Vera Shipwreck

On the 26th July 1915 the Vera dragged its anchor and drifted onto the rocks near Cape du Couedic jetty. The master of the vessel was J. Ticklie. The master and two crew members escaped the wreck. The vessel was carrying a cargo of crayfish Where vessel was wrecked: Near jetty, Cape De Couedic, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.;jsessionid=8BAE55210FF9F7D6AD32D2A9AE086FB4?key=5868&action=collapseAll

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 14 August 1915, page 4

Wreck of the "Vera"

Mr J. Ticklie supplies the following accouut of his experiences near Cape de Couedie on July 25, when the cutter Vera was wrecked and all hands had a narrow escape from death. "On Sunday, July 25, with one of my men I set out in the dinghy to fish. We had nearly a full load of crayfish, but as there was no wind we thought we would go out and catch a few more, but we had not gone more than two hundred yards from the cutter when the dinghy capsized. We wero in the water for half-an-hour although it seemed several. My mate was the first to reach the rocks, but he ahd the misfortune to find that it was separated from the shore by about twenty yards and there was no hope of his landing. I had the bad luck to get a fishing line tangled round my legs, and the more I tried to get it off the more it became tangled, but I struggled on and found myself on the rocks eventually. I managed to get a firm hold and when the sea went back I scrambled up the rock out of the reach of the waves. I looked to see if my mate had got ashore and I saw him hanging on to a rock about two hundred yards away over which the sea was breaking. But he did not remain there long as a big sea broke over him and washed him off. After a hard struggle he managed to get back again, and by this time I got along near to where he was as I thought I might be able to help him, but I saw he had no chance of getting ashore so I called to him to to swim to where I landed. He managed to remove his clothes and after about twenty minutes I saw a big sea dash him towards the cliffs but I could not see if he had landed. It was some time before I got back and found he had landed all right but he was badly cut about by the rocks and his whole body was covered with blood. I saw we could get up the cliffs so waved to the man on the cutter to go to Gape de Couedie light-house and we set off to walk there. Just before dark we came to an old farmhouse about six miles from where we landed. There was no one living there but I think it must have been used by trappers as we found some skins, and here we decided to stay until morning, and I can tell you we were very glad when morning came, as we had no fire and had to sleep in wet clothes. In the morning we made boots out of some skins and trousers out of two bags and set out for tbe lighthouse. We arrived at Rocky River at one o'clock but found there was nobody at home so broke in and found plenty of food, and as we had not had any for twenty-four hours did not stop to ask permission. About half-an-hour afterwards one of the lighthouse-keepers (Mr Jackson) came to Rocky River. Be brought the news that our cutter was a total wreck and told us that we had a very bad road to the lighthouse and when he saw the state our feet were in advised us to wait until morning. About six o'clock Mr Clark, also from the lighthouse, came to Rocky River. He had left Cape de Couedie early in the morning to look for us, and had searched the coast for about fifteen miles, and in the hut where we spent the first night he found a note I left there and set out again to try and catch us up. He stayed the night, and next morning drove us to the lighthouse. Here I found tbe cutter a total wreck. The man I left on the cutter told me that after I waved to him to go to the lighthouse everything went well until he got there, at about 3 a.m., but owing to a heavy swell coming in the anchor would not hold and the cutter drifted ashore onto the rocks. I saw there was no hope for the vessel so got as many things off her as we could. We spent a week at the lighthouse where the people were very kind to us, and they could not have possibly treated us better than they did. We said goodbye to them on the 2nd of August and arrived at Kingscote two days later."

Wreck of the "Vera" (1915, August 14). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), Monday 16 August 1915, page 6






About ten days ago Captain Ticklie master of the cutter Vera, and two Swedes who were employed on the fishing vessel had an experience they are not likely to forget. The Vera is a total wreck on the sonth coast ot Kangaroo Island as the re-sult of what happened, and the loss to her owner. Mr. Edwin Daw, amounts to seve-ral hundred pounds. Captain Ticklie was crayfishing about 25 miles north of Cape de Couedic lighthouse, and had been in the vicinity about a week, during which he had gathered a record load of "crays." There were only three more pots to be lifted before the homeward passage to Glenelg was to be started, and the skipper and one of the men entered the dinghy, as usual, to row to the buoys for the pur-pose of lifting the pots. It was about 5 o'clock in the afternoon when they left the Vera, and a heavy swell was on at the time. The two men proceeded safely for a considerable distance, and then a big wave upset the little craft, the two men being hurled in the water.

Making for the Cliffs.

As there was no hope of rescuing the boat the fishermen struck out for the shore; although they were aware of the fact that the cliff was practically perpendicular and about 100 ft. in height They hoped to find a temporary landing at least, so that they could rest and collect their thoughts before deciding on the best course to pur-sue. It took them more than half an hour to get near the cliff, and when they did get there their experience was one to be remembered. On the south coast of the island the full force of the Southern Ocean swell sends the huge waves against the rocks with terrific force, and time after time the tired swimmers were dashed up against rocks 15 or 20 ft. high, only to be carried back into deep water by the reced-ing wave. Eventually they managed to secure a good hold, and they divested them-selves of what little clothing they had re-tained, with the exception of their singlets. It was with the greatest difficulty that they could maintain their positions on the ledges of rock, but they succeeded in doing soWhen a favorable opportunity presented itself they resolved to dive in and swim along the cliff in the hope of striking a place where they could climb up to a place of safety, as there was no possible chance of getting back to the cutter. The man left on board watched his companions with grave fears that they would lose their lives, and it was a great relief to him to, see them crawling up the rocks when they found a fairly good landing. The two men had to scramble up almost perpendicular rocks, but they managed to gain the sum-mit with nothing but their singlets on and their feet and bodies much cut by the sharp edges of the rocks.

A Painful Undertaking.

When the two men were safe on shore the captain beckoned to the man aboard to set sail and make for Cape de Couedie to report the matter to the lighthousekeeper, at the same time indicating that he and his Swedish mate would endeavor to reach the cape by walking along the top of the cliff, the distance being between 20 and 25 miles. It was a rough and squally evening, and the two men were so weary and sore that travelling was painful. How-ever, with courage they pushed on as fast as their bleeding feet would allow them to do. They saw an old hut in the distance when darkness was fast creeping on. It was an empty, unattractive habitation, but none the lees it served to shelter the two wanderers to some extent. There was nothing in the place, with which to cover their shivering bodies, no matches to light a fire, or anything else that might lighten their troubles, but they made the best of it. In this deserted hut, they passed a miserable night, with nothing on but their wet singlets.

A Godsend.

The following morning one of them went outside to see whether there was anything that might be of use to them in their pre-dicament. He discovered some skins of wallabies that had been tacked on the back of the hut to be stretched. It was a God send. These skins were pulled off and the men wrapped them round their sore and swollen feet, so that they might continue their long journey towards Cape De Couedic. Hungry, thirsty, and hardly able to put their feet to the ground, with noth-ing in the form of clothing, except their torn singlets the men set out early for the cape, For nearly two days they were foodless, and then to their great delight they saw someone coming to meet them, carrying clothing and refreshment.

Kindness that Was Appreciated.

The man on the cutter had succeeded, after great difficulty, in reaching the cape and landing, but not without allowing the cutter to become a wreck. However, he got ashore, and reported what had happened to the lighthouse-keeper, who immediately set out with some old clothes and food to meet the wrecked fishermen. The journey to the lighthouse was completed later under more favorable conditions, and for a week the three men were supplied with food and accommodation, and their gratitude to the lighthouse Staff was unbounded. At the end of the week their feet had recovered sufficiently to enable them to begin the long tramp to King- scote, about 60 miles east, and the trio set out for home.

The Cutter on the Rocks.

The cutter became a wreck. When the man who had brought her round approached the rocks he was powerless to prevent a collision with them. The vessel struck, and the man realising the serious-ness of the position made for the shore, which he reached safely. A large wave lifted the Vera right over tremendous boul-ders, and landed her in a position from which it is impossible to move her, so she will remain there until she breaks up. Be-fore leaving the cape the men and the light house-keepers removed about £150 worth of gear from the Vera, and this will be saved, but the hull would cost about ten times as much as its value to repair and get to the water.

Fishermen in Vehicles.

The journey to Kingscote was not all done on foot, as the three men were picked up by farmers and other settlers at different places and given a ride as far as possible, but the greater part of the trip was covered on foot. The men reached Kingscote in time to have a good rest before catching the steamer for Adelaide.

The Vera was generally recognised as the finest cutter in the fishing trade. She was the property of Mr. Daw, who has had the misfortune to lose five of his vessels in the last two years.

TWO MEN IN A BOAT. (1915, August 16). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 6.