One More Wreck! The Inverlochy

From The Inverlochy at Sea by Melva Stott.

“Oblivious of their pending fate, all on board were happy, enjoying the summer weather and the light and favoring breeze as it filled the billowing sails.

Captain Kendrick had been on deck for two consecutive nights and December 18th 1902 would be his third. He remarked that he hadn’t had his clothes off for a week. But he didn’t say why.

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That evening the Inverlochy glided along under full sail. After passing Cape Otway, the mate had sighted the red light from Split Point lighthouse and judged it to be five or six miles distant – this was at 8.00pm. At 9.45pm he reported to his captain that the light had changed to white. After checking his chart, the experienced Captain Kendrick announced that all was well.

But not for long! The captain was not aware of the current that had taken hold of his ship. The night had been reasonably calm, but a nasty misty rain had fallen consistently, combined with a moderate southwest wind.

Suddenly things went seriously wrong and the Inverlochy was in peril. All hands were called to duty, but she missed stays and lost steerage. The anchors were thrown out but could not take hold, and the Inverlochy went onto the reef.

The mate, James Stewart, estimated their position was off Eagles Nest at Split Point, Aireys Inlet. However she was wedged between the two shelves of rock that form Ingoldsby Reef at Anglesea.

She was imprisoned with all sails set and this caused fears that the masts could snap. So without delay the longboat and the lifeboat were lowered. Eleven crew members, plus Captain and Mrs. Kendrick took refuge in the longboat, whilst the mate, Mr. Stewart, took charge of the other ten men in the lifeboat.

The longboat did not pull for the shore only three quarters of a mile away, but proceeded to the east. This spread speculation throughout Anglesea that maybe the Split Point Light was mistaken for Pt Lonsdale, and the little boat was expecting to beach at Pt Lonsdale or even Queenscliff.

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Mr. Stewart in the lifeboat decided to remain astern of the ship, and did so until 4.00am. Then they, too, headed east into the rough seas and relentless wind. (These conditions were to continue for the next two days making it impossible to gain access to the Inverlochy or assess the situation on board.)

The Kendrick’s boat had been buffeted by squally conditions and a rough sea which dashed spray over all the occupants. It has been reported that Mrs. Kendrick bore up bravely and never murmured once. Even although she would have been acutely aware that she had left all her worldly goods to the mercy of the elements and the power of the sea.

At daybreak they gained land and trudged along the beach in search of help. Although they did not know it, they were approaching Barwon Heads. Later the lifeboat was also to arrive in the same region.” (p.6)

Further Information
Carr.R.V & Cecil K.L TheWhite Queen Neptune Press. Vic. 1986.
Ibbotson.J. Lighthouses of Australia Australian Lighthouse Traders.Vic. 2001.
Stott.M. The Inverlochy at Sea booklet
Williams.B. 80 Years of Aireys or A Split Point Perspective Williams 2008