Celebrating South Australia


13 May 1855 Wreck of Nashwauk

 13 May 1855   Wreck of Nashwauk

On 13 May 1855 the immigrant ship Nashwauk, of 762 tons, only 18 months old, and carrying some 300 Irish girls, crashed ashore south of the mouth of the Onkaparinga at about 3 a.m. The passengers were able to be taken off the stricken ship and were cared for by local people. The following morning the steamer Melbourne and Government schooner Yatala were sent from Port Adelaide to pick up the stranded passengers. However, some of the immigrants were reluctant to board ship again and were taken to Adelaide in bullock wagons.

The Nashwauk was considered an unlucky ship as she been driven ashore once before, badly dismasted, and on fire four times. A north-westerly gale finally broke up the remains of the Nashwauk on 26 May. Some time after the accident a local man purchased the hull and cargo for £135, and all the recovered gear, fittings and cargo were sold for £600 at an auction on the beach on 31 May. The bell was later sold to a man who said he would donate it to the Free Scots Church at Morphett Vale. The anchor was recovered and placed as a memorial at Moana. The captain of the ship was so distressed by the loss that he took ill and died early in June.

Ron Parsons, Shipwrecks in South Australia 1836-1875 , 1981,
pp. 33-34.
Eric Gunton, Memorial in Stone, 1984.
Newspaper Cuttings Book, Volume 2, p.12. SLSA.