Bee (ship)

Bee was a sloop of 11 tons that was employed by the colonial government of New South Wales between 1801 and 1804. It sank in 1806 off the coast of Newcastle, Australia.

History
Name: Bee
Owner: Benjamin Crew
Notes: Sank off the coast of Newcastle, Australia in 1806
General characteristics
Class and type: Sloop
Tons burthen: 11 (bm)

Colonial History

The vessel was at Sydney by 30 June 1801.[1] Exact date of arrival unclear. Employed in public service for the colonial government. Described as a "long boat decked." In good repair and crewed by a master and 3 seamen who were to receive an extra ration from the stores. Employed to bring grain to Sydney from different settlements and for various other purposes.[2]

Bee was under the command of Thomas Bryant when it sailed on 25 June 1806 from Sydney, Australia, for the Hawkesbury River. On 28 June the ship ran into a storm that shifted the ballast, and damaged the rigging and mast. All the food was washed overboard and the water barrel was smashed. On 29 June the storm abated and Bee joined with another small ship, Contest, on the way to Newcastle. While Contest managed to get into harbour, Bee was becalmed just outside. A strong current then took the ship southwards when the anchor dragged.

Further squalls sprung up over the next couple of days and shredded what was left of Bee's sails. The two men crewing the ship, Bryant and the ship's owner, Benjamin Crew, were exhausted, hungry and thirsty as the current then took them northward. On 12 July, Bryant killed the ship's cat and they drank its blood, and on 16 July Bryant died. On 18 July, Crew was able to get the attention of a passing whaler, Brothers, which rescued him. Bee was left to drift and was never seen again. Crew returned, and was landed in Sydney on 21 July 1806.[3]

References

  1. J.S. Cumpston, Shipping arrivals & departures Sydney, 1788-1825, Roebuck, Camberra, p.40.
  2. Historical Records of Australia, Series I, Volume III, p. 700.
  3. Australian Shipwrecks - vol1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0-589-07112-2 p43


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