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 3 Work progressed at a pace and Wishart was invariably described in the local media as the energetic contractor. In October 1885, Wishart discovered: by soundings taken at dead low waterthere will be a depth of 24 feet at the commencement of the wide portion of the Jetty, 32 feet at the centre of the wide portion, and 38 feet at the extreme end. This should allow accommodation for six or eight of the largest ocean going steamers alongside the Jetty at low tide. 5 By February 1886, completion was in sight: The piles have been driven at a distance of 83 feet from shore, and the whole length is planked to within about 60 feet of the end. There is now only a further distance of 300 feet to be constructed. Where piles are being driven now, the bottom is very irregular, as illustrated by the fact that almost every other pile refuses to penetrate to the same depth as its neighbour and consequently has to be sawn to a level but this will have no evil influence on the lasting qualities of the structure, and the work as it is being done promises that this jetty will be as faithfully constructed from every point of view as anyone could wish. 6 By now, the favourite Sunday pursuit of townsfolk was the novelty of taking a walk on the jetty. The last two vessels carrying timber were being loaded in Hamelin Bay. They were the Nebo and Nordensjold, both of which arrived in March 1886. In May, a distance of only 45 feet remained to be accomplished, and in June: Mr. Wishart drove his last pile, in the length, of the ship jetty on Saturday last, and has now only the fender piles and braces to do to complete the work; a diver is at work putting in the braces below low water mark. 7 By September, Mr Wishart was expected to have completed the jetty and the Tannadice was expected to berth at the jetty to unload the first of the Millar Brothers freight for the North Australia Railway. Sadly in the same month, a worker tarring the piles, Thomas Williams, drowned when the hanging stage on which he was working gave way sending he and two colleagues went into the water. Williams could not swim. His body was retrieved by Wisharts diver.8 As it happened, the jetty wasnt completed until October and Wishart prepared to leave Port Darwin: The auction sale of contractor's stores last Saturday attracted a large attendance, but very few buyers. Mr. Wishart will have to ship the bulk of his surplus material to southern ports, there being no market in Port Darwin. 9 Wishart and his wife Caroline left Port Darwin aboard the Changsa in January 1887. 5 NT Times and Gazette, 3 October 1885 6 NT Times and Gazette, 5 February 1886 7 NT Times and Gazette, 12 June 1886 8 NT Times and Gazette, 11 September 1886 9 NT Times and Gazette, 30 October 1886

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