Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dassen Island Lighthouse 2

Dassen Island with its Jackass Penguin Colony, now much reduced.
Dassen Island became notorious for the number of shipwrecks occurring in its vicinity. 
The Western seaward side of the coast is deadly, with high seas beating in from the Atlantic and consequently many ships being driven onto the rocks.

Dassen Island is a 200-acre barren rock and scrub, 55 kms north of Cape Town and 11 kms from the coast. The island and its partly submerged reefs was a menace to shipping which is compelled to approach the south-western Cape coast on its way to or from Table Bay. The low-lying islet brought disaster to more than one fine vessel, among them the first Windsor Castle on 19 October 1876. All those on board were rescued from the island.

The lighthouse commission presented a report to the government stressing the necessity of having a powerful light on Dassen Island without delay. The government was in agreement and parliament provided the necessary funds. In August 1891 the tender of Chance Bros of Birmingham was accepted: the company would supply an eighty-foot cast-iron tower, a 12-foot lantern and 920 mm dioptric apparatus, together with all spares, stores etc. The contract sum was 6, 700 pounds and delivery was to be made within twelve months.

Prior to the wreck of the SS Wallarah, Dassen Island was without a lighthouse. Whilst outward bound on her maiden voyage from London to Sydney in 1891, the SS Wallarah, commanded by Captain F.H. Ekins, and belonging to Wilhelm Lund’s celebrated Blue Anchor Line, was wrecked at Boom Point on Dassen Island. It was this loss which prompted the authorities to take action and the lighthouse was duly erected.

See waratahrevisited.blogspot.com/2016/08/loss-of-ss-wallarah.html

SS Wallarah was wrecked 1891 at Dassen Island. This photo shows her sister ship, Yarrawonga (1891, 4000 tons). 

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