Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Chofuku Maru

On 5 February 1931, the SS Chofuku Maru went to the aid of the ship SS Shunsei Maru which had ran onto a reef near to the North West Whaling Station at Norwegian Bay. Unfortunately, the Chofuku Maru also got into trouble on the reef. Two members of the local Aboriginal tribe, Old Tommy and his wife Mary Ann, took the news of the wreck to the Whaling Station. Captain Maurice MacBolt took some men and a boat to go to pick up the crew. The Japanese crews were not happy about coming ashore because there were a number of Aboriginals with spears, so Captain MacBolt had to go ashore to speak to the Aboriginals and then back to the Japanese to reassure them that the Aboriginals were harmless. The Aboriginals had been using their spears for fishing and turtle hunting, and were very amused that the ‘Jerridy-Jerridies’ (an Aboriginal term for rice-eaters) should be frightened of them. This Aboriginal tribe could have been the Thalanyji. This area was near to where the Stefano was wrecked and it is thought that the tribes from this area had become extinct by the time of the Chofuku Maru incident. If so, it is not certain which tribe Old Tommy, his wife and others were part of.

Associated Tribe Thalanyji

Contact Evidence Verified

Type of contact Helpful

Year 1931

Nationality Norwegian

Location Pt Cloates

Source European