Hamelin Bay Storm
On July 22nd, 1900, a fierce storm lashed the coast of Western Australia. From Fremantle to Albany the wild winds wreaked havoc. During the storm, five ships were wrecked, three of those ships were moored in Hamelin Bay.
The Ships in Hamelin Bay
The three ships in Hamelin Bay were the barques ‘Katinka’, ‘Lovespring’ and ‘Norwester’.
The crew on the South African ship, ‘Katinka‘, were left to try and save the ship while the captain was in Bunbury. He had been forced to travel to Bunbury to find a replacement crew, for the sailors who had deserted earlier.
During the storm, five of the Katinka crew jumped overboard after the ship ran aground about 500m from shore. The Indian Ocean would eventually claim three of them.
The remaining crew were thrown around by the raging seas. Sadly, two crew members died. One was washed overboard whilst the other died when a piece of wood broke from the mast and struck him.
The Norwegian ship, “Lovespring‘, was ripped from her jetty moorings and wrecked on Mushroom rock. All men on board were saved by clinging to the ships rigging. A lifeboat was sent the following morning to save the poor souls.
The Danish ship, ‘Norwester‘, was also ripped from her moorings and ending up being unceremoniously dumped onto dry land.
Five Souls Lost
During the storm, a total of five lives were lost, they were Iver Carlsen (Bergen), Martin Augusten (Stonstadt), Eilmar A.N. Mencke (Oldenburg), George Hamann (Hamburg) and Max Hermann (Essen). Four of the sailors of the Katinka are buried at the Karridale Cemetery.
The ‘Norwester was the only one of the three ships to be successfully re floated. The rest were salvaged and their remains sold at auction.
The storm also wreaked havoc in the old karridale town with falling trees damaging over 8 miles of telegraph lines. It was reported that over 300 trees had fallen onto the lines.
It was also reported that the lightkeeper at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse registered winds of over 137km/h.
A permanent reminder of that night can be found at the Hamelin Bay carpark where the remains of the ‘Lovespring’ anchor resides .