A delicious error

Serendipity with Bev Young

AS an amateur researcher, I get very excited when I find an error in historical reporting, perhaps because it simply that it quantifies the effort of research.

NOT AS WE THOUGHT? The origin of a rusted boiler on East Beach may be a different ship than the Osbourne

It is sure to have the various societies in a frothy. On Port Alfred’s East Beach at very low tides- one can clearly see the remains of a rusted boiler from a shipwreck.

We have always been led to believe that this belonged to the Osbourne, wrecked in 1886. However, after hours of intensive researching, the department of “shipping” sent me document, where it clearly states: “Wrecked. Iron Steamship. British / SA ? 0/07/1904.” Which means someone made a huge mistake, and it is seen on many, many documents published here.

Then, just off the pier, one can still see wooden poles sticking out of the sand, and on seasonal very low tides, as now, further “poles” which have been ignored, or attributed to the Osbourne. Totally incorrect.

Now this means we have an additional shipwreck that no one has ever mentioned. “Martlet Port Alfred Eastern Pier (on rocks) Wrecked, Wooden Sailing Vessel – Brig – British – 08/12/1870.”

Notably, the wrecks I have investigated so far, all 18 of them, took place in the harbour mouth, or slightly to the east, having first been damaged at Fountain Rocks – the terror of many of the captains of the 1800s and later.