William the Fourth


William the Fourth: (32° 55′ 32″S, 151° 46′ 52″E) Cruise on the first Australian-built coastal steamship — the ‘William the Fourth’. Anchored at Queen’s Wharf, available for historical cruises around Newcastle Harbour. On the Great North Walk.

The Great North “Walk Companion extract- page 287

Our waiter adds to the litany of death by telling us an obviously often-repeated story of the ‘Adolphe’. “The ‘Adolphe’, captained by Mr Layec, was arriving into Newcastle’s port from Antwerp on 30 September 1904. Around 9 am, the two tugs, ‘Hero’ and ‘Victoria’, went out to meet the ‘Adolphe’. The pilot, Mr Stevenson, started to guide them into harbour but, as they rounded the southern breakwater, the three ships were hit by huge seas that severed ‘Victoria’s’ hawser. By itself, the tug ‘Hero’ was unable to keep control of the ‘Adolphe’. The next set of waves lifted the ‘Adolphe’ right on top of the remnants of a previous wreck: that of the ‘Colonist’. They say it was a weird sight — one doomed vessel stuck atop another.” The waiter has told this tale many times and relishes our rapt attention. “The miracle was that the lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain A. McKinnon, managed to save everyone on board although they had it really tough too — they broke at least four oars trying to row around the stern but finally the lifeboat crew scrambled near enough to take off everyone to the applause of thousands of spectators.”

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