On 25 August 1834, Edward Lombe (Stroyan) was on voyage from Hobart to Sydney with a cargo of general goods and 55 passengers and a crew of 16, when she was lost after running aground off Middle Head in Sydney Harbour resulting in 12 deaths.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 25 August 1857
[report contained in story published in the same newspaper on 28 August 1834, 23 years after the sinking]
THE EDWARD LOMBE.
On Sunday, the 17th instant, the Edward Lombe, Captain Stroyan, of 370 tons, sailed from Hobart Town for Sydney, having on board a quantity of spirits, ale, salt, and other merchandise.
Passengers, Mr. Greenhill (brother of Mr. Greenhill of Sydney), Mr. Knight, a hairdresser, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Kemp, Mr. Wilkinson, and Mr. Gibbs, a surgeon.
After leaving Hobart Town they were becalmed for about three days, and on Saturday last, a breeze sprung from the east-south-east, and compelled the captain to sail under close-reef topsails ; the coursers and mizen were also obliged to be reefed, the gale having continued, and blew violently.
On Monday the ship was off the land, but on account of the weather being hazy, could not make out Port Jackson Heads.
The gale increased, and Captain Stroyan endeavoured to keep off the coast as much possible, and for that purpose tacked about first to the northward and eastward, and again to tho southward.
About eight o'clock at night they carried away their fore-top-mast stay-sail, and the fore-top-mast back-stay, and about the same time saw the light from South Head.
Captain Stroyan now found it impossible to keep tho vessel off the coast, and steered for the Heads, which they entered somewhere about half-past nine o'clock.
The wind continued to blow with the greatest fury, and no pilot being on board, thought it advisable to let go an anchor within about two ships' length of the Sow and Pigs.
This anchor is supposed to have parted from the cable immediately, such was the violence of the gale, and another was let go, but which only checked the course of the vessel for a few minutes, and she commenced drifting.
The Edward Lombe was almost immediately afterwards dashed stern first upon the bold rocks called the Middle Head, while the captain was giving orders to sheet home the top- sails, for the purpose of sailing the vessel into a more secure situation.
Everything was now in confusion ; Captain Stroyan called out to know if Mrs. Jones the female passenger was secure, and desired the men to fetch her up from below.
Some hands went down to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who were in their beds, and succeeded in dragging them out in a state of nudity, and brought them on deck.
A man named Knight, a passenger, was also apprised of his danger, but not believing what was told, remained in his bed, and was not afterwards seen.
At this time the seamen and passengers were running about the ship panic struck, some in the shrouds, and others in different parts of the vessel.
The captain and two seamen, with a passenger named Wilkinson, were engaged in cutting away the launch, for the purpose of endeavouring to save all hands, when a tremendous sea came and swept away Captain Stroyan, and the three other persons, boat and all, neither of whom was afterwards heard of.
This sea also carried away the cuddy, the starboard-bow having been stove in by the rocks.
The next sea that came over the vessel took away the bowsprit and foremast, and stove in part of her broadside.
At this time a lad who had been confined on account of a bad leg, contrived in a most miraculous manner to scramble along the main-chains, and reach the poop of the ship, where most of the people were hanging on.
While bringing along Mr. Jones and his wife, the husband was washed from midships and not seen afterwards.
Another dreadful sea succeeded the former one, and carried away the main and mizen masts, and the cargo of the vessel was seen coming out of her broadside.
Just as most of the seamen got on to the stern of the ship, the ship broke asunder quite close to the poop, which was left wedged in between the rocks.
The fore part of the ship drifted with great violence about thirty yards from the stern, and went nearly to pieces, and had not the chain cable kept her bows in that situation, no traces of that part of the vessel would have remained until morning.
The rigging had all fallen into one mass of ruin and destruction, and principally lay between the two parts of tho vessel.
The whole of the persons alive were holding on to the stern of the vessel, the female passenger being in the centre of them, for the purpose of protecting her from the waves as much as possible, she being almost naked, and severely bruised ; but such was the dreadful state of the weather that every sea that carne washed over the whole of them, and none expected to survive the night.
The surgeon and second mate endeavoured to save themelves by a rope from the stern, but were shortly afterwards drowned.
A seaman, named Anderson, went down by the spanker-boom, but was so much exhausted with the violence of the sea, that he was obliged to let go the rope, and was dashed on to the rocks ; another sea came and took, him off again, when he caught hold of the cable, and got on to the bows of the wreck, and after much difficulty he succeeded in climbing on the top of a high rock, where he remained until morning.
About three o'clock Mr. Marshall, the chief officer, made several attempts to get ashore, for the purpose of rescuing all hands from the stern of the vessel, but he was driven back by the sea.
About daylight they saw a schooner and a sloop at some distance, and made signals with their shirts, &c.; shortly after the Venus, sloop, came up, and put off a boat to them, but could not got near on account of the breakers.
Captain Swan, of the Venus, after putting off his boat, sailed across to Watson's Bay in his vessel, and fired three guns, for the purpose of calling the attention of the pilots to the wreck, and also hoisted the Union Jack, reversed.
He then came over again to the Edward Lombe, but could not get sufficiently near to take any of the men from the wreck.
The Venus and her crew then went round to a contiguous bay, and after mooring the sloop, went over the rocks to the assistance of the wretched persons on the wreck.
Captain Swan and his crew were now engaged in bringing the survivors ashore by ropes, &c.; one man, named Jones, acted in a most praiseworthy manner towards the unfortunate seamen, and several times risked his life in their behalf.
By this time the pilot's boat put off, and were seen making for the wreck.
Mrs. Jones was almost lifeless with being in the wet and cold all night, having only but one thin garment on, just as she left her bed; after being wrapped up with jackets and other things, she was conveyed to one of the pilot's houses, where she was treated with great kindness, and we are happy to hear is fast recovering.
The remainder of the unfortunate persons were brought up to Sydney as soon as possible, and have been temporarily provided for by the agent of the Edward Lombe.
About ten o'clock in the morning, news reached the town of the catastrophe, and immediately afterwards Captain Lambert and a boat's crew, the Harbour Master and his crew, Captain Roche with the Revenue cutter, Mr. Jeffreys, the Surveyor of Customs, with his boat's crew, besides several other boats with officers from the Alligator, started to Middle Head, for the purpose of rendering their assistance to save what property they could, and succeeded in collecting a considerable part of the cargo which was floating about in all directions, but in the most damaged condition.
The different bays and the harbour as high as Bradley's Head, were literally strewed with pieces of the vessel and merchandize.
We never witnessed so complete a wreck as that of the Edward Lombe, now lying on the Middle Head of Port Jackson.
In the course of Tuesday, a mail was found marked No. 1, which is supposed to be the principal one, and yesterday another small mail was picked up, which will be distributed to-day.
Mr. Raymond has offered liberal rewards for any other mails or letters that may be found.
The captain's desk was also discovered yesterday, but emptied of its contents ; it is said by the crew, that the captain had three hundred-sovereigns in it.
Up to yesterday none of the bodies had been-found.