Adolphe Shipwreck


The wreck of the French four-masted barque Adolphe lies off the Stockton breakwall, a 2km return path with a viewing platform to standover the Adolphe wreck. The account of the wreck is a story of the courageous and skilful work of the lifeboat crew who saved every life on board.

The Adolphe sailed in from Antwerp on September 30th 1904. It was picked up by the tugs Hero and Victoria about 9 a.m. and made an attempt to enter port.

When it came round the southern breakwater, the barque was struck by huge seas which caused the Victoria's hawser to snap. The Hero could not hold the barque up and another succession of big waves lifted the Adolphe on to the remains of the wreck Colonist where she remained.

The doomed vessel presented a splendid though terrible spectacle standing perfectly upright with her bow heading to the harbour.

Several attempts were made to take the boat around the stern of the Adolphe, which was abandoned after four oars were broken. McKinnon then skilfully manoeuvred the boat round the wreck of the Regent Murray and was able to get a line onto the Adolphe. The lifeboat was anchored and the seamen slipped down the line one by one. It took half-an-hour for the thirty-two men to be placed in the lifeboat.