Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Twilight (1877/05/24)

Twilight Cove

Twilight was launched in February 1869 with one deck and a square stern. The original owners were John Chester (32 shares), Edward Newman and William Bartram (joint owners of 24 shares), and Barrington Clark Wood (8 shares). When Newman died on 25 November 1872 his widow, Ellen Newman, and Wood were granted probate as executors. This also happened when Bartram died on 23 May 1874. In June 1874 Chester sold his half share in the cutter to Joshua James Harwood, and Wood sold his eight shares to Lionel Gould. At the same time Gould also bought the 24 shares from the executors of the estates of Newman and Bartram. In January 1876 Harwood became sole owner when he bought Gould’s 32 shares. However only eight months later Harwood sold 32 shares each to George Thompson and James George Flindell, Thompson selling half of his shares to Abraham Moses Josephson five days later. The owners at the time it was wrecked were therefore George Thompson (16 shares), George Flindell (32 shares) and Abraham Josephson (16 shares).

On 10 March 1872 the Twilight was anchored in Koombana Bay when an exceptionally violent gale blew the cutter over the bar of the Leschenault Inlet. It lost its rudder in the process, was subsequently repaired, and in May 1877 was anchored in Twilight Cove discharging a cargo of wire and insulators for the overland telegraph line. Also anchored and discharging a similar cargo was the cutter Cartabunup/Bunyip (see entry). Both these vessels had been chartered by Mr Gilham.

About midnight on 24 May 1877 the Twilight under the command of Captain Joe Tager was driven ashore in a severe gale, becoming a total wreck. The crew got ashore safely, but the cargo was described as being ‘buried in the sand, from which it would be impossible to extract…(Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 1877: 5b). The quantity of material on the two vessels was said to be sufficient for 100 miles (160 km) of telegraph line, and that because of the loss the work would be delayed by six weeks. The crew walked overland to the Israelite Bay telegraph station, a distance of about 275 km to report their loss.

As stated above the newspaper reported that the cargo was considered impossible to recover, and there is no mention of any subsequent salvage of the vessel.

Due to coastline accretion the site of the wreck of the Twilight is now buried under sand some distance inland. It is reported as being buried under a sand hummock 600 m east of the wreck of the Swift (see entry). During a wreck inspection of the Swift in May 1977 by Scott Sledge of the Western Australian Museum, an unsuccessful search was conducted in an attempt to locate the wreck of the Twilight.

Around 1900 Mr Dunn broke up part of the wreck of the Twilight to obtain timber to line a well some 3.7 m deep. This fresh water well is said to be in the same sand hills as the wreck of the Twilight, but closer to the sea shore.

Western Australian Museum, Department of Maritime Archaeology, File No. 6/86 – Bunyip, Twilight, Swift.


Ship Built

Owner George Thomson, of Fremantle

Country Built WA

Port Built Fremantle

Port Registered Fremantle

When Built 1869

Ship Lost

Gouped Region South-Coast

Sinking Driven ashore in gale

When Lost 1877/05/24

Where Lost Twilight Cove

Latitude -32.270317

Longitude 126.045301

Position Information Aerial GIS

Port From Albany

Port To Twilight Cove

Cargo Telegraph stores

Ship Details

Engine N

Length 13.11

Beam 4.27

TONA 24.00

Draft 1.98

Museum Reference

Official Number 61091

Unique Number 617

Sunk Code Wrecked above water

File Number 2009/0080/SG _MA-6/86

Chart Number BA 1056

Protected Protected Federal

Found Y

Inspected Y

Date Inspected 1991/02

Confidential NO