Historian probes ship's story

HISTORIAN Thom Hayes thinks it is time to set the record straight about the final resting place of his town's namesake - shipwrecked schooner The Coolangatta.

Mr Hayes, president of the Coolangatta Heritage and Tourism Group, has spent years unearthing evidence about the final resting place of the schooner that was carrying cedar logs when it went to ground in August 1846.

He says what he has found will mean rewriting the history books.

“According to the monument erected at Coolangatta Creek the schooner Coolangatta was wrecked in the mouth of Danger Bay, which is now known as Kirra Beach, but this is not true,” Mr Hayes said.

“The wreck is actually a schooner, The Heroine, which was carrying coal from Newcastle to the Condong Sugar Mill when it got into trouble crossing the Tweed bar.

“A NSW Supreme Court Case about an insurance claim for the wrecked schooner was written up in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1848 and it said The Coolangatta 'now lies on the beach near the mouth of the Tweed' river and it had anchored next to another schooner, The Jane, at Flagstaff Beach, or Duranbah Beach.

“The wreck was never sold and, similar to the fate of many ships, it was left to disintegrate.”

Archaeological examination of the wreck in Coolangatta Creek revealed the boat was made of flooded gum, not hickory like the Coolangatta, Mr Hayes said.

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