Ly-ee-Moon | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Ly-ee-Moon

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History

Prominent among the rolling green hills at Green Cape, south of Eden on the New South Wales south coast, are the tombstones erected to the seventy-one people lost in the Ly-ee-moon disaster of 30 May 1886. Built as an iron side paddle wheeler at Blackwall, London in 1859 the vessel was refitted in 1874 and converted to screw propulsion. The new compound engine generated 160 horsepower. The graceful steamer retained an elegant clipper bow and now had a tonnage of 1202 tons and a length of 86 metres. 

The wreck of the Ly-ee-moon was one of the most tragic losses on the New South Wales' coast. Driven onto the reef in a frightening sea, the steamer rapidly broke apart exposing all inside to the violence of the gale.  One by one they were torn from the hull or swept from the decks to drown or be cast against the rocks.  The bow was torn off taking the saloon and thirty passengers with it. They remained with water pouring up to shoulder height.   With no air left, they perished, a small boy being the only survivor, having put his head through a porthole; found unconscious, he was given mouth to mouth resuscitation and recovered.

The lighthouse staff could offer no help, forced to watch the terrible scenes before them.  In total, seventy-one passengers and crew lost their life.  Those bodies that could be recovered were buried in a small cemetery away from the lighthouse.

Depth of site ~13m

photo: The hull wrenched in two. Courtesy: State Reference Library, State Library of New South Wales.
The hull wrenched in two. Courtesy: State Reference Library, State Library of New South Wales.
photo: Shattered hull. Courtesy: State Reference Library, State Library of New South Wales.
Shattered hull. Courtesy: State Reference Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Database

Site information

Site ID: 1029
Type: Steamer screw Construction: Iron
Primary industry: Transport Sub-industry: passengers - coastal
Gross tonnage: 1202 Net tonnage: 745
Length (mtrs): 86.07 Beam (mtrs): 8.321
Draft (mtrs): 5.059 Cargo: Passengers & cargo
Engine: Compound
Country built: UNITED KINGDOM State built:
Port built: Middlesex, Blackwall builder:
Port registered: Sydney When built: 1859
Registration number: 19/1878 Official number: 28737
Sources: SMH 1/6, 2/6/, 10/6/1886; Illustrated Sydney News 10/11/1877; 15/6, 15/7/1886 ; The Australian Sketcher 29/6/1886; Bega Standard 02/06/1886; RBS; Shipwreck Atlas of New South Wales pB52;
Comments: The number of deaths is uncertain as there is no final number for steerage passengers due to last minute boardings. The site lies in water up to about 13 metres.

Lost event

When lost: 1886/05/30 Where lost: Green Cape
Wrecked/Refloated: Wrecked Sinking: Ran aground
From port: Melbourne To port: Sydney, NSW
Master: Captain Arthur W Webber Owner: Australasian Steam Navigation Company
Crew: 41 Passengers:
Crew deaths: Passenger deaths:
Total deaths: 71?

Location

Maximum latitude: 37.26500000000 Minimum latitude:
Maximum longitude: 150.04883333333 Minimum longitude:
Datum used: AGD66
  Datum    Latitude    Longitude    Zone    Easting    Northing
AGD66 37.26500003745250 150.04883333333000 56 238298.77518025700000 14128367.70189680000000
AGD84 37.26500003745250 150.04883333333000 56 238298.77518025700000 14128367.70189680000000
GDA94 37.26499487531900 150.04883333333000 56 238299.70879688400000 14128352.78368740000000
WGS84 37.26499487440960 150.04883333333000 56 238299.70879531000000 14128352.78369610000000

Management

Found: Yes Inspected: Yes
Protected: Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 Jurisdiction: Federal
Protection notes:
Signage: Web address: https://www.michaelmcfadyenscuba.info/viewpage.php?page_id=90