The stranding of the ship “Manhow” in 1857.

Event Dates:

August 1857

Manhow after a passage of 114 days from Hong Kong, anchored opposite the Semaphore station on the evening of Saturday 15 August 1857. She had on board 358 Chinese and was bound for Guichen Bay, but being short of water, provisions, and wood, she put in at the Lightship station for the purpose of obtaining the necessary requirements.

During the night a violent gale of wind caused her to break from her anchor. For the succeeding 24 hours she vainly endeavoured to regain her former position. At about 3 o’clock on Monday morning, the darkness being intense, she stranded, with all sail set, on the Willunga reef. News of the disaster reached the Port late on Monday night. Captain Douglas left for Willunga the next morning. On his arrival he found that the greater portion of the passengers had been landed, and in a few hours afterwards all of them had got on shore without accident. The captain abandoned the vessel to the charge of Captain Douglas. The part of the reef on which the Manhow has stranded is likely to be less injurious to her than any other portion of the reef, the rocks being comparatively few, and the water smooth. With the exception of her rudder being knocked away, the vessel has sustained but little injury.

Captain Douglas is sanguine that she will be got off from the reef today (Friday). After striking she made water fast; but on Wednesday the water gained only two inches in five hours. The Blanche, with Captain Douglas on board, and the Young Australian, with a gang of men, proceeded to the stranded vessel on Thursday afternoon; and it is confidently expected that she will be towed off the reef at once. The Manhow was in part the property of her captain. She brought no cargo, and was uninsured. The Chinese are encamped at Willlunga. They, of course, are bound for the diggings; but are undetermined as to their immediate course of action. The Burra Burra will start today (Friday) for Willunga, and in all probability will be engaged to take the Chinese on to Guichen Bay.


1857 ‘SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE‘, South Australian Register 21 August, p. 2. , viewed 24 Jan 2024,
1857 ‘SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE‘, Adelaide Observer 22 August, p. 5. , viewed 24 Jan 2024,
1857 ‘SALES BY AUCTION THIS DAY‘, South Australian Register 31 August, p. 2. , viewed 13 Feb 2024,
1857 ‘WILLUNGASouth Australian Register 5 September, p. 3. , viewed 13 Feb 2024
1857 ‘PORT ADELAIDE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24‘, South Australian Register 25 September, p. 3. , viewed 13 Feb 2024,

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