Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Concordia - Muriwai September 1902

Muriwai Beach: Image Sourced Wikicommons

I'm still locating articles on this vessel, they are extensive and more will be added onto this post.

Near where the public at Muriwai Beach take their pleasure with kite fishing, horse riding and other leisure activities, there once once the sight of a number of wreckings of ships caught up in storms. The steel barque Concordia was another one of those victims. For her there was no chance, with the power of the waves from the Tasman Sea she was soon high and dry on the bank sands. One seaman was drowned, the rest of the crew making it ashore. And there she sat stuck fast on the beach awaiting her fate.

BARQUE CONCORDIA WRECKED.A SEAMAN DROWNED.Late last evening Inspector Cullen received a telegram from the stationmaster at Helensville that it had just been reported from Waimauku that a three-masted vessel was ashore on the West Coast, near Muriwai Creek, and some twenty miles to the north ward of Manukau Heads.
At 9 a.m to-day our Helensville correspondent wired:
 "A large barque, in ballast, came ashore near Waimauku at 4 p.m. yesterday. From particulars to hand she is standing upright. There is no information
yet available about the crew.''
(From Our Own Correspondent)HELENSVILLE, this day.Additional particular's - have since been received here, and states that the vessel ashore on the coast is the Russian barque Concordia, which left Fremantle on the 8th ult. for Kaipara, in ballast under charter to the Kauri Timber Company to load for the United Kingdom.

One English sailor was drowned, but the remainder of the ship's company, including the master, Captain Wickmass, succeeded in reaching shore.

The barque at low water lies high and dry on the beach. The Concordia is insured in the Salamander office.
A message to the same effect was received this morning- by Mr. Q. T. Niccol. No particulars of the wreck are as yet available, and it can only be surmised that, getting too close in shore, the barque, unable to make an offing against the westerly gale blowing was driven helplessly on the beach, which just about here is very sandy.

Acting under instructions from Inspector Cullen a constable left Helensville this morning for the site of the wreck. A telegram received this afternoon by Inspector Cullen states that all the crew landed safely, but one man died subsequently.

Besides Constable Watts, of Helensville, Constable Gordon, of Avondale, has also gone to the scene of the wreck.
The Concordia is a steel barque of 1031 tons, of the following dimensions: Length. 193 ft' 9in; breadth. 35ft 4in; and depth', 20ft 6 inch. She was built at Amsterdam in 1886 by Messrs. Huijgens & Oelder, and is owned by Messrs. Schfahrts, Ges & Austra, of Riga, Russia. She is classed100 Al at Lloyds'.

The barque comes from Fremantle, in ballast, under charter to the Kauri Timber Company.
-         Auckland Star 24 September 1902
THE BARQUE CONCORDIA.The stranded barque Concordia still lies on the beach south of Kaipara Harbour (says an Aratapu paper of recent date).  She has settled down about five feet into the sand on an even keel, and looks very comfortable.

Her bow is seaward, and she appears quite willing to take to the sea again with little persuasion. She seems to have suffered no injury. A gentleman who was having a look at the vessel this week states that with a little energy and expense there should be no great difficulty ill floating the barque.

At the time of his visit there was a fair wind and a growing tide, and the captain had an anchor out seaward, but he is of opinion that unless more energy is displayed the vessel will not be moved. More men and better appliances are necessary to ensure success.
- Auckland Star 7 October 1902
The Russian barque Concordia, a vessel of 980 tons, is stranded about 20 miles south of Kaipara Heads, where she was driven ashore, ballasted, by a heavy westerly gale on September 22. The crew landed on the beach, but subsequently the steward of the vessel (Henry Harris) succumbed to effects of exposure. The barque is not badly damaged, and if the weather keeps good she will be floated off.-        Auckland Star 9 October 1902

On January 5 1903 the vessel was purchased by Helensville local James Stewart and Aucklander George Nicol for just over £200. The salvage through, was not without its hazards. A small boat was wrecked in the process of attempting to refloat the huge vessel, at the end of the ordeal though at last she floated and was taken to Shelly Beach to be readied for a voyage to Auckland.

(Per United Press Association.)AUCKLAND, January 5. The iron barque Concordia, recently stranded near Kaipara Heads, was sold at auction for £200. The purchaser is James Stewart, of Helensville. The hull is undamaged and almost afloat at high spring tides.
-         Wanganui Herald 6 January 1903

Efforts are being made by the purchaser of the Russian barque Concordia, which was stranded sometime  on Rangatara beach, south of Kaipara Heads, to get the vessel off. The risky nature of these operations on such a coast was illustrated by an accident that occurred last Wednesday.
An attempt was made to run a line from the tug boat Pilot about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, to the bow of the Concordia.

Mr Harrison first went out with a small boat but was capsized. One of the Concordia's big whale boats was got out with about a mile of line in it. The crew had been carefully selected, all being good swimmers. Amongst them were Mr Harrison, who acted as coxswain, Captain Cooper, who has taken charge of the barque, a seaman named Jenner, a Russian and two others.

The idea was to get the rope out, and then drag a wire cable on which to put the steam pressure, to try and get the Concordia off. When within half a mile of the shore, however, the whaleboat swamped in the surf, and was Almost immediately smashed to pieces. For the next few minutes the crew had a very lively time. One man expressed his sensations as being rolled over and over like a cork, and he says he did his best to swim, but really knew very little more until he was helped on shore by Mr J. Stewart. He then saw Captain Cooper struggling through the surf, assisting the Russian sailor, who was pretty well exhausted.
Fortunately, however, all reached the shore safely, after a very rough half hour in the water. The difficulty the swimmers had to face was that the wind was off the shore, and tide going out, added to the surf.
When the men got ashore Mr Stewart had spirits and hot drinks for them, for which they were very thankful.
Mr Harrison, although twice capsized, made a third attempt in a small boat, and had another ducking, being overturned within a quarter of a mile of the shore.
The Concordia is lying on a hard sandy bottom, and rises at high water. A steam pump is being put on her to keep the water down in the event of her being got off safely. She will then be taken to Kaipara, load timber, and come on to Auckland for repairs.
- Auckland Star 23 January 1903
THE CONCORDIA.AUCKLAND, February 113.The Russian barque Concordia, which went ashore near Kaipara Heads several months ago and was purchased by a local syndicate, was successfully floated yesterday and towed to Helensville.
- Wanganui Chronicle 14 February 1903

The barque Concordia, of 1045 tons register, which was stranded during a gale on the West Coast in the month of September, was successfully launched on Friday, February 13. 
She is an iron vessel, and was valued at £ 7000.
The salvage operations were of an expensive character, new boilers and winches having to be conveyed over the sand hills to the coast and about six or seven tons of winch hawsers with a mushroom anchor weighing 3½ tons, all having to be conveyed to the vessel and placed.

These extensive operations were conducted under the immediate supervision of Mr James Stewart, of Helensville, Mr George Nicol, of Auckland (the purchasers of the stranded vessel), and last, but by no means least, Mr John Harrison of Aratapu, who gallantly volunteered to lay the wire cable from the sea anchor a mile off the coast to the beach.

So hazardous was this feat that Mr Harrison and his assistants in their first attempt to land through the surf with the small line had the lifeboat capsized and broken to pieces close to the beach, and after a severe struggle landed. He (Mr Harrison) being badly bruised with portions of the boat falling on him.
 At 9.30 on Friday morning all was in readiness for a trial, and the steam winches set to work, as did also the Concordia's capstan, and the powerful steamer Gosford, the latest addition to the fleet of the North Union Steamship Boating Company of Kaipara, was in attendance with Captains Sellars and Cash on board.

With great difficulty the rope from the Gosford was taken through the surf to the Concordia, all the hauling appliances were put in motion by a signal from the barque, and in a few minutes the vessel began to roll and heave, and amidst great cheering and waving of flags, was  once more launched into her native element.

Anxiety was caused by the non-arrival of the tug Sterling, which had been ordered to be in attendance. However, the Gosford proved equal to the task. Mr Harrison, knowing the great anxiety of the owners to get the vessel away from the west coast and into the harbour before dark, offered to take her through the south channel into the Kaipara. and successfully accomplishedthe navigation of the same with this large vessel at dead low water, although much to the detriment of the harbour this channel is still unsurveyed.

The Gosford towed the Concordia inside the harbour from the scene of the stranding in 5 hours, and later anchored her at Shelly Beach, when all bands engaged in the work were invited to drink to the success of the vessel and owners, and the workmen were conveyed to Helensville.

The vessel, fortunately, has suffered very little damage, and shortly proceeds to Auckland to go in dock.
-         Auckland Star 16 February 1903

While she was moored in Auckland, tragedy struck when the night watchman Michael Bain vanished overboard. His body was later found on rocks opposite Rangitoto.


The watchman of the barque Concordia,  which is lying at the Railway wharf, has been missing since Saturday, and it is  feared that he either accidentally fell overboard or fell off the wharf when  making his way to the vessel.

The man's name is Michael Bain, and he lived in Chapel Street with his half-sister, Mrs. Ellen Muller, who states that be left home at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon. He was quite sober, and would in due course have gone aboard the barque.

Enquiries on the vessel show that the missing man was paid a guinea by the captain on board at one o'clock on Saturday, and that he then went ashore.

He had not been seen since by the captain. Bain was an Irishman, 47 years of age, 5ft 6 inch in height, of fresh complexion, with dark whiskers and a moustache turning grey.
- Auckland Star 2 July 1903

FOUND DROWNED.(Per United Press Association.) AUCKLAND, July 6.The body of Michael Bain, watchman on the barque Concordia, who has been missing since June 27th, was recovered among the rocks opposite Rangitoto
.-         Wanganui Herald 6 July 1903

At the end of July when she was being readied to sail to England, the Concordia slipped her anchor cahin and drifted across the harbour to Devonport. She was recovered and towed back to dock and repairs under taken.

The barque Concordia which was anchored off Judge's Bay in readiness to sail for the United Kingdom, got adrift through her anchor chain parting early this morning, and was very nearly ashore at Devonport.

A very strong south-easterly wind was blowing at the time, raising a heavy sea. About two o'clock this morning, the captain states, the chief officer and the night watchman were on deck. In a very rough sea  the barque crossed the tide and parted her cable a short distance from the anchor, which was lost.

The vessel was then driven across the harbour on an ebb tide and brought up alongside the Calliope Dock. Her bobstays fouled the stone masonry on the harbour side of the dock, with the result that they carried away. No other damage was done. The Concordia was towed alongside the dock wharf this morning by the s.s. Awarua.

The necessary repairs were being carried out to-day.
- Auckland Star 30 July 1903

We see no more about her, after she sailed for England in August 1903, however in the Australian Newspapers I found numerous references to a barque named the Concordia. She experienced a long sailing career before ending up grounded after a severe storm. She almost matches the above vessel referred to in this post, however the vessel was stated as being built in 1800 yet she was stated as being a steel barque. It was also stated that she was built in Germany and had Norwegian owners. Therein lies the mystery. Is she the same vessel? Possibly she is or possibly not. Her tonnage was also larger whereas the vessel described in the Auckland Star article states:

"The Concordia is a steel barque of 1031 tons, of the following dimensions: Length. 193 ft' 9in; breadth. 35ft 4in; and depth', 20ft 6 inch. She was built at Amsterdam in 1886 by Messrs. Huijgens & Oelder, and is owned by Messrs. Schfahrts, Ges & Austra, of RigaRussia. She is classed 100 Al at Lloyds'." - Auckland Star 24 September 1902

The Concordia referred to in the Australian entries was sold to a British Firm then dismantled her hull used as a coal hulk from 1914 onwards.

CAPTAIN VERSUS PILOT.THE PORT ADELAIDE CASE.The action against Alfred Wells, one of the Port Adelaide Harbor pilots, by Captain S. Johnsen, master of the Norwegian barque Concordia, who seeks to recover. £119 12/ for damage caused to the vessel whilst in charge of the defendant, was continued in the Port Adelaide Local Court, before Sir. T. Gepp, S.M., and justices, on Tuesday Mr. R. Cruickshank appeared for the informant, and Mr. S. H. Skipper forthe defendant.
The cross-examination of the defendant by Mr. Cruickshank was resumed. He told counsel that the plaintiff was wrong in saying that he stated he was sorry the accident occurred. The accident was due to the vessel having taken a sheer in the wrong direction.
Captain W. H. Poynter, master of the tug Falcon, said after a tow-line had been made fast to the Concordia the defendant ordered the tug to co slowly ahead. When the Concordia was in a position to pass through the bridge fairway the tug was given orders to stop and the vessel carried her way to the bridge. As soon as she had entered the fairway the order was given slow speed ahead. The order was obeyed. The Concordia touched with, the bluff of her bow and then slid through the fairway. The blow was very slight. No fenders were used coming through the fairway by the Concordia. The means for removing the Concordia were in his experience proper. The Concordia had not too much way on. A line connected with the wharf was a better means of checking a vessel than a tug astern.
Captain Loveridge, master of the tug Leveret, said it would have been dangerous to take a line astern from the Concordia whilst she was fast by a wire line ashore. The check line to the tug astern could not have kept the Concordia’s bow straight.John Nesbitt, caretaker of Robinson's bridge, said all bolts connected with that bridge were countersunk. Vessels frequently struck the bridge in going through the fairway.The court awarded a verdict for the plaintiff for £38 16/6.
- The Advertiser 19 June 1907

COAL CARGO ON FIRE.CONCORDIA AT FREMANTLE.FREMANTLE, October 23.The barque Concordia, bound from Swansea to Balla Balla, with a cargo of coal, put into Fremantle unexpectedly in distress. She left Swansea on July 10, and everything went well till October 13, when smoke was observed coming from the fore hatch. All the hatches were immediately sealed, and as on additional precaution, the air pipes and ventilators leading to the hold were closed up. It was thon decided to make for Fremantle, and it was a great relief to the crew when Rottnest hove in sight. Separating the cargo in the lower hold is a partition of wood and canvas, and it 's supposed that the movement and friction of the vessel caused the canvas to ignite. A portion of the cargo will have to be removed before the outbreak can be subdued.
- Brisbane Courier 24 October 1911

FIRE ON A BARQUE.Fremantle, Oct 24. The barque Concordia, bound from Swansea to Ballaballo, has put in with her cargo of coal on fire since the 23rd inst. The closing of the hatches prevented the flames from spreading extensively. A portion of the cargo had to be removed to reach the outbreak.
- Colonist 25 October 1911

Cyclone at Balla Balla  Freemantle Australia (Crown of England sunk)

…..The captain of the barque Concordia seeing the anchors were unable to hold steered on a sandy beach, and the vessel was practically undamaged….
-         Thames Star 28 March 1912

After lying ashore on the beach at Balla Balla for nearly six months, the Norwegian barque Concordia is afloat again, and will shortly leave the West Australian port in tow for Fremantle, where repairs will probably be effected.
The Concordia was, it will be remembered, loading at Balla Balla when, the memorable ''willy-willy," which brought about the loss, of the Adelaide Co. a steamer  Koombana sprang up. It arose with such suddenness, that the crew of the barque were not able to do anything to save the Concordia, which was lifted high and dry on the beach, by a succession of huge seas.  
While this was happening, the  Norwegian ship Crown of England, which was lying close by the Concordia; was similarly treated by the elements, but instead of being carried on to a sandy beach, she crashed upon a reef, and almost immediately went to pieces. At first high hopes were entertained of refloating the Concordia, but as time went by it seemed as if it was not to be, and it appeared as though the vessel had found her last resting place.

However, some, more sanguine of success than others, held on to the task of refloating her, and in the end found their efforts successful.

The Concordia will be towed to Fremantle by the Swan River Shipping Co.'s new tug Wyola, which will proceed direct to Bunbury from Colombo, en route from the Tyne.
- Poverty Bay Herald 20 September 1912

A PROFITABLE TOW. Probably never before in the maritime history of the Commonwealth has a new tug made such a remarkable start as the Wyola, which left the Tyne at the end of last July for Fremantle, and arrived there last week, with the Norwegian barque Concordia in tow. This maiden tow of the Wyols, for which she will receive £650, was brought about under strange circumstances. It will be remembered that in the destructive "willy willy" on the north west coast of Australia last March the Concordia was stranded at Balls Balla when nearly loaded with ore for Liverpool. At first it -was thought that the Concordia was past recovery: then, again, it was reported that she would probably be dismantled; however, she was refloated last August, and arrangements were soon afterwards made with the owners of the Wyola to call at Balla Balla and tow the Concordia to Fremantle. The Wyola was constructed by Messrs. J. T. Eltringham and Co., South Shields, for the Swan River Shipping Company, Perth, West Australia, through the agency of Messrs. M'Ilwraith, M'Eacharn, and Co., London, and on her official trial everything proved highly satisfactory, and a mean speed of over 11½ knots was attained on the measured miles, the machinery, constructed by the Shields Engineering and Dry Dock Company, North Shields, giving every satisfaction, and developing about 1100 h,.p. She is fitted out with appliances for heavy sea towing and salvage work, her outfit including electric light and Morse signalling lamp, a centrifugal salvage pump, capable of delivering 4000 gallons per minute, steam windlass, and special type of steam winch, steam steering gear, etc.
- Examiner 14 November 1912


For many months the Norwegian barque Concordia has lain crewless in the river basin at Fremantle.

The beginning of the Concordia's end came with the disastrous gale which was responsible for the disappearance of the s.s. Koombana in March of last year. She was then laden with ore from Balls Balts, on the North -West coast, and was leaving on a trip to Europe with her cargo when she was carried ashore and beached.

There she lay with her holds full for many months, until she was eventually towed out and brought to Fremantle by the new Swan River Shipping Co. tug Wyola. She was then demasted, and her Captain went back to England enter a new commission and it was only on the request of the harbour authorities that a crew of one was placed on board to act as caretaker. For some time past negotiations have been going on between the owners in Europe and Messrs. McIlwraith, McEacharn and Co., with the result that the vessel has come into British hands and is being dismantled at the North Wharf.

For the future she will act as a collier for the afore mentioned company. The Concordia was built at Vegesaek, on the River Weser, in Germany, in 1800, and after making several trips to various outlying ports for a German firm she entered the hands of Norwegian owners under the management of Mr. N. A. Stangjun. She was a well known visitor to all the Australian ports, and ran regularly from European ports to Melbourne and Fremantle with general cargoes. On unloading here the vessel was several times chartered to load ore from Balla Balls for Europe, and it was on just such an occasion that the Concordia met her doom. She is an iron hull of 1423 tons gross registered tonnage, and was classed 100 Al at Lloyd's. It is expected that in a few weeks the necessary alterations will be completed to fit her out as a coal hulk, and it is understood that she will pass the remainder of her days at Fremantle in that capacity.

The Concordia collided with an iceberg in the Straits of Belle Isle in August, 1899, and had her bow very badly stoved in .

- Hawera and Normanby Star 19 April 1912

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