Closing In – Through the Rip
oil on canvas
54 x 54cm framed in raw timber
(artwork 51 x 51cm)
The iron ship Sierra Nevada arrived outside Port Phillip Heads in very rough weather late on 8 May 1900. The vessel drifted close to rocks while waiting for the pilot vessel. Believing the pilot vessel was not at its station, the Sierra Nevada ceased signalling. When it was discovered that the vessel was close inshore, orders given to let go the anchors, but they did not hold. The Sierra Nevada grounded at 2.30 am. In the rough sea it broke up within half an hour, with only five men reaching the shore alive. Army personnel from the Portsea barracks attempted to retrieve the cargo washed ashore and to protect it from the many pillagers. The liquor was a great attraction.
Here I have depicted the ghost ship, no sails, coming through the heads of Port Phillip Bay.