Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Flying Foam (1872/03/10)

Abrolhos Area

Flying Foam was a two-masted schooner with one deck and square stern built at South Beach, Fremantle, by William Jackson. The joint owners were John and Walter Bateman, merchants of Fremantle. The Batemans employed Jackson as a shipwright after he came to Western Australia. He had previously worked as a shipwright for the Royal Navy. At the launching the design of Flying Foam was praised, together with the high standard of cabin accommodation.
Flying Foam under Captain Charles Reeves with crew and three passengers left Champion Bay on 7 March 1872, and was seen by the schooner May (Captain Vincent) about 11 km west of Geraldton and heading for Fremantle. There is some confusion regarding the passengers who lost their lives in this tragedy. The Inquirer and Commercial News gives them as being Mr Arthur Patten, his wife and child. Further research however seems to indicate that the family involved was that of Walter Hicks Patten. He had previously been in the Police Force stationed at Greenough. The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians 1829–1888 states that Walter Patten, his wife and child, were lost at sea in March 1872. A severe storm with winds from the north-west (referred to as a cyclone in the shipping register) struck on 10 March. The Flying Foam was not seen again. Prior to this voyage, it had damaged its stern when it hit the Fremantle jetty, and the damage had only been patched over with canvas. It seems likely that this inadequate repair was a major factor contributing to the loss of the vessel.
Geraldton residents chartered the brigantine Clarence Packet to search the Abrolhos Islands for the missing Flying Foam. Authorities in Dongara obtained the use of the cutter Arabian to also search the Abrolhos Islands and the mainland. Two whale-boats from Fremantle were sent to search the coast northwards from that port, one under the command of Captain Charles Gabriel Hanham and the other skippered by John Tapper. No trace was found of the vessel and no bodies were recovered.

Ship Built

Owner John Bateman of Fremantle

Builder William Jackson of Fremantle

Country Built WA

Port Built Fremantle

Port Registered Fremantle

When Built 1861

Ship Lost

Gouped Region Mid-West

Sinking Cyclone

Deaths All

When Lost 1872/03/10

Where Lost Abrolhos Area

Port From Champion Bay

Port To Fremantle

Ship Details

Engine N

Length 18.30

Beam 4.80

TONA 33.32

Draft 2.10

Museum Reference

Official Number 36544

Unique Number 261

Registration Number 3/1861

Sunk Code Wrecked and sunk

Protected Protected Federal

Found N

Inspected N

Confidential NO