Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales | Licence: Out of copyright
Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales | Licence: Out of copyright

The Habitation of the crew of H.M.S Pelorus after she had been wrecked at Port Essington November 26, 1839 / Montagu Frederick O'Reilly

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From the Collection

Image Licence

Image Credit

Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

From the Watercolour World

Location

Port Essington, Northern Territory, Australia

Country

Tww Comment

Port Essington in Australia's northern territory was struck by a powerful hurricane on 26 November 1839. Owen Stanley, the captain of H.M.S. Britomart, recollected the event in the Nautical Magazine (September 1841): 'The trees came down in every part of the settlement; the marines' houses were all blown down; the church, only finished a week, shared the same fate...H.M.S. Pelorus, having parted her cables, was driven on shore, and thrown over on her beam ends, on the north-east point of the settlement, where heeling over 82 degrees, her starboard side was buried nine feet in the mud, leaving the keel three feet clear of the ground.' This painting by Montagu Frederick O'Reilly - an artist an Royal Navy officer who volunteered for service on board H.M.S. Pelorus - shows the aftermath. The trees are badly damaged and a series of tents and temporary houses have been erected to house the ship's crew.