Page:Aboriginesofvictoria02.djvu/248

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APPENDIX:

Loss of the Austrian Bark "Stefano" north of Shark's Bay, on the North-West Coast, in October 1875.

The following particulars were furnished to the Fremantle Herald by Mr. John Vincent, who acted as interpreter to the survivors:—"The Stefano, 1,300 tons, of Fiume in Austria, with a crew of seventeen persons, was wrecked on the coast, and only ten of the men got ashore. They lived on raw shell-fish and such provisions as were washed on the beach. They had little hope of ever being rescued, and were in great dread of the natives, whom they believed to be cannibals. As everything had been lost, they had no means of ascertaining on what part of the coast they were, or in which direction lay the nearest settlement. After several days of great suffering, the natives came down to the beach, and, much to the surprise of the castaway sailors, made overtures of friendliness, which, after some hesitation on the part of the shipwrecked seamen, were accepted. The natives showed them where water could be obtained, caught fish and cooked them for them, and completely relieved the party of all fear on their account. Among the débris of the wreck washed ashore the natives picked up a chart of the West Coast of Australia, by which the party were enabled to make out pretty well where they were; and, after consultation, it was determined to make an attempt to get to Shark's Bay. The party started southwards, and after six days' travelling reached Cape Cuvier. Finding no water, and being afraid to proceed, they returned to the scene of the wreck, which they reached in safety. For some six weeks after their return the party lived on rock oysters, and suffered intensely from want and exposure. On Christmas Day two of the men died: and a few days after six more, including the first-mate, succumbed to their sufferings. The two remaining survivors, Baccich and Jurich, who now despaired of ever being rescued, determined to join the natives, and travelled inland for this purpose. They joined the tribe with which they were already acquainted, and found them extremely hospitable while they remained with them. They had long despaired of ever being rescued from their pitiable condition, when relief came in a most unexpected manner. Capt. C. Tuckey, of the cutter Jessie, engaged in the pearl-fishing, on his voyage from Roebourne to Fremantle, put in near the north-west coast to land some native divers belonging to that locality, who had been engaged in the pearling. After landing them, the Jessie proceeded on her voyage; but the weather getting rough, the captain thought it as well to run in towards the land and anchor in smooth water till the weather abated. Having anchored in a protected spot, Tuckey determined to send some flour and sugar ashore to the natives, with a view to establishing friendly relations with the tribes thereabout, in the event of his wanting to engage them, at any future time, for the pearling. While pulling on shore in the ship's boat, one of the hands remarked that there were two Malays on the beach with the natives. On landing, they proved to be the two survivors of the crew of the Stefano, and from them Capt. Tuckey learnt the sad tale of the loss of the ship and the sufferings of