Shipwreck MemorialPrint Page Print this page

16-June-2015 (Bryan Hardy)
16-June-2015 (Bryan Hardy)

Photographs supplied by Father Ted Doncaster / Bryan Hardy

The monument erected over the grave site commemorates the victims of two tall ships, the Carlisle Castle and the City of York which were lost in a heavy storm off Rottnest Island in 1899. The monument was built in 1900 from public subscriptions.

The Carlisle Castle was built in London and was due to arrive in Fremantle in July 1899. On July 11th a force 10 Westerly storm swept through the area creating treacherous conditions. Popular belief is that with such a heavy load the ship sunk immediately on contact with the Coventry Reef, and the crew of about 25 went down with the ship. The City of York,  on a voyage from San Francisco to Fremantle carrying timber cargo, was wrecked during the same storm after the captain received confused signals from the lighthouse operator on Rottnest Island. Eleven crew including the captain were drowned. An initial inquiry blamed “gross carelessness by the master” but this was overturned and the captain was cleared of all blame.

A general meeting of the central committee of the Carlisle Castle and City of York Relief Fund was held on Tuesday afternoon in the Fremantle Council Chambers. The Chairman (Mr. J. McHenry Clark) presided. The secretary (Mr. James Flint) read a report concerning the erection of the monument in the Fremantle Cemetery and correspondence. The treasurer stated that the funds in hand at Fremantle amounted to £131 12s. 9d. and in London there remained undistributed the sum of £224 10s. He desired to receive suggestions as to the disposal of the balance. It was decided to forward photographs of the monument to the various towns in the colony also to the London committee for distribution among the relatives of the deceased seamen. It was suggested that the seamen staying at the Sailors' Rest should be approached and asked to assist in gathering seashell to place in the enclosure of the monument.

The monument, a beautiful specimen of the sculptural art, is situated in the Church of England portion of the Fremantle Cemetery. It consists of three tiers of white Sicilian marble, surmounted with a plain white cross, supported in a rock foundation, and suspended from one of the arms of the cross is a cable chain and anchor. The whole of the upper portion, comprising the rock, cross, anchor, and chain is exquisitely carved out of one solid piece of white marble. The sculptural work is mounted upon a large base stone prepared and cut out at the Meckering quarries of this colony, and the height of the whole structure is over 12ft. The monument is enclosed by a Malmsbury bluestone kerbing 17ft. by 8ft. 6in. with an ornamental iron railing. It is inscribed as follows: -West side: "This monument is erected by the people of Western Australia in memory of those mariners on board the Carlisle Castle and City of York, who perished in a violent storm off Fremantle on the 12th July 1899. 'The sea shall give up her dead.'" North side: "Ship Carlisle Castle lost with all hands, 22, officers and crew." East side: "Ship City of York, officers and men lost 11, number of survivors 15." The work has been most successfully carried out by Messrs. Wilson and Gray under the supervision of Mr. J. H. Eales, of the firm of Oldham and Eales. architects.
The West Australian (Perth), 25th October 1900.


Address:Carrington Street, Fremantle Cemetery, Palmyra, 6157
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.051681
Long: 115.780741
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:12-July-1899
Actual Event End Date:12-July-1899
Designer:Oldham & Eales (Architects)
Monument Manufacturer:Wilson & Gray


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1900
Front Inscription

This monument is erected by the people of Western Australia

In memory of those mariners on board the Carlisle Castle and City of York who perished in a violent storm off Fremantle on the 12th July 1899.

`And the sea shall give up her dead.`


Back Inscription

Barque "City of York".

Officers and men lost, 11.

Number of survivors, 15.

Right Side Inscription

Ship "Carlisle Castle "

Lost with all hands.

22, officers and crew.

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