I was up the Sunshine Coast earlier this week, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to detour on the way home to take a peek at a memory from my childhood. The wreck of the S.S.Dickey. It sits on, or rather ‘in’ the beach which bears its name, and has done so for the past 110 years. Slowly rusting away, there’s bugger all left of the old girl now. Even the prow of the vessel, which once stood solidly out of the sand on the landward end, albeit bent over in a bizarre inverted V-shape, has now vanished.
Ahhh, the memories I have of that old wreck. I gashed a foot on it as a five-year old and Dad had to carry me, bleeding profusely, to the nearby ambulance station. My younger brother was caught short there once, having to make a deposit into the Pacific Ocean on the northern side of the hulk, as the tide washed around his arse. He was mortified. I was grossly amused.
The history of the vessel is very sparse, but her ignominious end is slightly better.
“No serious wrecks were seen on the southern Qld coast between 1889-1893 until a small steamer of 143tons, built in Germany in 1883 and measured 96.5ft long, 21ft beam went ashore above Point Wickham at Caloundra “and has ever since been there”. She was on her last voyage to Brisbane, she fought a strong gale off Caloundra but was driven ashore. All passengers and crew landed safely despite the heavy seas. An inquiry found that her loss was due to negligent navigation and the master lost his certificate for 3 months.”
There’s even a pic of her, some 26 years after her beaching, here. Strange how details get mangled over time. I’ve read that she was 226 tons gross and was carrying 40 tons of sand ballast when she was run ashore by her skipper. There’s actually more available about the yard in which she was built, than the ship herself. Kind of sad, really.