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Jim’s Australiana Spot – 2UE - February 17, 2013

Australia's Coastal Shipping Trade - and the Coolangatta Story

Today's modern hub of Coolangatta

In our brief European history of 225 years, with a small and scattered population, our coastal sea-lanes have been home to over 5,000 ships operated by over 300 Australian based shipping companies. Australia relied on coastal trade from the earliest days of the colonies until the 1960s. There were no interstate roads to speak of until the Twentieth Century and air travel was only a novelty until World War 2 and the rail gauges were all different!. The town of Coolangatta is named after a ship wrecked off the point way back in 1846.

The wreck was an attraction for visitors for 40 years but then was buried in sand until 1974 when cyclonic seas washed away the sand and the wreck floated ashore. It was a cyclone that helped wreck the ship 130 years earlier - in fact it was the first low-pressure system ever recorded by official weather-watchers on the east coast.


the town of Coolangatta was named after a beach named after a ship named after a south coast property named after .......what?
a mountain - aboriginal meaning 'splendid view'
name the Sydney suburb named after a shipwreck and tell us why the residents were happy to change the name?
Malabar - 1931 - the name Long Bay had become associated with the prison since 1914 (1909 for females)
Listeners with a good memory will remember the story of how trial bay got its name. tell us how.
convicts stole the "trial" from Sydney Harbour and it was wrecked there - they were all killed by aboriginals or drowned.


The Wreck of the Coolangatta
The wreck of the Coolangatta
(Transport Art Forum & Gallery)

The topsail schooner Coolangatta was named after its owners' property at Shoalhaven in southern NSW, which in turn was named after a nearby mountain.

The ship's main task was to collect red cedar from the Tweed estuary. The logs were dragged overland from Terranora Inlet and rafted from the beach to cargo vessels like the Coolangatta which took them to Brisbane or other settlements along the coast. On the Coolangatta, in addition to the crew, two prisoners – one of them in irons – were being taken south from Brisbane (which was still part of NSW till 1859).

The captain and some of the crew were ashore getting water, when a gale sprung up while the ship was at anchor being loaded with timber. She was driven ashore a short distance northward of the River Tweed. The prisoners were released from the below-decks lock-up when the ship foundered and Captain Steele and the crew unloaded her and walked overland to Amity Point, a distance of 70 miles (112km), where they fell in with the steamer Tamar, from Moreton Bay to Sydney . . ."




Cargo Ship

Blazin’ Star has got her cargo, timber. coal and kerosene;
Foreign crew and cook and master; stout, old-fashioned brigantine.
Carried corn and carried sugar, carried cotton, carried tea;
Sailed in every kind of water, weathered storm and wind and sea.

Heave away, you lazy devils! And we’ll heave away ashore.
She ‘as lost a bit o’ canvas, and ‘er planks is weather-wore.
Ease ‘er ‘ed and round her gently!  Put the fenders out, I say!
Pass that line a trifle for’ard; let ‘er ‘ave a bit ‘o way!

Sailed the Star myself in ’60 – that was twenty year before
Women, booze, and seamen’s worries made me try my luck ashore.
Oh, she’s staunch and stout and steady, and she’s got the proper grit;
You should see ‘er – clear to royals – dippin' ‘er damn nose in it;

North and south and round about it, sail ‘er near or sail ‘er far.
Any flag you send ‘er under, she’ll come back the Blazin’ Star.
East and west, and let ‘er ‘ave it; give ‘er all the sail she’ll take,
Blazin’ Star will fetch ‘er cargo, or ‘er bloomin’ back will break.

You should see ‘er, washed with waters from ‘er bowsprit to ‘er starn,
Rise and shake ‘erself upon ‘em as if she didn’t care a darn.
Yes!  She’s reckoned small and ugly, as they build ‘em nowadays,
But she’s strong as ever floated from ‘er keelson to ‘er stays;

Blazin’ Star ain’t built for sinking. Port to port in twenty days.
With the sea salt, white and sparkling, crusted on ‘er water-ways.
Rolled around the big blue ocean, tossed about by day and night,
Weather-wore, perhaps, a trifle, but she’s spar and timber tight.

Square o’ bows and starn, and steady; she’s got the proper kind o’ grit;
You should see ‘er – clear to royals – dippin ‘er damn nose in it;
God o’ Glory!  She’s a scorcher – mainyard under, decks swept clean –
Blazin’ Star ain’t built for sinking – good old-fashioned Brigantine!

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