Fate of the Dunbar

Dunbar Meets With Disaster

A great gloom was cast over the colony in 1857 by the loss of a fine ship within 7 miles of the centre of Sydney. The Dunbar sailed from Plymouth in that year, with about 120 peole on board, many of them well known colonists who had visited England and who were now on their way homewards. As the vessell approached the coast, a heavy gale came down from from the north-east and before they could reach the entrance to Port jackson, night had closed in on them. In the deep and stormy gloom they beat to and fro for some time ; but, at length, the captain thought it safer to make for Sydney Heads than to toss about on so wild a sea. He brought the vessel close to the shore, in order to search for the entrance and when against the stormy sky he perceived a break in the black cliffs he steered for the opening. This, however, was not the entrance, but only a hollow in the cliffs, called by the Sydney people, "The Gap". The vessel was standing straight in for the rocks, when a mass of boiling surf was observed in the place where they thought the opening was, and before she could be put about she crashed violently upon the foot of a cliff that frowned 90 feet above ; there was a shriek and then the surf rolled back the fragments and the drowning men. At daybreak the word was given that a ship had been wrecked at the Gap, and during the day thousands of people poured forth from Sydney to view the scene of disaster.

Solitary Survivor

On the following morning it was discovered that there was a solitary survivor, who, having been washed into the hollow in the face of the rock, lay conceled in his place of refuge throughout that dreadful night and all the succeeding day. A young man was found who volunteered to let himself down by a rope and rescued the half dead seaman.

To prevent the repetition of so a sad occurrence, lighthouses were erected for the guidance of ship captains entering the harbour.

University, Museum and Newspapers

In 1852, the people of Sydney had the satisfaction of inaugurating the first Australian University, a structure whose noble front, magnificent halls and splendid appointments for the furtherance of science, will always do credit to the liberality and high aspirations of the colony. In 1857 the "Australian Musem" was opened ad formed the nucleus of the present excellent collection of specimens. During this period several newspapers sprang into existence, railway began to stretch out from the metropolis and lines of telegraph united Syndey with the leading cities of the other colonies.


History of Australia