On This Day – December 31, 1869

The wrecks which occur on the coastof Victoria are, unfortunately, not of a kind to make any “patent” of much value. Masters of ships overrun their reckoning, or approach the coast incautiously without having had proper observations, or are embayed and caught by in-shore currents not laid down on the charts, or are unable to haul off in gales which have over-taken them when close in shore. But when wrecks occur in such cases, no patent for raising sunken ships can be of the least use. If vessels under such circumstances become stranded, whether they are reported as total wrecks, or as capable of being launched, can be of no consequence to such a company as the “Australian Salvage Company.” Their patent obviously applies to the raising of sunken vessels and not to the launching of stranded ones. Great as the loss of property in ships and merchandise has been on the coast of Victoria during the last 15 or 20 years, those who are best acquainted with the facts will admit that the waters of Port Phillip Bay afford no scope for such a company as the “Australian Salvage Company” and that from the wrecks which have occurred between Cape Otway and Cape Howe in the same period, the angry waters have left but little for the hand of man to recover. ‘