In the modern era, we had the Pasha Bulker.
We can still picture masses of people flocking to see the enormous coal ship, after it struck trouble in the June 2007 storm and almost found a new home on Nobbys beach.
Similar scenes played out in the convict era when a paddle steamer named Cawarra struck trouble at the mouth of Newcastle Harbour in a storm.
We came across the story of the Cawarra, while writing Saturday’s article about maritime artist Frederick Garling Jr.
It was a story that had echoes of Nobbys beach in 2007.
Just like the photographers who scrambled to get shots of the Pasha Bulker, Frederick was compelled to paint a scene of the stricken Cawarra.
The steamer’s fate marked one of the worst maritime disasters in Newcastle’s history. Sixty-one people died when the vessel sunk in July 1866.
The sole survivor, Frederick Hedges, said in a newspaper report at the time that he “swam to a piece of the wreck and changed from one piece to another”.
“I caught hold of a large plank,” he said, before being rescued by a small boat that took him to Nobbys beach.
An account of the disaster from an unnamed author described the scene on the shore as the ship sank.
“Big, stalwart men with brawny arms and weather-beaten faces turned from it with tearful eyes, whilst down the faces of many of the more tender-hearted of the spectators, the tears rolled thick and fast,” the author wrote.
Light Rail Pub Crawl
Light rail fever should soon be gripping Newcastle, as the long-awaited trams begin rolling down Hunter Street for real.
While not everyone is optimistic about the project, plenty of people have jumped aboard.
We couldn’t help but notice that there does seem to be a growing light-rail positive psychology movement. For example, some folks have been devising clever ideas to get bums on light-rail seats.
For example, the Novocastrians for Change Facebook page posted a map of a pub crawl along the light rail route.
The watering holes listed include King Street Hotel, Cambridge Hotel, the Clarendon, The Lucky, Crown and Anchor, Queens Wharf and The Great Northern.
Nice to see locals pitching in with a bit of light-rail marketing. Any more ideas, folks?
Fort Scratchley Wall
We wrote last Monday about Rick Carter’s plea for some sandstone to help rebuild a wall at Fort Scratchley.
“Thanks for running the article. It will take me a while to check out the leads and the offers, but it was a marvellous response,” Rick wrote.
Rick said he was looking forward to working on the wall, but added “at my age, nothing gets done in a hurry”.