Ada and Ethel

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Name: Ada and Ethel
Owner: Edward Davies, Charles Frederick Messell
Port of registry: Sydney
Identification: registration number: 34/1886; official number: 93496
Builder: Edward Davies /Mr. Roderick at Williams River (New South Wales), New South Wales, Australia
Launched: 9 January 1886
Christened: 9 January 1886
Completed: May 1886
Maiden voyage: 16 April 1886 for Macleay River
Fate: Wrecked 1887/10/26 Seal Rocks, New South Wales, 10 miles SE
General characteristics
Type: Wood Schooner
Tonnage: 73 GT
Displacement: 73 NT
Length: 25.05  m
Beam: 5.974  m
Draught: 1.950  m
Propulsion: sail

The Ada and Ethel was a wooden schooner that was wrecked 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Seal Rocks, New South Wales on 26 October 1887.

Ship description and construction[edit]

On Saturday 9 January 1886, Mr. Roderick of Eagleton launched a new vessel built to the order of Messrs. Captain C. T. Messell and E. Davies, of Sydney.[1] The baptismal ceremony was performed with champagne by Miss Ada Messell, Captain Messell's daughter. The vessel was named after Ada and her infant sister Ethel May, who died approximately 12 months later.[2]

The Ada and Ethel was then taken to Sydney and rigged as a fore-and-aft schooner, intended for the coasting trade. Her dimensions were 82.2 feet (25.05 m) long, 19.6 feet (5.97 m) beam, and 6.4 feet (1.95 m) depth, which gave her a registered tonnage of 73 tons.[3] She was substantially built of the best colonial hardwood, coppered, and copper-fastened. She was a sister boat to the Julian, which was launched about eight months prior, and belonged to the same firm.

The Ada and Ethel entered Sydney Heads at half-past eleven on the night of 19 February 1886 in tow of the steamer Malua and was brought up in Pyrmont Bight to have her mast and other fittings installed. The passage down from Williams River was made in 10 hours.[4]

Shipwreck event[edit]

The Ada and Ethel left port on the afternoon of 26 October 1887 under the command of Captain Frederick and five crew members. They soon found that the ship was taking on water so rapidly that by half past seven the vessel became unmanageable, and Captain Frederick endeavoured to make for Port Stephens, where he intended to beach her. However, it was soon apparent that they wouldn't reach the shore, and the sinking ship was abandoned off Seal Rocks.[5]


  1. ^ Country News, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 January 1886.
  2. ^ Funerals, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1887.
  3. ^ Exports, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1886.
  4. ^ Exports, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 1886.
  5. ^ "Foundering of the schooner Ada and Ethel", The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 October 1887.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°36′S 152°42′E / 32.6°S 152.7°E / -32.6; 152.7