Wreck of the Victor, at Newcastle. 16th April 1866

Wreck of the coaling brig ‘Victor,’ at Newcastle. – [From a sketch by S. Knaggs, Esq.] [See Page 3.] From the Illustrated Sydney News, 16 April 1866, Page 1. (Click for a larger image)


ON the 16th ult. the brig Victor, of and for Melbourne from Newcastle, with coals, was becalmed off the latter port, and slowly drifted ashore until the captain, not liking the vessel’s position, attempted, unsuccessfully, to wear her, and immediately afterwards she bumped heavily. The steam tug Prince Alfred went to her assistance and got her in tow, but unfortunately the line broke, and a heavy sea catching her, she went bodily on the rocks, about three quarters of a mile from Nobbys, close to the Harbour master’s residence, and at once commenced to break up. The City of Newcastle (s.), Captain Summerbell, steamed as close as she could with safety, and then lowered the life boat, but the sea was running too high to approach the wreck, on the forecastle of which, were assembled the crew; and after several ineffectual efforts the boat returned. A messenger was then despatched for the port lifeboat, which started in tow of the Rapid. Had the unfortunate mariners been dependant on her for safety none would ever have reached the shore. Fortunately a brave seaman, Mr. Vegesach, chief officer of the Royal Exchange, seeing their danger, secured a line round his body, and, at the imminent risk of his life, swam through the breakers, and reached the vessel safely; and a large line, secured to the bulwarks, having been drawn ashore, the crew, with the assistance of by-standers on the beach, were safely landed, much exhausted. And almost immediately after, every vestige of the wreck disappeared, with the exception of some floating spars and pieces of timber, which were being crushed to fragments against the rocky cliffs. The crew lost everything they possessed, and were relieved by the charitable inhabitants of the port, who supplied them with clothing &c. A public subscription has been started to procure a suitable testimonial for Mr. Vegesach, to whose gallantry the men owe their lives, and we trust that the first Albert Medal which reaches Australia will be one bearing his name.

Wreck of the Victor, at Newcastle. From the Illustrated Sydney News, 16 April 1866, Page 3.


Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories

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