Unidentified at Eyre
This unknown ship was discovered by Edward John Eyre at the time he was making his famous transcontinental journey. In his journal he noted the position where he found a number of pieces of a wrecked ship. Some of the oars and spars had been arranged above the high water mark, another on a high ridge away from the shore. . In 1976 Mr John Carlisle and his wife told the Museum of wreckage found on the beach 55 km east of Eyre. Mr Carlisle had been familiar with the area since 1928 and knew a number of Aboriginals from the area. They told him an Aboriginal legend about the wreck, which he recounted in detailed fashion in an interview in 1976. The story indicates that two ‘lifetimes’ before Eyre and Baxter came through the area, a longboat with five men came onshore from a ship that was in trouble. These men were not in good condition, one died almost as soon as he reached shore, another had died by the next morning and a third about ten days later. The Aboriginals then killed one of the others. They were going to kill the last man, but were afraid to, for he had light blond hair which they had never seen. They spared him and the story says he lived with them for a long time, eventually going with another tribe east of Eucla. In 1982, some other intriguing evidence of this legend turned up. A letter to the Museum from Marjorie Elliot of Maryknoll Victoria contained a story handed down about her great grandfather. He had an interesting past, and had stories of being shipwrecked, swimming 5 miles to land and living with Aboriginals for some time. After reading the account of the Aboriginal legend in Henderson’s Unfinished Voyages Vol 1, Mrs Elliot was wondering if this same man may have been her great grandfather. Investigators from the WA Museum have found artefacts associated with a wreck in the area under question, but at this time it remains unidentified and the question of the survivor a mystery. Associated Aboriginal groups may have been the Ngatjumay and the Mirning.
Associated Tribe Ngatjumay, Mirning
Contact Evidence Anecdotal
Type of contact Unknown
Location East of Scorpion Bight