Territory Stories

Fact sheet 5



Fact sheet 5

Other title

Port Darwin Jetty


Friends of the North Australian Railway Inc


FNAR : Factsheet; E-Journals; PublicationNT; FNAR : Factsheet




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Railroads; Periodicals; Factsheet

Publisher name

Friends of the North Australian Railway Inc.

Place of publication

Adelaide River


FNAR : Factsheet


no. 5

File type




Copyright owner

Friends of the North Australian Railway Inc.



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Friends of the North Australia Railway - GPO Box 3504 - Darwin NT 0801 Australia Fact Sheet 5 Port Darwin Jetty - page 2 200 worth of plant on board. The value of the timber is about 2,500, but this loss is, we are happy to state, covered by insurance, the plant being the only loss that Mr. Wishart will sustain, if we set aside all indirect considerations. The vessel was a new boat, a couple of years old, and was an excellent sailer. 3 Unfortunately, Mr Wisharts steam powered winch, or donkey engine (example left), was also aboard the Bittern. The second ship in the fleet was the Silver Stream which was, at that time, 32 days out of Hamelin Harbour but not expected for a further 20 days. Third in the fleet was the Boisterol, which was loading at the time. A fourth vessel would join the fleet after it had discharged its cargo of coal from Newcastle. The Silver Stream arrived on 17 May 1885, Captain Briggs reporting to have seen the Bittern high and dry at low tide on Browse Island as he passed. The Bitterns timber cargo was being unloaded and cut into smaller pieces ready for transport to Port Darwin. Captain Briggs was of the view that the Bittern could be saved once she had been jettisoned of her cargo. Preliminary concrete work commenced in late May 1885 and pile driving in June following the arrival of the donkey engine. Casualties of the venture included several horses Wishart had brought to Port Darwin, which were probably worked too hard in the climate. One horse became entangled in its harness and, panicked, backed away over the side of the jetty and drowned in February 1886. By August 1885, tenders had been called for a railway stacking ground on the approach to the jetty. Wishart tendered for that work but was unsuccessful, the tender being awarded to Mr. Daley, an Alberton contractor whose: price for the work was the lowest, though from what we can hear but very little below Mr. Wishart. We can learn nothing definite about the figures, but if it is true that Mr. Daley's tender is only between 4,000 and 5,000, we fail to see where the profit on the transaction comes in, and we think that the Government would have acted with better judgment had they given the work to the lowest local tenderer. 4 3 NT Times and Gazette, 1 May 1885. 4 NT Times and Gazette, 21 August 1885

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