GHOST SHIPS: The Mary Celeste and other derelicts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHE WAS A GHOST: MARY CELESTE WAS ALMOST STATIONARY IN THE LIGHT NORTHERLY AS THE DEI GRATIA APPROACHED HER. SHE WAS ABANDONED.

The map showing Mary Celeste’s course from New York to the Azores from where she drifted in an abandoned state. The first of a three parts series.

ALAN LUCAS

To nonbelievers in paranormal events there are no such things as ‘ghost ships’. The term ‘mystery ships’ is now being better accepted.

In this context one of the most ghostly mystery ships of all time was the 282-ton, 98-foot long American hermaphrodite brig Mary Celeste. Built in Nova Scotia in 1861, she was found abandoned east of the Azores in the North Atlantic by the British brigantine Dei Gratia during November 1872.

Coincidentally, before leaving New York the captains of both ships dined ashore together at the time their respective vessels were in the hands of stevedores. Mary Celeste’s cargo was 1700 barrels of commercial alcohol destined for Genoa, Italy.

When Captain Reed Morehouse of the Dei Gratia caught up with Captain Benjamin Briggs’s Mary Celeste, he called across to her but received no response; conditions at the time being a light northerly over a calm sea with Mary Celeste yawing and luffing under reduced sail.

When Dei Gratia’s mate Oliver Deveau and a seaman boarded her not a soul could be found, despite everything appearing to the shipshape.

NO THOUGHT OF VIOLENCE

Deveau and his assistant first checked the main cabin and found a sewing machine with a reel of red cotton and a thimble near the remains of a recently eaten meal, plus the captain’s time piece. This scene of domesticity refuted any thought of violence; as did their finding of Captain Brigg’s petty cash and gold locket along with his wife and daughters’ neatly folded clothes.

The galley and crew quarters proved to be in good order and the only anomalies being the storeroom’s empty preserved-meat drawers and the ship’s papers, sextant and chronometer missing. The logbook was still aboard but it held no clues as to why Mary Celeste was abandoned.

A salvage crew from Dei Gratia was put aboard Mary Celeste and both ships sailed to Gibraltar, arriving in the evening of December 13, 1872. Gibraltar’s Admiralty Proctor -- Mr Solly Flood -- “had the ship arrested in the customary manner’; while Captain Morehouse lodged a salvage claim.

ENTER THE ‘GHOST SHIP’

Despite numerous official examinations in Gibraltar, no firm reason for her abandonment could be established beyond the possibility of vapour from nine damaged casks of alcohol causing a minor explosion, despite there being no signs of fire damage.

Under the circumstances, it was hardly surprising that the public soon tagged Mary Celeste as being a ‘ghost ship’.

On March 25, 1873, the Vice-Admiralty Court in Gibraltar awarded a sum of money to Dei Gratia for services rendered, which represented about one-fifth of the sworn value of Mary Celeste and her cargo.

The strange circumstances of Mary Celeste remain a source of conjecture. Yet drifting derelicts in her era were surprisingly common, many being abandoned during or immediately after extreme weather events.

Nearly all derelicts were wooden ships whose hulls kept them afloat when swamped; especially if their cargos were logs. So serious was their threat to shipping that the Derelict Vessels Report Act was passed in 1896 by the British Parliament with a fine of five pounds levied against anyone failing to report a drifting derelict.

<< Ghost Ships – the Mary Celeste and other derelicts by Alan Lucas; Afloat Magazine, August 2017.

Next November: What even stranger mystery was the derelict of the American sailing vessel Ellen Austin which sail in 1881?

Pictures: The man who was not there. Captain Briggs was called by the Captain of Dei Gratia to the Mary Celeste but received no response. No one’s home. Mary Celeste was found abandoned.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISASTER IN THE FOG: IN 1910, THERE WAS AN APPALLING RAILWAY ACCIDENT WHICH OCCURRED IN VICTORIA. IN THE EVENT, WHICH WAS AT RICHMOND STATION, 9 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND 110 INJURED.

COMING NEXT YEAR. WATCH FOR PART 2 OF THE AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE NEWSPAPER SERIES FROM 1901 TO 1984.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..............................................................

 

 

 

 

 

ALL THE NEWS …
THIS RED INSIGNIA MEANS THAT A STOP PRESS NEWS ITEM HAS BEEN POSTED ON THIS SITE. WHEN IT’S WORLD-WIDE IT HAPPENS RIGHT HERE -- GRAND YEARS. KEEP LOOKING. IT CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME.

........................................................................................................................................................................................

BIOGRAPHY: JOHN CHRISTIAN WATSON -- THE FIRST LABOR PM IN THE WORLD

FRANK MORRIS

He was born at Valparaiso, Chile, when his parents were on their way from Britain to New Zealand. But he made his mark on the Australia political front.

His name was John Christian Watson and he became the first Labor Australian prime minister in 1904. He was the youngest incumbent to hold the office at the age of 37. And that’s not all. He was the first Labor prime minister in the world but it was short lived, however.

He governed Australia for 3 months and 21 days until it came crashing down.

Several attacks by the press for misrepresenting the aims and objective of the party made him very irate indeed. Watson said the party rejected a “definition of socialism” pinned on it by its opponents. He criticised Free Trade Party and Anti-Socialist leader George Reid for his attack that since the advent of the Labor Party wages had gone down.

Watson said the Labor Party’s aim “was to make life” happy and content for everyone. He was a moderate and a pragmatist who moulded colonial labour interests into a federal platform. He resigned his leadership in 1907; he left parliament in 1910.

MODICUM OF SHAPE

He only held the position for a short time but it was long enough to make an impression of him as a Labor Prime Minister. Deakin wrote: “His simple dignity, courage and resource during his short lease of power, made him hosts of admirers and many friends.”

Deakin, who took over from George Reid as prime minister, lasted only 4 month 9 days in the position, before Andrew Fisher swooped in for Labor. The two battled with the prime ministership twice more until Fisher scored again, serving for 3 years and 1 month.

With Billy Hughes and others, he was expelled from the Labor Party in 1916 for supporting conscription.

Later in life he pursued other business interests, one of which was the presidency of the National Roads and Motorist Association in 1923. He was there until his death in Sydney on November 18, 1941.

Watson will be remembered as an influential figure who helped put a modicum of shape into the ALP.

<< Monash Biographical of the 20th Century Australia, 1994; Frank Morris from the series Great Aussie Firsts.

Picture. There’s one man. Australia’s first Labor ministry in 1904 with Labor Prime Ministry John Watson, centre.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED PANELS: AMERICAN 1906 STEAMED CAR MADE BY ABNER, WILLIAM, JOHN AND WARREN. IT TOOK 90 SECONDS TO HAVE IT MOVING AFTER A COLD START. THE MODEL PICTURED ABOVE WAS MADE BETWEEN 1914 AND 1917.

THE CAR MY FAMILY WOULD LIKE – DARING YOUNG MEN AND THEIR STEAMING MACHINES!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

The Locomotives on Highways Act inflicted on motorists in Great Britain three quarters of the way through the 19th century banned speeds of over about 7km/h and insisted that vehicles had be preceded by a man carrying a red flag.

It did much to retard the development of the motorcars in the UK. It was repealed in 1896. The speed limit was then raised to 20km/h and the flag bearer dispensed with, possibly because even lawmakers realised he would be too puffed out at the new speed limit.

Steam was a serious business, particularly on the market in the USA in the early 20th century. The advantages over internal combustion included silence, lack of fumes, flexibility, smoothness and acceleration. But the problem was getting a steamer engine, moving from scratch.

(The steam engine’s furnace had to be lit, then there was a pause for the steam to be ready so it had plenty to pull the beast. FM)

FIRST CARS WERE STEAMERS

The decline of the steamers was hastened when Cadillac began offering self-starters in 1912. This, in turn, complicated Whites sojourn into steamers which lasted until 1911. The simpler Stanley Steamers went on until 1927.

Steamers were fast, with a surging acceleration due to torque being good from low engine speeds. Every stroke was a power stroke; while, in the internal combustion engine, only one stroke in two is. Steamers were easy to drive, vibrationless, quiet and gears were needed.

Incidentally, Australia’s first cars were steamers, starting with the Shearer in 1885. It lasted until 1895. Then came the Thomson in about 1896. Interest in steam cars has never really died. The Gvang steam powered sports car, built in the 1970s, was exhibited at a motor show in Sydney.

It has no clutch or gearbox and was capable of 320km/h.

Sadly, it ran out of, no, not steam, but funds.

<< Those daring young men in their steaming machines by Eric Wisemen; Restored Cars, Sept-Oct 2017.

Picture. A 1905 White steam car. A similar vehicle was used by American President Taft in 1911. They were built from 1905 to 1911.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELLO!: BIG TED, WITH GRAHAM AND THREE OTHER CHARACTERS OF THE ABC PLAY SCHOOL SHOW, HAVE THEIR PHOTO TAKEN.

THE KIDS SAY, “HELLO TO BIG TED” … HE CATCHES UP WITH PLAY SCHOOL AT A SYDNEY CLUB

Guess what? School kids found time to say “hello to Big Ted” in the flesh. Big Ted, and four other characters, joined the throng of fans of the ABC Play School Show at the Revesby Works Club, Sydney during the school holidays. “Charlie, the husband of my eldest daughter, Vanessa, met the manager of Revesby Workers, and said, ‘I know the man who made Big Ted,’ said Graham Byrne, the creator of Big Ted. The rest is history. Graham Byrne went along. He met the presenters and the many of kids who turned up.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 13 October 17

Stay Informed

Receive eNews & Special Offers

Brochure Request Order

BLOG: Grand Years Read

Last 12 months


Tags


Banner

Cruise & Coach Tours

Fully escorted from start to finish. Combine modern luxury on board the indulgent Celebrity Solstice with a scenic coach tour of New Zealand. Great offers available!


WATCH! Celebrity Solstice