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"Star of Greece"Print Page Print this page

07-June-2015
07-June-2015

Photographs supplied by Father Ted Doncaster / Bryan Cole

A monument erected at the grave commemorates the lives of the Captain and crew of the Star of Greece which was wrecked off the coast at Port Willunga on 13 July 1888.

Built in Belfast in 1868, the Star of Greece, laden with wheat, was wrecked in a violent storm off Port Willunga on the 13th July 1888. Some discrepancy exists in the actual number of lives lost, due to doubts about the number of people aboard the vessel when it left Port Adelaide, but most historians conclude that at least 18 perished. The most striking part of the tragedy was that the ship was only 200 metres from shore when it broke in two.

The alarm was raised by a young boy taking his morning walk but because the Willunga telegraph station didn`t open until 9.00am, former harbourmaster Thomas Martin was unable to contact authorities in Adelaide until then. The response to the call for help was disastrous. A combination of poor communications, bad roads, and an inability to find a good vehicle and horses to bring the necessary rocket gear for a rescue attempt meant that it was 4.00pm when useful help finally arrived. By then all the survivors were ashore and the others aboard had already drowned in the roaring surf. Local residents had gone to the nearby beach to assist those who did manage to make it to shore.

They bore witness to the deaths of those who fell into the sea, exhausted after desperately clinging to the rigging, and those who drowned in the mountainous seas as they tried to swim ashore. Helpless, they waited until some mariners made it to the shallows and then took them to nearby lodgings to recuperate. Following the tragedy newspapers strongly criticised the Marine Board and its rescue operations and a later Coronial inquest was equally damning. Methodist Church has a mass grave for victims of the shipwreck.

THE STAR OF GREECE MEMORIAL FUND. TO THE EDITOR. Sir—on behalf of the committee of the Star of Greece Memorial Fund I wish to convey my thanks to the public who contributed to the fund and also to those who assisted in erecting the monument, viz.. Messrs. Martin, Wellsman, and Kimber. of Aldinga, and Messrs. Youlton, Herring, Heysed, and T. Martin, jun. of Willunga, and further I wish to make special mention of the assistance of Mr. T. Martin, J.P., of Willunga, whose services were indeed very valuable, and who very generonely supplied the base for obelisk, and also several slate blocks required for the railing. I am, Sir, &c., FRANCIS HART. Chairman of Committee.
Adelaide Observer (SA), 21 September 1889.

Location

Address:2 Old Coach Road, Aldinga Uniting Church Cemetery, Aldinga, 5173
State:SA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.268801
Long: 138.483564
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Maritime
Actual Event STart Date:13-July-1888
Actual Event End Date:13-July-1888

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1889
Front Inscription

                 Erected 
By The Residents Of Aldinga  
       And Neighbourhood 
       To The Memory Of
Captain H. R. Harrower, W.R. Waugh,
R. Muir, F.C. Blackman, C. Irvine,
W. Oermirch, H.J.R. Cork, C.Carder,
F.C. Carter, D. Blair and A. Orson
Who Lost Their Lives 
Through The Wreck Of "The Star of Greece" 
At Port Willunga, July 13th 1888

"Oh Hear Us When We Cry To Thee
For Those In Peril On the Sea"

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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