Note by Karina: I was contacted by Karen van Harskamp in 2017 about her extensive research she had done on her ancestors (Bradbury/Young family) who had been lighthouse keepers and were stationed on King Island when the Netherby was wrecked. Karen wrote the following and supplied me with the PDF I have linked below that contains her fantastic research. It really is worth a read.
While we are not descended from a shipwreck survivor – Our Bradbury lighthouse assistants (John, Isabella (nee Patterson) and Selina Bradbury who was 10 at the time) in 1866 supported the group of men as well as Parry who set out for rescue who arrived at Cape Wickham Lighthouse. The family gave up their small four room accommodation and beds to the survivors to ease them in the bitter cold of July - along with Captain Spong, the Lighthouse Keeper, and the other families (Weights and Hickmotts were the main ones from 1862 onwards but there were several families who did emergency ‘fill-ins’ when illness struck, contracts finished or leave was needed – would have to double-check the Lighthouse returns/logs to determine if there were others there beside/as well as/in place of the Weights/Hickmotts).
It is hard to imagine the great crowd of cold, exhausted men being provisioned for and settled in the small amount of shelter that was available. John Bradbury, born in Chatham, Kent and only in his 40s was, by 1866, plagued by serious illness and had just returned from Hobart for treatment when the Netherby was wrecked. By 1868, he was forced to terminate his contract as he was unable to keep the rigorous schedule of daily watches and maintenance, as well as the wallaby hunting that supplemented families’ diets/supplies as well as incomes.
Five days short of Christmas in 1868, John Henry William Bradbury, sailor, died of stomach malignancy at the age of 44 at Sandy Bay, Hobart, leaving his widow Isabella, 36, and daughter Selina, now 12, to seek employment with Henry Hopkins of Hobart at his home Westella as domestics.
* John Henry William Bradbury – c. 1824 – christened on 12/12/1824 at St Mary’s, Chatham, Kent, England – parents John Bradbury and Eliza (maiden name unknown) (England Births and Christenings, 1538 – 1975)
* Isabella Bradbury nee Patterson (b. 1832 – d.28/8/1921, Sandy Bay, Hobart)
* - married in 1853, at St George’s-in-the-East, London (Church dedicated to mariners) - John and Isabella, with their daughter Selina (born 28th February, 1856 – St George, Middlesex, England) – arrived in Tasmania on ‘Aurora Australis’ from London on 4/1/1858.
* The Bradburys arrived on King Island at the end of 1862 with Captain Spong and his family (and other Assistant families) when Selina Bradbury was just 6.
* Isabella married again - another man of the sea, Captain Henry Bowden in 1878
* Selina Bradbury couldn’t escape the lure of the sea and married in 1880, Tasman Young, born on Bruny Island, (where Captain Edward Nash Spong and his wife, Mary Spong nee Lawrence (linked to our Young family from Bruny, which Selina would then marry into as well) - were both from! – a sailor and Captain, who died in the depths of the Derwent River in 1921, mooring off the Sandy Bay Baths, just a stone’s throw from his home.
Thank you so much as always for your dedication to preserving our maritime and social histories!!!
Karen van Harskamp
Page 42 onwards of Karen's PDF relates specifically to the lighthouse keepers on King Island.
Karen's document also refers to the cable between King Island and Cape Otway, Victoria. Significantly - the cable was not operational at the time of the wreck of the Netherby which was why the lighthouse staff were not able to contact the mainland and alert them to the wreck. Instead ship crew member John Parry had to borrow a small whaleboat and row across to the mainland to seek out rescue.
Excerpt from Karen's document.
In 1859 a telegraph line was laid across the island fromt Cape Wickham to Sea Elephant Bay, being portion of the initial connection by electric telegraph between Tasmania and Victoria. The line was from Circular Head thence, alternatively, via the small islands and cable to King island, and then by cable again to Cape Otway. Its life was but three years, as the cable chafed through on the Navarin Reef, two miles off Cape Wickham, and it was not relaid, the cable from Flinders to Low Head being substituted in 1869.”
Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), Saturday 27 February 1937, page 5. Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/rendition/nla.news-article52126306.txt