Artefacts from Argosy Lemal at Port River Sailing Club
As I stated in my article titled Follow-up on the Schooners Lemael & Booya , “I had previously written a series of articles regarding a number of sailing ships, but two in particular – the Booya and the Lemael. The series started with “Cyclone Tracy Shipwrecks” in our April 2005 newsletter (No.320). This was followed by “More About the Booya” in our July 2005 newsletter (No.323). The third article was titled “The Wreck of the Schooner Lemael” and it was published in our June 2007 newsletter (No.344). The final one in the series (until now) was “The Schooner BOOYA 4.0” in our January 2008 newsletter (No.350).”
I recently attended a Bird Life Australia workshop at the nearby Port River Sailing Club at Snowden’s Beach. I thought that I had entered heaven when stepped into the room and saw this setting: –
The view outside was just as pleasing: –
We were able to watch many vessels sailing by whilst we were at the workshop. We also got to see lots of dolphins swimming around in the river.
When I was seated for the workshop, I suddenly noticed this picture behind me: –
I was somewhat gob smacked to see the letters “EMAL” in the bottom left hand side of the picture. I quickly realized that the ship in the picture was the Argosy Lemal, a vessel that I had written about so many times in the past. The picture was a drawing or painting of the Argosy Lemal sailing off of Cape Otway. I quickly took a photograph of the picture whilst I had the opportunity to do so. I can’t quite make out the name of the artist.
I soon realized that much of the surrounding artefacts on the wall around the painting were actually from the Argosy Lemal, including the ship’s wheel. I made sure that I took many more photographs of the many artefacts during the lunch break, including this one of the ship’s wheel: –
The wheel featured this little plaque at its centre: –
The little plaque seems to feature a ship and the skull and crossbones.
There were several frames and a bell at the right of the wheel: –
Wheel with 2 frames alongside
A lady came over to talk to me about them all and she knocked one of the frames down and broke it. Fortunately, I had already managed to photograph it before it was broken: –
The 2 frames prior to the accident
The lady, whose name I forget, also told me that the bell was from the Argosy Lemal and that the photo left of the bell, and below the picture of the ship, either featured Captain Jim Gillespie or his wife (I forget which).
I often either mentioned or quoted Captain (James) Gillespie in my old articles, especially regarding his book “Traders Under Sail – The cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia” (1994).
Captain Gillespie had been made a life member for the sailing club in 2000. His name and photo both featured left of the ship’s wheel: –
I took this close-up photo of Captain Gillespie: –
Captain Gillespie’s ‘Life Membership’ photo
I could not believe that all of the above-mentioned artefacts from the Argosy Lemal had been ‘sitting on my doorstep’ for some time without my knowledge. I felt extremely lucky to have been able to visit the sailing club and find them there.
This photo of the Booya (ex-Argosy Lemal) had been taken by C.Begg in 1972, two years before she was wrecked in Darwin on Christmas Day 1974 by Cyclone Tracy: –
The Booya (ex-Argosy Lemal)
(Taken by C.Begg in 1972)
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Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.