Yandra shipwreck, Neptune Island

Abbreviated Excerpt from Corrugated Castles

“Wake up! Will you for heaven’s sake wake up, Margaret – I think a ship has run aground somewhere on the island” George was shaking me furiously. ...
The blankets were roughly pulled off the bed – George was frantic. “Get up. I am not joking, I am sure there is a wreck, you will be needed to help.” ...

I grabbed some warm clothes and ran through the dark house to the kitchen. ... The head keeper’s wife came in looking panic stricken. ...

... just then all three keepers came into the kitchen. They were very worried men. Over coffee and hot rolls they told us that the radio was not working, possibly weather interference, there was a lot of static, then silence. But they were sure they had heard calls for help from a ship, which they judged to be on the next island. However they could not get any messages out, nor could they see anything due to the fog. It was to be a waiting game, waiting for the fog to clear, the radio to ‘come good’ again or some other sign. We were all given instructions ...

From the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ Monday Jan. 24th
The intrastate ship ‘Yandra’ (918 tons) ran aground in dense fog on a rocky island of the Neptune group about 60 miles south of Port Lincoln late on Saturday night. She was pounded by heavy seas last night.
The crew of 23 abandoned the ship by breeches buoy and reached the islands shore safely.
The Port Adelaide tug ‘Tusker’ battled against stiff southerly winds throughout yesterday to reach the stranded vessel
The 30-year-old ‘Yandra’ is owned by Coast Steamships Ltd. She ran aground on the rocky northern island of the southern group of Neptune islands at the entrance to Spencer Gulf at about 10pm on Saturday.
Although the ‘Yandra’ ran aground about a quarter of a mile from the Neptune Island Lighthouse she was not sighted until dawn broke yesterday and the fog lifted.
Intermittent radio contact had made it difficult to send messages throughout the night.
The Deputy Director of Navigation in South Australia Captain L.W.D Taylor stood by all night directing operations for rescue.
Mr. Jim Polsons yacht ‘Ilene’, which was taking part in the annual 250 mile Neptune Island race, conducted by the Royal SA Yacht Squadron, answered a radio call and found the ‘Yandra’. Aid was given to the lighthouse keepers to transfer the marooned seamen to the safety of the southern island. The yacht crew spent many hours on the tricky rescue job off the rocky island coast.
Yesterday, when seen from the air, the ‘Yandra’ appeared to be bumping and rolling on a rocky bed.
Read the full story in Corrugated Castles.

© 2011 Margaret Hill. 2011