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SS Xantho, Western Australia's First Steamship - Scratchbuild - 1:72

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Bulolo - By popular demand


Hi @Chewbacca

As requested here are some shots of the single photo in the book of Bulolo (Category number 583 in the collection). 


I note that according to caption she was a 'landing ship' & not a landing command & control ship; big difference between the two things I would have thought. 




Check this out mate! Just one photo - but what a photo it is! One of the very few ships in this book that gets a whole double spread to itself! 👍  Well deserved too. A terrific model of an important ship.




Now a slow drive by.  Front, middle and rear - shot by shot....











And a handful of close ups - Bow...






& stern.



That's about all I've got mate. Hope that's of interest. 


If you want copies of these photos just drop me a line and I'll flick some through on e-mail.




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I was just reading your post about the book and started googling.  The book is from the Riverside Museum in Glasgow - went there a few years back.  Nice place to visit plus you can go on the Glenlee.  I was mainly taking pictures of steam locos at the time but saw the cases of model ships






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5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Bulolo - By popular demand


Hi @Chewbacca

As requested here are some shots of the single photo in the book of Bulolo (Category number 583 in the collection). 


I note that according to caption she was a 'landing ship' & not a landing command & control ship; big difference between the two things I would have thought. 


Check this out mate! Just one photo - but what a photo it is! One of the very few ships in this book that gets a whole double spread to itself! 👍  Well deserved too. A terrific model of an important ship.




Thanks Steve - that's excellent.  those photos are way better than the ones I took in the museum last year - she is so high up in a floor to ceiling display cabinet that all all I really got a good shot of was her keel and since my model is waterline...




Those photos though do show up 3 things:


1.  There are huge differences between the commercial configuration and here military guise;

2.  Despite that, I got the superstructure wrong at the stern (there is a cross-deck passage just forward of the aft superstructure on both decks which I portrayed as one long deck-house on the lower deck (it would be 2 deck in RN parlance but I suspect different in merchant ship terminology.

3.  I haven't got half the number of ventilators i probably should have!


Thanks ever so much.  I've taken copies of those photos but if you have the at higher resolution i can PM you an email address.  I hope we're not breaching any copyright rules?


Best rgds

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back to the Drawing Board


The last set of provisional drawings I posted were these ones.  This set are for the hull lines only.




As discussed in earlier posts, I had some doubts about these drawings and so having taken some feedback and additional research into account have returned to the drawing board with a fresh sheet of paper. I might convert these to a computerised format one day, but in the meantime am quite comfortable working with pencil and paper.



This time I'm feeling a bit more confident and have decided to have a crack at a more complete set of plans, including the superstructure and deck layout.  Here's the revised profile view complete with two human figures. (Can you find them children?) :fool:  The A3 sheet of grid paper isn't quite large enough; the top of the masts and the tip of the bowsprit don't quite fit on the page.  These drawings are at 1:100 scale, just to simplify the drawing process. I'm still planning on building in 1/72 I will just get these plans enlarged by 138%.



As suggested by @Dave Swindell the hull form is going to be quite 'bulky and bluff' underwater and looks like a working ship not a pleasure yacht.  I have not attempted to calculate its block-coefficient but might have a crack at that one day.



As mentioned earlier I'm going to 'stack' the cross-section views from now on to ensure that there is a logical alignment between each section.  Here are the hull sections for the front half of the ship...



and here are the rear set.



And here is 'Draft 3' complete.  Ready for public scrutiny. 



As you can see I've given the vessel a deck cabin with a steering position on the roof directly behind the funnel. There is very little evidence one way or the other for this interpretation and Xantho may in fact have not had such a cabin at all, but its boiler and it's dome did definitely rise to a level above the main deck, so unless it was exposed there must have been some sort of structure there. I'm interpreting the cover over the boiler dome as a semi-cylindrical roof, Mac McCarthy mentioned that sometimes such structures were made of heat resistant ceramics.


I've given the deck a step-up to form a true forecastle. Otherwise I could not readily resolve the known geometry of the clipper bow with some of the registration paper's dimensional notes.   Many - if not most - of the ships of this age in the Glasgow Museums book have such a step but as the bulwarks generally don't step up at the same point there are stanchions and safety rails added. A raised section of deck at the bow of this nature would have helped keep the ship afloat even when 'seven feet out of trim down at the bow' as reported at the inquest by the first mate.


Forward of the mast I have placed an entrance to the officer's cabin.  The registration papers and first mate's testimony clearly indicate that there was an officer's cabin toward the front of the Xantho.


There is a deck winch - the remains of which were found by the archaeologists - and a single voluminous rectangular cargo hold between the main mast and the boiler. I do not know if the hold would have had a single opening as shown or two smaller ones, but I'm confident that the position looks reasonable.


I've mounted two boats either side of amidships. However, in retrospect, I think that this is incorrect. Having boats positioned here would interfere with the loading and unloading of the cargo hold so I think in the next set of drawings I will position the boats either side of the funnel.  Xantho might have only had one boat, but since she was having to operate independently in very some remote regions I think she is more likely to have had two. The fact that no lives were lost in the wreck perhaps adds a little bit of evidence to the idea that she was well served for boats.


I've put four ventilators on top of the deck cabin but think - as per @Chewbacca 's comment on Bulolo above - I probably need several more. Would there be ventilators above the officer's cabin or were they used exclusively around working machinery? 


There is a skylight on the poop deck where I'm guessing there are some crew quarters (directly above the engine?) :sad:


Just writing this now I realise I have not given this vessel any coal-scuttles for loading the coal bunkers which I guess would be either side of the boilers?  I'm also wondering if there would be a small chimney or some such to mark the position of a galley.   Any thoughts at all are most welcome.


Very excitingly - for me at least - I have made contact with an expert maritime historian / artist who lives in Albany Western Australia. He's very kindly agreed to review these drawings and make suggestions and improvements.  I should be meeting him sometime in the next few weeks and will then believe I will be in a position to start on the final set of drawings for review by the museum.


As always, feedback is welcome,

Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve



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Hello Steve now Im no ship expert but would the steering be done blindly from behind the funnel ? I agree with the two boats thought and moving the location aft. As it would be to cumbersome and dangerous to go over one or both of the small boats with cargo. Your forecastle thoughts seem correct from my limited knowledge. I would add more ventilators probably of a smaller size above living quarters. Galley chimney, maybe the galley was close to the boiler and the chimney fed into the boilers smoke stack ?  Or at the very least ran very close to it, why would anyone have two streams of smoke in there face when it could be just one  higher up ? Again I'm no ship builder or designer, and am going strictly with what I believe to be common sense thoughts on layout. 


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10 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

would the steering be done blindly from behind the funnel ? 

Interesting question and one that has been discussed before on Britmodeller. I’ll see if I find the thread.

Anyway, my understanding is that whoever is at the helm does not stand behind the wheel to steer but stands beside it. So having a narrow funnel directly ahead of the wheel isn’t such a problem.


11 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Galley chimney, maybe the galley was close to the boiler and the chimney fed into the boilers smoke stack ?  Or at the very least ran very close to it, why would anyone have two streams of smoke in there face when it could be just one  higher up ?

Yep - that’s what I think too. I guess that’s correct but I don’t know for sure. 



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3 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Back to the Drawing Board


As suggested by @Dave Swindell the hull form is going to be quite 'bulky and bluff' underwater and looks like a working ship not a pleasure yacht.


And here is 'Draft 3' complete.  Ready for public scrutiny. 


Hi Steve

The new lines drawing looks much more like a working ship than before, however some of the detail layout doesn't look quite right to me, the boiler in particular looks too far forward when compared with the archealogical drawing of the wreck on the seabed. I think thre could be a lot of useful information in this drawing and other records from the "dig" to help with creating the best estimate for the drawings.




If you'll excuse me covering some ground you've most likely already covered yourself, I'll have a go at explaining how I'd approach this.

Ships drawings are usually referenced agains either the fore perpendicular or the aft perpendicular (frame 0), with a large part of the known dimensions being at the aft end I'd take the AP as the reference.

We have some as built dimensions, and others after conversion, from which we should be able to work out the overall key dimensions of the vessel.

She was converted from paddle to screw, and also lengthened. The paddle machinery would have been around midships, and the easiest method of lengthening is to insert a parallel section in the middle, so I'd sugest it's most likely she was cut in two amidships to ease removal of all the paddle machinery and a new section was inserted here to lengthen her.

From original build, LBP = 101.3' LOA 121' and fore rake 6', which would give an AP-stem of 107.3', and an AP - stern of 13.7'

From the registration details, stern post (AP) to fore part of stem =116.3' which gives an increase in length of 9', and a new LBP of 110.3' and a new LOA of 130'

We can now plot stern, AP, midships, FP and stem from these.

The above drawing clearly shows the shafting intact, does the museum have a total length for the shafting? (it appears to be in two sections, which would allow the tailshaft to be withdrawn inboard after removal of the forward section and propeller)

The shafting would have enough clearance between it's aft end and the sternpost (AP) to allow the propeller nut to be removed, so add say a foot to the shafting length and that will give you the position of the aft end of the engine. As this is in the museum you can get the basic overall dimensions of this and plot this in.

Next we have the aft mast. The masts would usually be stepped on the keel, which means this mast has to be between the engine and the boiler if this is the case, as it's the only space on the centreline in this area, and I'd suggest close up to the engine as access to the boiler front is needed, and this wouold give the maximum clearance between the mast and the funnel, as this is also at the aft end of the boiler.

The "dig" records should give some indication of the space between the engine and the boiler (and position of the mast if there was any indication of it's remains), in any case I'd expect this to be at least the boiler tube length to allow for cleaning and raking the furnace

You've then got the length of the boiler, and forward of this I'd expect 2-3 feet for access to the forward side of the boiler for inspection/maintenance between the boiler and the cargo hold bulkhead.

From the drawing above there is what appears to be the foot of the forward mast to the left of the cargo winch, and an anchor windlass just aft of the stem which should allow relatively accurate placing of these if the record show measurements for their location. The position of what I take to be the fore mast, and a reference to a fore hatch during the account of the sinking suggests  to me that although there was only one hold, it was served by two hatches, one forward of the mast and one between the mast and boiler.

I'm curious as to what the large objects are outside the hull below the engine and boiler. One item of equipment which may have survived and the location is quired above is the galley stove, it's location in the wreckage would give an indication of where to fit a flue pipe. Another item is the coal bunkers, you mention galena being found in the hold; as she was just setting out on her voyage when she sank I'd expect a reasonable amount of coal still in the wreckage in the region of the bunkers. The logical place would be either side of the boiler space, with hatches in the deck for coaling.

The boiler would be raised above the keel a foot or two to allow a bilge space and for bottom drain fittings etc. If this places the top of the boiler above the deck then there will be a deck house of some form covering it, it wouldn't be open on a sea going ship.

I'd expect the large ventilators just aft of the funnel feeding air down to the boiler front and the poor old stoker(s), with the skylight just aft of these over the engine. If this area is a continuation aft of the raised deckhouse over the boiler, I wouldn't expect portholes in the side as lighting would be via the skylight.

I'd put the wheel further aft, behind the mast, but forward of the rudder, this would be a normal positon for a sailing vessel (and she's rigged to sail from what has been said), the helmsman would steer from the weather side of the wheel so he could read the set of the sails and have a good view to windward.

All this will leave very little room for any sort of cabin at the aft end, the only possibility would be something semi-recessed into the space above the shafting with the upper portion being in an extension aft of the boiler deckhouse. This doesn't fit though as the wheel is referred to as being over the engine room, and not a cabin/deckhouse.

I've not seen any reference to the number of crew she carried, I wouldn't expect it was very large, and they could all conceivably been quartered in a cabin/messroom forward of the hold. There would have been some sort of forepeak space forward of this as well, including chain locker and stores/sail lockers no doubt. It seems a bit curious though in reference to the sinking, there is reference to the mate being unconcerned about the leakage of water into the fore parrt of the ship through the deck - if this was where the cabin was I would have thought there would have been a bit more concern, and again later, the whole part of the foreship was flooded, and no mention of cabin or messroom.

Again, the "dig" reports could be useful here, look for position of domestic type small finds, cutlery, pottery, glassware etc would give some indication of cabin location(s)

If the crew was quite small, say around half a dozen, I wouldn't expect more than one boat, and that no more than a dinghy 14-16ft, easy enough for a couple of men to manhandle, and it should fit on top of the boiler room, possibly upside down.

Once the position of everything is located, then the lines can be worked out to give the volume necessary for the equipment (especially at the aft end).

As the original build most likely had some length of parallel section around midships, then the rebuild will have had considerably more, with the extra 9' added in it could have been in the region of twice that.

Well that's my random thoughts for today. I do think there would be some milage in taking a closer look at any archealogical reports for the recovery, little finds can give an insight into the bigger picture.


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Thanks Dave! 👍


Some really good points made, thanks for taking the time to contribute. I’m off to work right now and will reply more fully tonight when I have a bit more time.





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Hello @Dave Swindell


I now have some time to respond correctly to your awesome, and greatly appreciated, response above. 


Firstly - thank you so much for taking the time to write in with these comments. They obviously reflect expertise in this field that I sadly lack. This is knowledge and input that the interpretation will greatly benefit from. I have taken everything you have written on board and will give very serious consideration to all of it when the next set of drawings are prepared. I am very happy to receive any further feedback, advice or input you wish to make.


We agree on many things. In particular I agree that I need to go back to the museum and see if more detailed - preferably plan view - archeological maps of the wreck are available.  The only plan of the wreck that I currently have  is the oblique drawing that you have referenced above. As you have indicated in your text, it has certain limitations for our purposes,  notably:

  •  No annotations identifying what's what.  Some things are self evident; the engine, the boiler, the propeller. But some things are just indistinct shapes that would be very helpful to have identified clearly - notably the large 'bolt' shaped thing lying on the starboard side of the wreck beside the engine. Also - it's maddeningly tricky to know which (if any) of the various 'sticking up' bits represent masts. 
  • There is no indication on this map of where the galena or any remnants of coal were found.
  • As you have quite rightly pointed out (and I had not thought of it to be honest) there is no indication of the position of any small artifacts such as knives and forks or other personal effects. I have not heard of any such items being found on this wreck but I don't know for sure and - as you suggest - I need to find out. 

On the drawing's positive side - this is a true isometric drawing.  There is a small linear scale (in feet) at the stern of the ship and it clearly indicates the three primary axes of the drawing's scale - one of which runs parallel to the length of the vessel. It was this scale that I used to position the funnel on my drawings. I used the isometric scale to measure the distance - in feet - from the rudder post to the rear of the boiler, and assumed that the front of the funnel would be at that position along the vessel.


When I completed this step I was surprised at how far forward the funnel appeared to be - it seems a bit  further forward on the ship than the profile view in the opening post on this thread suggests.  Remember however, that the isometric drawings there is no counter stern at all so the boiler appears closer to the rear of the ship than it would have when the stern was present.  I think that I've scaled off the position correctly but will check on the next set of plans I draw up.  Again, a scale map - plan view - of the wreck would be invaluable.  I also do like your idea of using the propeller shaft as a means of tying down the position of the engine - that's good thinking. That data must be available. The engine and the boiler are preserved in the museum so I should be able to get their correct dimensions without any difficulty.


Funnily enough , I had not thought in any great depth about how the ship would have been lengthened and completely agree with you that this would have been done with a simple insert. That is a strong argument for a very simple box-like structure amidships which is essentially, I think, what I've drawn. 


You have convinced me on the idea of a boiler room and I really like your idea of a 'single dingy sized' boat manhandled into position and tied down on top of the boiler room. I think that's a compelling thought; it would seem the most secure and practical place. Certainly better than the over-engineered idea I came up with!


I'm pleased you like the idea of a 'forepeak space' as I was struggling to work out the geometry of the bow without it - and it allows me to keep the nice sheer that I've interpreted on the hull's deck line. All ships look much better with a bit of a sweeping curve along the top of the hull!


Your thoughts on the masts are much appreciated - the position of the mizzen remains a bit of a puzzle because, as you say, I would expect it to be stepped into the keel - but on the drawings there just does not seem to be anywhere on the centreline where it would fit.  The front of the engine and the back of the boiler seem to only be a couple of feet apart and that, presumably, is where the stoker would have to stand.  Mac and I discussed this very point in our meeting and we discussed the possibility that the second mast was ahead of the funnel - which not only doesn't make a lot of sense but is also at odds with one of our primary references.  (see below). By the way I believe this drawing also shows a boiler room which gives even greater credence to the idea that the boiler would be built over. 




With respect to the rear mast - I wonder if it might have been keyed into some structure above the engine. It would be about in the right place and would be an advantage of the low profile engine - that perhaps a beam could be built over the engine and the mast keyed into it. Probably a pure fantasy on my part - but it's really hard to see what-else the rear mast could key into.  This has to have been an issue in other auxiliary steam ships of the age - surely? I would be interested if anyone else knows how this might have been accomplished on other vessels.


I think you are correct about one 'hold with two hatches' and a main mast in the middle.  That matches the testimony of the first mate better than my 'one great big gaping hole' idea.  By the way - I also found the apparent attitude of the first mate to water ingress and flooding of the front half of the ship difficult to understand! 🤔


I accept your idea that the ship's wheel was probably on the main deck and behind the mizzen mast. The reasons you state that make very good sense.  It also argues for a shorter, lower and simpler boiler house.    I'm happy with that idea. My understanding is that generally speaking superstructures have got larger and more complex over time, so having a small, simple boiler-house would make sense for a ship of this era.


Enough waffle for now.


Again - thanks so much for your thoughts and input Dave.  I really do appreciate you taking the time to contribute. It's always much better to 'bounce ideas about' like this than to work in isolation and go further and further off on one's own tangents.


Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve




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  • 1 month later...

The perils of rough journalism


Well Britmodeller folks - it's been a while since I've written anything here but, I'm happy to say that I have been quite busy and have some new information for us to consider.



A few weekends back I was mooching in one of Fremantle's three remaining second-hand bookshops - yes they still have three of them - when I found this in one of the rather excellent maritime sections.

This - as the subtitle says - is a history of Western Australian shipwrecks from 1851 to 1880, and Xantho is in it!  This is a highly reputable book written by the one-time WA  Museums curator of shipwrecks and former Vice President of the Australian Association for Maritime History. So it's pretty reliable.




There are quite a few interesting tidbits in here but the main thing that struck me was that this book claims that Xantho had a crew of 20 - five of whom died on the short run between Roeburn and Banningarra (a small inlet between Port Hedland and Broome) while making a voyage to Java.   To me a crew of 20 for a ship so small seemed quite extraordinary, especially as she is recorded as having sailed on at least on one occasion, from Fremantle to Java with 16 passengers. That would make a total of 36 people and would imply a lot of cabin space for such a small ship!


The loss of quarter of the crew in one event was pretty alarming too! How come I hadn’t heard of this before? What caused the deaths? Was there an inquiry I could investigate?


Later on however, I was conducting an on-line search and found this fascinating little snippet from the Fremantle Herald merrily correcting an account of loss of life on the Xantho as reported in their rival newspaper 'The Inquirer'.





Here is the text verbatim..(the italics are mine)


OUR Contemporary the Inquirer will

for once thank us for correcting one of his mis-

statements. He says in his Nicol Bay news of

Wednesday week:-" The Xantho lost five of her

crew (sic) between Roebourne and Banningarra

-a bad begining. It is to be hoped that the re

mainder, some 15, reached Batavia in safety."

Truly this is a bad begining and a bad ending too.

It would indeed be a serious thing for a vessel to

lose five out of a crew of twenty, if even her

crew were composed of twenty instead of less

than ten men. This bill of mortality is much

calculated to create some uneasiness among the

families of those on board. But if any one who

should happen to be anxious would read cows for

crew they would arrive at the truth of the matter,

and their uneasiness would terminate. We

remember the case of a gentleman who

complained to a friend that cows were everlastingly

getting into his enclosure, and his friend suggested

 that he should put up a notice forbidding

cows an entrance, whereupon he remarked with

much sapience and feeling :-" what is the use,

the cows won't read it I " If the Inquirer had

stated the truth namely that cows were lost: the

bovine families they left behind would not probably

have read the news, and would have remained

with untroubled minds. But as possibly

the families of some of the crew of the Xantho

can read, we take this opportunity of relieving

their minds of a source of worry and anxiety. 



So, this correction establishes that Xantho actually had a crew of less than 10 but had capacity to carry at least 20 cattle! It is just unfortunate for Mr Kennedy that when he wrote 'unfinished voyages' he was misled by a bit of 100 year-old rough journalism.


In 2020 I have the advantage of an internet search engine and so found the correction!


I'm finding this all very interesting and there's more to come folks.


Bandsaw Steve





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Interesting in hearing a bit of history, will give substance to your build. It wouldn't surprise me that you'll be able to get names of the lost souls too.



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I am very much enjoying this thread Steve and really appreciate the time and effort you are making to annotate your thoughts.

I took my family to Perth, Freemantle and on down to Albany last year, spending 3 weeks around Christmas. We had a great time in the maritime museums along the coast as we usually do. While exploring the Xantho boiler room display and explaining it to the kids, we remarked it was a pity there was not a model of the Xantho to see how it all fitted together. You are clearly addressing that need.

Great work and I hope your endeavour will be in the museum for future generations to enjoy. 


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HaHa, I’m often venturing into those 2nd hand bookshops in Freo, can’t believe I haven’t seen that book before!?  Of course Bandsaw Steve you would have been the first to hear about it.

Good luck with the build when you start, looking forward to following along.

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7 hours ago, Colin W said:


I took my family to Perth, Freemantle and on down to Albany last year, spending 3 weeks around Christmas. We had a great time in the maritime museums along the coast as we usually do. While exploring the Xantho boiler room display and explaining it to the kids, we remarked it was a pity there was not a model of the Xantho to see how it all fitted together. 

Hi Colin,


I bet that was a great trip!

If you ask me, the South-West of W.A. is one of the best regions on earth for a family holiday and I love Albany and it’s surrounds. Did you get to the old whaling station museum? Last time I was there I noted that they didn’t  have any models of the Cessna 337 they used to use to spot the whales.🤔 Hmmmm....


So pleased you got to see the Xantho gallery and that you also concluded that a model would not go amiss. 👍



3 hours ago, Clogged said:

Good luck with the build when you start, looking forward to following along.

Not long to wait now! 

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Hi Steve, 

Touring around Albany we came across several references to Paul Smith who seems to have been a very popular character towards the end of the last century. There is a section of the Whaling museum dedicated to him as the last pilot employed to spot the whales and direct the ships to the pods. 

He was killed on a drugs surveillance flight with 3 police officers and there is a memorial to them outside the police station. Presumably the plane was destroyed in this incident and there's no model of it anywhere in Albany. 



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6 hours ago, Colin W said:


He was killed on a drugs surveillance flight with 3 police officers and there is a memorial to them outside the police station. Presumably the plane was destroyed in this incident and there's no model of it anywhere in Albany. 


That aeroplane also played an important role in an epic, famous 1978 rescue of an amateur photographer who was accidentally washed into the Southern Ocean by a freak wave near ‘The Gap’. (Not far from Albany.)




Anyone got any good plans for a Cessna 337?

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In late 1872, in the period immediately following the sinking of the Xantho, the crew of the ship found themselves thoroughly stranded.

101 years later - in late 1973 - Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzenera and Andy McKay - inspired by the story of the Xantho, released Roxy Music’s third album - a commemoration of the loss of the ship and the suffering of her crew. 




Some might doubt the veracity of this claim,  but I offer the following as conclusive proof.  Firstly,  Xantho was sometimes used as pearling ship and track three on side two of 'Stranded' is 'Mother of Pearl'. Secondly, following the sinking, the destitute crew lived on the streets of Geraldton for a time. Track one side one - and the hit single from the album - is 'Street Life'. What could be clearer?!? And so we see that today Xantho's crew's memory lives on, beautifully immortalized in early 1970's Glam rock. There clearly is also great significance in the fact that Xantho was once a ferry and Bryan still is. 🤔


Anyway, it seems unlikely that at the time of the sinking,  many of the crew would have realized that the greatest Art Rock group of all time would one day pay homage to them. If only they had known, what a comfort it would have been in that difficult time!  Despite their ignorance of future glory it seems they were quite industrious because a significant amount of equipment was immediately recovered from the wreck and stored in a warehouse at Port Gregory.  

Upon completion of this salvage work the entire crew set out on an overland trek to Geraldton.  Mr Broadhurst was with them and must have found this a very trying journey.  He now owed the crew 500 pounds in arrears wages and had no means to meet that obligation. So not long after reaching Geraldton, and without notifying the crew, he quietly slipped out of town and began the long journey back to Perth. 


Upon realizing that Broadhurst had absconded, Xantho's captain, Captain Denicke, decided to take matters into his own hands. He assumed ownership of all of the salvaged gear and organized an auction in Fremantle.  Remarkably and very fortunately the list of salvaged goods set for auction survives and is published in 'Unfinished Voyages' (where the list first came to my attention) and is also available in an electronic scanned copy of the primary reference. Here is an image of the advertisement in the Fremantle Herald...




and here is the full text - including the list of items for sale! This is a goldmine of new information! 😀



Sale by Auction.

Wednesday, 5th February.

S. S. 'Xantho.'


HAS received instructions from Capt.

DENICKE, (the master) to sell by

Auction at his Sale Room, High

Street, Fremantle, on WEDNES-

DAY, the 5th February:--



THE wreck of the above vessel, now

lying in about 12 feet water at Port

Gregory, inside the reef, together with

her furniture, tackle and rigging.


The following articles stowed in a

warehouse on shore:--

1 complete set of sails with running

gear. 1 lower yard, topsail yard, fore

gaff, and main boon and gaff, with

gear complete.


1 Bower Anchor

1 Stream do.  (Note apparently the word 'do' in this context is shorthand for 'pertaining to' or 'associated with' the previous item' e.g. In this case '1 Stream associated with the Anchor above').

81 Fathoms Chain

Winch do.

2 Boats Davits

1 Fist do .

2 Life Buoys

2 Boats Covers

Manilla 3in. Line

Coir Warp

Aneroid Barometer

2 Thermometers

3 Salinometers

Masthead and Side Lights

4 Cork Fenders

Rigging Screw

1 Copper Pump

1 Do. Hose Branch

Assorted Blocks

Gun, Cartridges, and Blue


Large Ship's Bell

Portable Forge, Anvil, &c.

Azimuth Compass & Tripod

2 Steering Compasses

1 Patent Log

Engine Room Tools

2 Clocks, Lamps, Spy Glass

Complete set Flags-new

Cooking Apparatus

English Flag and Jack

3 Awnings

1 Thirteen ft. Dingy

&c., &c. &c.


At Fremantle,-1 first-class ship's

Chronometer, by McGregor Glasgow,

and some Maps.

N.B.-The Engines are 35 horse

power, made by Penn and Son for the

English Government, and only put

into the "Xantho " about 12 months


Sale to commence at 12 o'clock.


Further particulars may be obtained

on application to the Auctioneer, or;

to Mr. Sept. Burt, Solicitor Perth.

 Jan. 20, 1873.


This, obviously, is worthy of much further discussion and interpretation over the next few posts. I'm not going to go into any of this right now because it's now after my bedtime - well after sunset. 'Sunset' incidentally was track four on side two of 'Stranded'.  


Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve



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5 minutes ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Some might doubt the veracity of this claim - but I offer the following as conclusive proof.

Well I'm 100% convinced. :nod:


And 'gullible' is in the dictionary - I've checked.

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19 hours ago, Brandy said:

The word "do." is usually short for "ditto", as in, the same as above.


Good point!

In our house though the word “do” is generally used as an imperative verb... e.g.


”Do” your homework! 😡

”Do” the dishes! 🤬

or - best of all...

”Do” The Strand! 😀👍



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Hello Steve.

This brings back memories of doing a weeks work experience at the WA Maritime Museum back in 1989 for Year 11 high school. As I was interested in technical drawing the curator gave me a large lump of rust to measure, and she asked me to do a 'technical drawing' of the said lump of rust onto a sheet of drawing film for their records. As I recall it was the remains of an old hand pump stanchion from the Xantho. I used a wooden profile gauge to do the measurements and ink technical pens to finish the job. I was shown the steam engine which was stewing in a chemical brew in a large steel conservation tank outside in the yard. I suppose that was only four years after the remains were raised a brought to Fremantle.


I wonder now if my rusty lump was a back up hand pump, perhaps energetically worked for the last time in 1872 by a crew member, until it was worthless to continue...


Thank you for an interesting thread and for stirring up some old memories!


Cheers Andrew

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