Ada and Ethel – Wikipedia

New South Wales
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
Sponsored by Miss Ada Messell
Christened 9 January 1886
Completed May 1886
Maiden voyage 16 April 1886 for Macleay River
Fate Wrecked 26 October 1887
General characteristics
Type Wood Schooner
Tonnage 73 GRT, 73 NRT
Length 25.05  m
Beam 5.974  m
Draught 1.950  m
Propulsion sail

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

Ship description and construction[edit]

On 9 January 1886, Mr. Roderick of Eagleton, New South Wales, launched a new vessel built to the order of Messrs. Captain C. T. Messell and E. Davies, of Sydney, New South Wales.[1] The christening 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]

Ada and Ethel then was taken to Sydney, entering Sydney Heads at half-past eleven on the night of 19 February 1886 under tow by 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.[3]

Ada and Ethel was 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 gross register tonnage of 73 tons.[4] She was built substantially of the best colonial hardwood, coppered, and copper-fastened. She was a sister ship of Julian, which was launched about eight months earlier and belonged to the same firm.

Ada and Ethel left port on the afternoon of 26 October 1887 under the command of Captain Frederick. They soon found that the ship was taking on water so rapidly that by 19:30 the vessel became unmanageable, and Captain Frederick endeavoured to make for Port Stephens, New South Wales, where he intended to beach her. However, it was soon apparent that Ada and Ethel would not reach the shore, and Captain Frederick and the five members of his crew abandoned ship off Seal Rocks, New South Wales.[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, 20 February 1886.
  4. ^ Exports, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1886.
  5. ^ “Foundering of the schooner Ada and Ethel”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 October 1887.

Further reading[edit]

  • Wrecks on the New South Wales Coast. By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995 Oceans Enterprises. 1993 ISBN 978-0-646-11081-3.
  • Australian Shipwrecks – vol1 1622-1850, Charles Bateson, AH and AW Reed, Sydney, 1972, ISBN 0-589-07112-2, Call number 910.4530994 BAT
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 2 1851–1871 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Sydney. Reed, 1980 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 3 1871–1900 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Geelong Vic: List Publishing, 1982 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 4 1901–1986 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1987 910.4530994 LON
  • Australian shipwrecks Vol. 5 Update 1986 By Loney, J. K. (Jack Kenneth), 1925–1995. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1991 910.4530994 LON

External links[edit]

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