in the watershed of the Brisbane and the Stanley rivers had resulted in a strong fresh in the river in town. This fresh could have caused no great concern if it had not been accompanied by the floating-down of a large amount of timber and other debris. This by a most mischievous neglect was allowed to reach the piles of the temporary portion of the Victoria Bridge.
The beginning of collection at the piers being thus made possible, the mass increased rapidly and largely, and soon a huge mass of matter lay on the upstream side of the bridge; and this pressing strongly against the relatively frail structure threatened serious damage, if not actual destruction.
At about noon on Thursday, damage ensued, and a portion of the wooden bridge sank; and at once all traffic was stopped.
That stoppage rendered necessary the transit of passengers over the river by means of steamers plying between Queen's Wharf and the Musgrave Wharf.
Throughout the afternoon two or three small steamers were employed in the business. It must be remembered that the current was strong; and as ill luck would have it the SS "Normanby" was anchored in, mid-stream, in or near the direct track between the two points of the service; and at a point somewhat lower down, but nearer to the southern bank, and almost in a line with the Musgrave Wharf, lay the two government steamers, "Lucinda" and "Otter," they having been moored there for safety as had been the case in previous river freshes.
Without accident, the ferry service went on through the afternoon until near 5 o'clock, when the "Pearl" in crossing, narrowly escaped damage or wreck on the bows of the "Lucinda." Undeterred by this escape, she was taken on her next and fatal trip, when she left the Queen's Wharf about 5 o'clock, with probably over 80 passengers aboard. Steering close astern of the "Normanby" she, it is said, grazed that vessel, and then steering towards the " Lucinda", she attempted again the course which had been proved dangerous.
The current was strong and set her down towards the " Lucinda," and not until quite near was it realised that could not pass in front. An attempt was then made to alter the course, but it proved too late, for she was taken by a pitiless current, with a giant's strength, and forced on to the taut anchor cable of the "Lucinda." Probably cut into two parts, she, in less than a minute, turned over with, as it were, face upstream away from' the "Lucinda," and Bank.
"Then rose from river to sky the wild farewell,
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave,
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell."
Not soon will that wild cry be forgotten by those who heard it. Strong men, well known in the city, young girls going home from school, young men and young women in the strength, pride and hope of life, and little ones just looking out on life, all in one mixed struggling mass, fighting for life in a rushing, remorseless-current.
What a sight!
As by magic, there at once shot out from each bank, boats of all sorts, bearing men anxious to save life and to that prompt effort is due the saving of many.
But alas there were many whom no effort could save and these make up the sad, sad tale of the doleful disaster. As the days have passed the record of the saved and of the dead has been slowly filling, until at the time of this writing the number of the former stands at about 59, and of the latter at about 25, the bodies of 12 of whom have been discovered, leaving 13 undiscovered.
It may, of course, be that others may yet prove to be missing since it is not possible to learn how many were on board on that last sad trip. This feature of the happening recalls the account given by Tacitus of the collapse of the amphitheatre at Fidena, as given in the vigorous translation by Gordon, "one bewailed his brother, one his kinsman, another his parents; even they whose friends or kindred were absent on a different account, were yet terrified; for as it was not distinctly known upon whom the destruction had lighted, the dread was widened by uncertainty."
The heart of the community goes out in pity for the ill-fated, and in sympathy with the bereaven. None the less does it demand that diligent inquiry be made whether blame should rightly fall on any, and if on any on whom, for this desolation of so many hearts and homes.
The Pearl Disaster. First published in the Moreton Mail on February 21, 1896. Source: Trove.
<www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/from-disasters-and-plagues-to-celebrations-how-brisbane-came-to-love-its-river-20181115-p50gc4.html>

See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucinda_(steam_yacht)
A Government party in 1899 board PS Lucinda on Brisbane River.  http://aso.gov.au/titles/historical/government-picnic-party/clip1
There is a reasonable coverage of Lucinda in Queensland Maritime Museum.
There is a reference in Marten Howes & Baylis steam plant http://www.paddleducks.co.uk/smf/index.php?topic=1445
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/this-queensland-paddle-steamer-was-key-to-the-birth-of-the-nation-20170811-gxufch.html

Offline DamienG

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Re: Queensland (Australia) government PS Lucinda
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2018, 02:50:32 PM »
 :sobbing :sobbing :sobbing :sobbing

 

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