William Dampier and HMS Roebuck: Maritime Australia 3

March 2023

This is the third episode in our mini series on the maritime history of Australia. In episode one we learned about the arrival of the Dutch in Australia; in episode twp we learned about the Dutch ship Duyfken, the first European ship to land men on the Australian mainland; and today we’re moving on in time to hear about William Dampier and his ship HMS Roebuck. Dampier is an extraordinary character. A natural scientist, explorer and pirate, Dampier was the first Englishman to explore any part of Australia as well as the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. Dampier was born in 1651 and died in 1715, and so he lived in this fascinating period in English history in the aftermath of the execution of Charles I and at a time of giant leaps in maritime capabilities. The world was changing at intense speed. Dampier began life in the merchant navy, joined the Royal Navy, fought against the Dutch, joined the buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp’s crew’ and sailed around the world, all the while keeping a diary that would become one of the most important and popular travel narratives of the period. He was then given a ship, HMS Roebuck, and a mission to explore the east coast of New Holland, the land we now know as Australia. To find out more Dr Sam Willis spoke with historian and archaeologist Dr Mac MCarthy – the man who actually tracked down and found HMS Roebuck.

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    Sam Willis 

    From the Society for Nautical Research in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation, I’m Sam Willis and this is the Mariners Mirror podcast, the world’s number one podcast dedicated to all of maritime history. Hello everyone and welcome to the Mariners Mirror podcast and to this the third of several episodes on maritime Australia. I have begun my odyssey in Fremantle at Western Australia, the location of the truly fabulous Western Australian shipwrecks Museum and the Western Australian Maritime Museum. In Episode One, I spoke with Elle Spillekom about the Dutch in Western Australia. In Episode Two I spoke with Graham Cox about the construction of the replica of the Duyfken, the first European ship to get to within the sight of the Australian mainland. And today we’re moving on in time a little to hear about William Dampier and his ship HMS Roebuck. Dampier is an extraordinary character, natural scientist explorer, a bit of a pirate. Well, in fact, a lot of a pirate. He was the first Englishman to explore any part of Australia as well as the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. You need to think of him as a bridge between the Tudor Francis Drake and the Georgian James Cook. Dampier was born in 1651. And he died in 1715. So he comes from this fascinating period in British history. In the aftermath of the execution of Charles the First when the world was changing with intense speed, a Republic had been declared in England, the Commonwealth of England. It had subsequently failed, and the Stuart monarchy had returned. But in those years, ship design had also changed and voyages of immense distance and significance had been completed. The world was poised for someone like Dampier. He began life in the merchant navy, he joined the Royal Navy, he fought against the Dutch, joined the buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp’s crew and sailed around the world, all the while keeping a diary that would become one of the most important and popular travel narratives of the period. This book, A New Voyage around the World made him famous, and soon the Admiralty came knocking. Dampier was given a ship HMS Roebuck and a mission to explore the east coast of New Holland. The land we know as Australia. He landed and explored the Western and North-western coasts before heading up and around Australia towards the east. The subsequent tale is a true gem of maritime history, not least because the final discovery of the wreck of his ship, the wreck of the Roebuck, was made by the very man I’m about to introduce you to, please meet Mack McCarthy. Now Mack has lived quite a life I think someone should actually do a podcast series entirely on him. So to give you a little flavour of the man I’m about to meet by virtue of the astonishingly good luck that he says followed him as closely as a noon day shadow ever since he was born. He was stolen from his second mother and sent to Western Australia at the age of five. Mack is a former child migrant from Birmingham. He was fostered by multilingual and highly educated English migrants, whose generosity and care set him on the road to becoming first a sports teacher and then the Western Australian Museum’s inspector of wreaks Now, I’ve talked a little bit about good job titles before this, and currently David Rooney, who was keeper of technologies at the science museum, Is currently in position at the top of the table for best job titles, but I think that inspector of wreaks gives him a serious run for his money. Anyway, back to Mack. Mack was responsible for the excavation of the wrecks of the Dutch East India ship Zuytdorp, the iron hulled SS Xantho from the 19th century, the submergible Second World War flying boats at Broome on the northern coast of Western Australia, and several submerged Jetty sites. He led the Western Australian Museum’s HMHS Sydney and HMS Cormoran programmes. He also helped pioneer the study of abandoned hulks, aircraft wrecks and historic submarines assisting at the wreck of submarine Explorer, a revolutionary Civil War era, pearling submarine in Panama. Now that’s something I want to find out more about. But the reason I’m talking to him today is that and I don’t know how he found the time he has also led searches for two of Australia’s foremost exploration ships, the French Corvette L’Uranie from 1820. And yes, you guessed it William Dampier’s ship HMS Roebuck. As ever I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I enjoyed talking with him here is a true cyclone of maritime mania, the colourful, the salty, the fabulous Mack. How did you become interested in Dampier first?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well Dampier has always been a big one for Australians because he is our first natural historian 70 years before Banks and Cook. He is the first to describe our natural environment, the first to produce charts of Sharks Bay, as he calls it, and Shark Bay was my second office or third office, you know, for shipwrecks and stuff. And so Dampier was always on our horizon. And then in 1999, there was the 300th anniversary of his book ‘ Voyage to New Holland’ .

     

    Sam Willis 

    He wrote two books. I this is the

     

     

    This is the second one Yeah, he’s ‘Voyage Around the World’ is what made him famous with Prince Jeoli the tattooed prince. And then he got Roebuck and then he came to Australia. His plan was to go to the east coast and see what was on the other side of New Holland. But they gave him a ship too late to go via the horn. So he followed the Dutch route, and as he’s going on to this coast, he goes to New Holland lands at Sharks Bay goes around the top, and it’s rotting on him and it sinks on his way home. When Alex George wrote the book, William Dampier, Australia’s first natural historian, for the third anniversary, we decided in Shark’s Bay, that we would go and hunt for his ship, and I would lead the team. Essentially that’s what led to this efflorescence of research following a chap called Leslie Marchant in Australia, who wrote the definitive book for Australians on Dampier. There are lots of British books and others, and Dampier came into our horizon then. And so that’s 1999 the 300th in Shark Bay

     

    Sam Willis 

    He’s an interesting character Dampier? Yeah, I mean, he’s a proper pirate, and rouge isn’t he?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Dampier is all of that, buccaneer in the true sense of pirate, a privateer, a hydrographer and natural historian and author of note. Damn good semen, hopeless leader of men, not a good fighter, it seems, so he’s an amazing range. There’s an any amount of authors who sort of take which side they particularly like, whether it’s the piratical, whether it’s, you know, the, the hydrographic it’s whatever they like to focus on. Depends on what they’re about. And the man shines in all except leadership, He’s  astonishing.

     

    Sam Willis 

    An  amazing bloke to have met.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Would you have liked to have met Dampier? Oh certainly, would have been, a thin man. Little bit like you, lots of brains, because at one stage he’s blamed with Captain Swan for taking him on that first voyage to Far East into the Philippines and they’re starving. He writes in his journal, that they were going to eat him and the captain because they blamed him unless they came on land soon, truly. And but he says, Captain Swan said to me that Dampier they’re going to eat us, but they won’t eat you because you’re too skinny, whereas the captain was lusty ad fleshy. So he’s a thinnish man, which probably accounts for him living into his late 60s I think. So he’s reasonably fit, and won’t have a lot of the dietary and other issues that a lot of us more Tubby people get. Yeah, I’d love to have met him.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So that convinces the British government to give him one of their ships so he gets HMS Roebuck for this. This second voyage,

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Dampier when he comes home, a chap called William Knapton a publisher, who just published the first travelogue ever, to great acclaim, learns that Dampier kept a journal handwritten journal. And from what we can gather, Dampier gives this to William Knapton, and Knapton looks at it and thinks, oh my god, I can make a book out of this, another great seller, in which time Dampier goes off for a bit more privateering and stuff. Was lucky not to get caught and hanged. His book comes out, but in the meantime, he’s travelling a chap called Gioli, a prince who’s completely tattooed head to foot. Gioli is from an island in the Philippines, Miangus. He is known to be a wonder of the world. Dampier was presented to the King and Queen, that’s why some people call Roebuck ‘Their Majesty Ship’, My god look what the pirate has bought us and then when he’s book comes out Gioli and the book make Dampier famous. So when he goes to the Admiralty and says sirs, I can take you to the east coast of New Holland and tell you what’s there, but you must give me a ship, and of course to the to the Admiralty to give a ship to a pirate wasn’t a good idea. The first ship they gave him was just useless. And finally gets the old fire ship Roebuck fifth rate. And as I said, is delivered too late for him to travel, the way he wants to, directly across the Horn in the winter. So he has to follow the Dutch route. And the ship’s rotten from the start. But he is a pirate given a ship, a Navy ship, and he has been given Lieutenant Fisher RN as he’s first in charge.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So just just explain those routes. So he was hoping to go Cape Horn and then get to the east coast of Australia, he has to go the Dutch way. So around the bottom of South Africa, hits the 40s gets blown across to the to the west.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    So the Dutch route, the Brouwer Road, invented in about 1611 was to go down to the cape, and then across in the 40s. And you’re blown across a small part of the world because it’s got less of a circumference in the equator, blown across. And you then had to work out where you were by deduced or dead reckoning to know when to head west of North for some straits. Because deduced or dead reckoning was just guesswork in many ways, you often headed too far late.  His voyage on this particular trip. Dampier almost hit the Abrolhos where the Batavia is today that you’re interested in. But he misses that. And he goes north around the top towards the east coast all the time. He’s going towards the east coast of New Holland. And amazingly, he gets within 100 nautical miles of the east coast before they decide to turn back because the ship is rotten.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Wow, they must have known that long before.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well, they did, but for some strange reason they turned back, I think they’re heading back to Batavia. Which is now Jakarta of course, which then was a Dutch seafaring city, and they would have repaired the ship in Batavia. They might have even done a little bit in Tamor, who knows. They then head back home and they sink at Ascension Island. That was my team’s job was to go and find Dampier’s ship.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Where is Ascension Island, Ascension Island.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Ascension Island, If you look at the coast of South America, and then head directly north from Cape Horn towards England, you get to St Helena where Bonaparte was once, and then go up another halfway just south of the equator is Ascension Island. And it’s this tiny thing that actually became a garrison later on to help in a control Napoleon, but ships often called into Ascension Island.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So you knew that Roebuck was on Ascension Island somewhere and then you lead a team to find it.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Everyone knew that he sank at Ascension, because he was marooned there, three ships came and picked him up. The challenge for everybody was where on Ascension. Over the years, the position of the wreck was in various bays. And numerous expeditions went in search for it. And all were beaten in trying to find it. So I got a crew together, I succeed because I surround myself with experts and lead from the back. I’m the weakest link in the chain. And it’s done very well because we deduced where Dampier must have been when he came to anchor. He comes to anchor and the carpenter come’s ” sir we’re sinking” what’s going on? So we’re sinking conclusive? So Dampier sends the cat carpenter down to fix it and the carpenter amazingly cuts out a frame to check where the leaks coming from. And of course the leak just gushes in and they’re up there, southeast trades, blowing them offshore, they’re at anchor 20 metres of water and hard to believe but a wind change came at that moment. And Dampier said, up anchor, down sails, let’s go, and ran it straight to ground. We deduced exactly where that was by just going back to first principles and so on. And the area had been searched before. But we now knew that was it.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Can you describe the area? Is it a cove or a windswept bit

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    It’s a beautiful cove. Ironbound; ie rocks either side, just north of the main port at Ascension Island and town, a beautiful sandy beach. Essentially, the prevailing wind blows you off shore so you anchored sit there. While we’re there one of the Maersk tankers was sitting exactly where Dampier said he was. What allowed us to find his ship, it’s hard to believe but we’re there at anchor saying  okay, this is where he was at anchor, sinking, and suddenly we had the breeze change, completely out of the blue. I said to all on board, about nine of us, where would you go now, seven of them pointed straight in and one clown pointed this way. So we went straight in, and there we said, this is where it’ll be. So we realised that was the bay. And then, by sheer accident, all our boats had collapsed the the ones we were going to use, so we decided to dive from the beach. We got to know a man called Jimmy Young, who was a descendant of the slaves from St. Helena who went and the other people who populate ascension apart from all fly in, fly out army people. Jimmy had been diving there for snorkelling and diving for over 50 years. And he had gone diving the week before we came and found that the seabed had totally cleared, Jimmy said he’d never seen this happen before. And while he was there, he picked up bits of pottery and stuff just where we’d said the ship was right hard on the beach. Crashing seas, so we went in where we worked it out and went in and set down a series of lanes for people, no GPS is in those days, you know, ships leads, out went  the  divers, Jeff Kimpton and John Lashma. On the second lane, we found the bell

     

    Sam Willis 

    Unbelievable finding the bells first thing you find

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Yep, and then a clam, claims don’t live on Ascension Island.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Did it have Roebuck on the bell?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    A broad arrow, a British broad arrow, we’ll get to identifying later, right. It was classic British Bell. Yeah, and what seemed to be some eroded canon’s, a clam Norwest clam, a giant clam, not from ascension. I know they don’t have any. And Dampier we know collected clams north of New Guinea. He called it Cockle Island, Shell Island, and he describes in his journal how we recovered giant cockles from 250 pounds to 20 pounds. And here we have one

     

    Sam Willis 

    How big is it?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    It’s about in my arms there, I can pick it up.

     

    Sam Willis 

    He’s circling his arms nice and wide, like he’s picking up a. dog.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Not too wide. Yeah, medium dog. And, and he picked these up. And when he ran his ship ashore, he knew he was gone. He ran to the shore. And since and since he drops his anchors, and then runs himself hard ashore, and then the ship sinks beneath him. He says, and then I got on a raft. And he took his journal, which was in bamboo, seal bamboo, and took it ashore with these men, gets ashore as the ship settles and silts up covering the upper deck. And this is in 1679. So he’s picked up a bit later he left in 1699, So we think Jimmy and us had found Dampier’s ship. And there it was so

     

    Sam Willis 

    I just loved this, just before you go on, though, the idea of him collecting the clams and him so desperate to save his journal, because he really was, you know, a man of science and really helped us understand so much about the natural world.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    I see him he’s way ahead of everyone that I’ve ever come across. And I don’t know all the great polymaths in the world at that time, of course, but he was extraordinary, a collector, a describer of humans and events and places. He wrote discourses on the tides, It just goes on and on what Dampier did. But he decides when he’s run ashore what is most important to me and he collects his journals, again, the sign of an intellect and then the clams and everything else that they’re in the hold down below in your ship. Now, I told you about the luck with the South East trades changing so we had the wind blow us in. But even greater luck than that a week later. Apparently, the sand came back and completely covered the site again, metres or feet of sand because I sent one of those books to Jimmy and as soon as we got home, but it wasn’t received. And one day this chap who’s doing a heritage study the island calls me says I’ve met Jimmy Young. I found this book in the administrators library which you didn’t inscribed to Jimmy Young, co finder of the Roebuck, and it wasn’t given to him. So I said can we arrange a virtual handover zoom by now in the virtual era? And Jimmy says to me says Mack, the week after you left the sand returned, so the sand uncovered the week before you came, his dive. You dive got the clam and the bell. And then the week after you left the sand came back again. And it’s never covered back since. This is 10 years after the event. So this is the most extraordinary luck which has been a part of my life. The luck follows me like a noonday shadow. It always has extraordinary luck. And then there is how we found Roebuck the ship, good luck and good management. And you would believe that when we came back home, we’re starting to really research as much as we can about Dampier and we wanted to find more about Roebuck because there’s very little written about the fifth rates. And that’s when another one of the strong links in my chain comes along. So my divers Jeff and John Wimmer there and, and researchers like Phillip Goddard or Felipe Goddard and others about where it was myself to but and then Bob Sexton. Firstly, Hannah Connolly from England who are asked to do a archive search for everything would find would you believe she found the contract for Roebuck, which had been lost forever in contracts and certificates as to the injured, the sick and the dead? Hospital records, contract for building one of the most famous exploration ships in the world. And so I was able to give this to Bob. And Bob, who’s our most noted heritage naval architect. He’s done clipper ships, he’s done the French exploration ships, done everything. He produced the line drawings for Roebuck. And then I had this chap, another bit of luck, Clive. Clive comes out of the woodwork, I want to build a model. What have you got for me? And this always happens to artists. Oh, got this there? Can you do this? Oh, I can do that. So then Clive makes this model.

     

    Sam Willis 

    I tell you what, we’re gonna go inside. And before we do that, let’s just talk about how did you identify the wreck?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Okay. I been the museum’s wreck inspector for 30 years. So my bread and butter, apart from all the excavations I’ve done. I know how to identify a ship where there is documentary and other evidence. And it’s actually not rocket science. But you go on things like fastenings, types of anchors, types of cannon which can be dated, things like ships bells, you do timber analyses, you know, cannons, for example, there’s just a glorious range of cannons, the armoury in Greenwich got ranges of cannon. All you do is you learn your topologies same with bottles, bottles, ceramics, and so on and so on. So you learn that and then you say this side here has these characteristics. Therefore we think it’s that so this is simply applied to Dampier’s ship. Firstly, a bell with a Pheon or Broad Arrow. There is no known Royal Navy ship lost on Ascension Island that had not been found bar Roebuck, that’s number one. Then so that gives and then you have numerous books on bells and stuff, which gives us the right dating for fifth rate. Fifth rates didn’t have name on them and all that stuff, though. Average type ship is the plant this one’s a plan to be burned. You know about the fireship. Yeah, so this is a fireship. Ship designed to be destroyed. Exactly. So there it is, Bell. Then the next thing is we find the clam and we know that clams don’t live there. So then we have to check the Americans who were there in World War Two. Would they have bought clams? You know, you’ve got to eliminate you gotta say possibly, but let’s get rid of it. So you had so possibly with Bell. Surely there are other bells? No. Clams. Okay. There’s Americans cutting stuff from all over China. were they eating clam meat? No. Do they grow here? No. Then we saw ceramics. Now Jimmy Young as I said that picked up ceramics. Magnificent blue and white we have bits of and we know that on the way back home, Dampier did call into Batavia where he acquired ceramics. And we got them looked at by Mike Flickers and these are Chinese ceramic. These are top quality Chinese ceramics that you pay good money for. Debbie was buying them. So there’s ceramics there. There was what we think are eroded guns which as I said, you can help date your guns. We did non disturbance we agreed to non-service with the administrator, Jeff Fairhurst. And so all these things all are and grapnels. It was the other glorious thing. When the three British ships come in, there’s Captain Dampier as they sit on the beach with these men so they go in and getting and they decided to pick up his anchors because they’re useful, you know? So, in one of the ship’s logs it says Captain Dampier came on board me, they use the word me for my ship, and I sent out a long boat to recover his anchor And in the getting of which we lost a grapple. Right. Okay. We find a grapple. Oh good. Oh, that line. Yeah. And now okay, that’s that doesn’t mean anything. But

     

    Sam Willis 

    These are things that we dropping down into the water and try hoping to hook the anchor.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    A little light hook tanky you having a rowing boat? Yeah. And you hook your cable, bring your cable on board. There’s the anchor, bring your vessels alongside, raise anchor between the two boats and row it back. Yeah, so they recovered his anchors from Roebuck. And remember those

     

    Sam Willis 

    There was quite a challenge raising a heavier two boats.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    They were good these blokes, so use the tide. So what you do, what you do is here’s your phone, I come along either side of your phone, which is on the seabed very heavy. I try and get cables under it. And then I tie it up really tight to my boat at the lowest of low tides. And, and on the high tide up it comes and I move in a bit. Today, you can do all sorts of things. These characters, the Dutch and the British, French, they were so good at managing heavy weights and stuff with their ship. And it may be they were able to get their ship in close. I don’t know if they’d risk this. But with the sou’west trades wind blowing hard off, you could go in close and winch it up on your cat head, could do it normally. All sorts of methods. So on the body of evidence, this is Roebuck. But what’s wonderful is it’s gone and covered itself under six feet of sand again, it’s there for the future. This extraordinary ship of this extraordinary man with this extraordinary collection. That’s the other enormous thing. This ship has a collection from Dampier’s voyage from England, all the way through to almost the barrier reef collecting all the way and describing an all the way back collecting in Batavia, lying at Ascension Island. Wow. So went to Jeff Fairhurst the administrator, lovely bloke. So we’ve as agreed we’d done an undisturbed survey, but you’ve got a bell sitting over there. And you’ve got a clam here and we worried they might get lost. But we agreed with the Admiralty and non-disturbance. And I believe in it fully. And nothing to leave the island except photographs and stuff. And even those will come back in original and stuff. And but I do suggest you see what consider raising this as the Queen’s representative and as the head of British government. And he gave it due consideration, and said, I want you to raise them on behalf of the British government. So we did so next day with the dive team from the island. Jimmy Young was there with us got beautiful photo of Jim, with us with the bell and stuff. And we raise the bell and the claim. And I said can we offer to take these to England to get conserved we sent them to the Mary Rose laboratories. Yeah, they conserve them. And they also made replicas for us. So the originals have gone back to the island. And we have a replica here we’ve sent a replica bell, Jeff Kimton to donated his replica to Broom. And, and the rest it stays all back there and they’ve got all the details that one day, someone’s going to follow us and what happened was we couldn’t work out why Roebuck sank offshore where it did, but offshore is a line of reefs like my fingers in my hand that come up to within the depth of Roebucks keel and that’s what it grounded on. And then when it sank, one of those would have penetrated the hull and it went down because the sand is much lower whereas the reef is in line with Roebucks bilge, so Roebuck is lying pinched on see my fingers she’s lying in pinched in there under the sand.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Just waiting to be discovered.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    I think that’s good. That’s correct really. Here’s this mob of colonials who have gone and found that this is a wreckage plume which is a classic triangle there’s the ship there’s the bits where is the actual ship itself the theory which one day someone is going prove is that it’s lying impaled on those rocks between those rocks. Because the earliest searchers when they couldn’t find it believe that after it hit and Dampier got off in a sinking state. The sea breeze, the sou’east trades came back again and blew it back into deep water but what they didn’t know was this mass of sand covered it in.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Well, let’s go and start to have a look at this model. Okay, so walking through the through the galleries, Past a cannon. And here is the magnificent model and the replica Bell and the replica clam. There it all is. Now let’s describe what we’re seeing here its a little diorama isn’t it?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Yes. Bob Sexton drew the ship based on every known fire ship and fifth grade ever made that he get his hands on. And the contract that Hannah Cunliffe had found for us in the hospital records. He then provided the lines, drawings, the classic stuff; you can see the quality of it. And Clive Gordon here, came to me one day and was looking for a job and he loves model making. He made others of good quality before. So I said, Clive, if we got Bob’s line drawings, could you do Roebuck for us? And he said yes. He started Roebuck according to these drawings by probably one of the world’s most eminent naval architects. So what we think therefore, is that if you believe Bob, which I do, we have here an authentic fire ship, fifth rate Here you see Robuck? Oh, sorry. Clive wanted to finish it with all its yards and spars and sails. And I said, Clive no, finish it at the top mast, because we don’t want attention going too high on the model. We want it to stay on the body of the model. And he said, No, I want to do the sails. Okay, fair enough, you’re the boss. We’re getting this for nothing sort of thing. But we didn’t know he was going to donate it at the time. Clive got to the stage where he raised all the masts right through to the top gallons, but none of the spars and yards and he died or is dying, and said I’d make up I’ve got to donate this to the museum. I would like to, but I want you to finish it for me, because I’ve done a bit of modelling rough stuff. And I said, Clive, I don’t know that I can finish it, because there’s an ethical issue. You have a model maker and then you have conservatives, repairers restorers, but leave will you leave it to me said I’ll trust you. So what I did was an cheated really because I got my way in the end, I presented his model on the hard sitting on those blocks, which you can see they’re ready to float away the minute the tide comes with the boats and the guns and the anchors ready to be lifted on board using the either the main sail, the main yard, which they used as like a crane and sending up everything onto the ship. And you see that I’ve only things I’ve done to clients model is added the running rigging for the for the cranes attached to the windlass there which allows you to work it and we’ve then there’s the sails going up. The sails here are suitably died using tanning, tea, barrels. I’ve done some spars, these are Clive’s boats, but added bits and pieces, and we’ve given impression of the river mud.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So it is a magnificent model in the sense that it’s a kind of a moment in time rather than just a beautiful model of a ship.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well, musicology is in my blood and I also this is a statement of mine, that you a museum needs to be alive. And the museum model is dead, sometimes it is too static. This is alive. And it’s that good. They you see here the gun ports to see the top ones here they raise up to see the bottom ones, they lower down. Now the reason for that is is that if you have the bottom gun ports that lift up and you set fire to your ship to put it through the Spanish or French fleet, and the fire catches the ropes, what does the gun port do? It shuts so

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    You can’t do that.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    And the other great thing is there is no wheel. The helmsman is sitting inside that little house with a with the glass and all he can see is the run of the main yard here, right and the captain tells him to keep that in such position. And so this this is a beautiful piece of work based on the research of Bob and Clive’s own wonderful skills

     

    Sam Willis 

    So yeah, it’s amazingly well decorated for fire ship.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well, if our ships were well decorated, this is where I was very surprised when Bob did his homework and and you’ll find that in the in the the magazine there is how well decorated they were despite them being disposable, the fire ship, but the fifth rate in itself was not a bad ship. Quite a useful ship in all sorts of lessons

     

    Sam Willis 

    describe the stern for us, can you for those who for those who can’t see it, I mean, it’s heavily decorated, carved in some beautifully painted red. I mean, and it’s a real statement of British naval power.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well, again, even in your most elementary ship, you want to state your power, don’t you? That’s why princes and queens and people like dress with all the gear, they don’t wander around in footy shorts and things. No. So you have numerous figures on the stern at the stern windows. And below it, you have other carvings on the rudder head, even, you have a right up top there, you have coats of arms. And of course, don’t forget, we have taken some liberties here based upon the research that that Bob did, of all the others. If you go to all your flagship models in the collections in England, you will see them all ordained with these glorious, painted or painted or varnished figures of which we have starting from Port to  starboard we have 123456 and eight, nine, and then below that even more, you know, and then you come around the captains quarters. You see, there’s an amazing lot of, of work there. You know, and then even these laurels

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, they’re very distinctive,

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    They appear on the ship, too. There’s no doubt about any coming through. Like a lot of you, your, your, your heads and stuff. They are carved and ornate not as much as the Vasa and the Mary Rose, and some of the great ships, Victory and things like that. But with certainty it’s a manifestation Sam, of power. Now, we don’t know for a minute that there was that lion figure, or these females at the side there. What we’ve had to do, and Clive and Bob is say, we think these ones would appear based upon what appeared over there.

     

    Sam Willis 

    And here we have the replica of the bell, can you describe what it was like when that finally broke the surface?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    Well, everything went wrong. Underwater with the boats didn’t work and all that. So we landed on the beach, and there’s a big swell, heavy undercut sand. And so I put in the water, a set of planks, to guide the divers out and stay on that on the way out and come in on this one on the way in and then going on that one on the way out. Just like fairleads for ships in navigation. Jeff and John, my two chief divers, they went out on the first one came back in on the second one out on the third. And then this yell went across the bay’ bell.’ And Jeff did as we always do hand up that he’s over the spot. And I have to tell you that it was chaos. There people jumping in half geared up carrying their tanks, fins. You know, it was a team of about eight of us three or four divers. It’s only in about 10 metres of water, 5/0 metres of water. And there was this bell lying on the reef. And you could see the hole in the end you couldn’t see the Broad Arrow this time. And Jeff, Jeff had the camera he photographed and I photographed him. And by the way, Ascension Island made stamps for the anniversary and there’s a picture one of the stamps is Jeff photographing his bell. Then the next day after Jeff Fairhurst said we can raise it, we very carefully raised it and brought it on board. And when we turned it over,

     

    Sam Willis 

    How do you do this quickly? How do you how do you raise a bell?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    First you assume it’s going to fall in a heap completely. You’d never just put a rope and do that. Sometimes you can if there’s something modern, but in the case like this went down and Jeff was getting a bit annoyed at me because I would take half an hour. Firstly excavated all the shells and stuff inside because it was on its side, not on its head like that. Pull them all out, put them in a bag, recorded them, and then underneath to make sure it’s not concreted to the seabed. And then once you realise it’s not concreted, I was then able to cradle it, and then swim up to the surface. And here we have a picture for example of the bell on the surface there. So there’s Jeff Kimpton with his bald head, that’s the bell as we saw it, now see the rocks, not a bit of marine growth, right? That tells you it’s just uncovered. I said there’s the clam again, Jeff no marine growth. And interestingly, when we lifted the clam out of the and put it on its back. The next wave that came through flipped it, meaning that the claim has actually come in from the wreak. Here’s my team.

     

    Sam Willis 

    It’s a wonderful photo. There’s this guy looks like a younger, better version of you.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    I would say much better looking but not better. No one would give us money for this. We have no allowances or anything. Jeff, John, Camelo, Melfi, our correspondent, we’re on the front page of Australian news for a week.  With this one and Rose de Freycinet ship in the Falklands, Hugh Edwards, our famous author, the Shire Shark Bay.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    What are we looking at here?

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    This is Uranie in the Falklands. So to get to Ascension, you had to go to the Falklands. You couldn’t just go to one. So we decided because the Story of Rose and Louis de Feycinet tonight at Shark’s Bay. She is the first woman to go around the world and tell her story. We decided we’d find that ship too, found that. And here’s the team. Where’s Jimmy? There is can you see Jimmy there? Yeah, beautifully spoken gentleman.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Very good. Well, listen this wonderful story, Mark. And thank you very much indeed for sharing it with me.

     

    Michael ‘Mack’ McCarty 

    My pleasure. Pity we haven’t got time for beer we’re doing another day.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Thank you all so much for listening. Now please don’t let this be the last thing that you do to interact with our fabulous podcast. Firstly, go to YouTube and find the Mariners Mirror podcasts YouTube page. It’s phenomenal. An ever growing library of some of the most extraordinary and innovative videos showcasing our maritime past in new ways. My current favourite is the clever use of artificial intelligence and digital artistry to bring ships figureheads to life, you simply won’t believe it until you see it. Please remember the podcast comes from both the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Society for Nautical Research. And please check out what both institutions are doing the Society for Nautical Research you can find at snr.org.uk, where you can join up it’s well worth doing a wonderful way to meet people and also learn about the maritime past from the world’s very best maritime historians. And the Lloyd’s Register Foundation you can find at hec.lr foundation.org.uk. Please be certain to search up their latest project maritime innovation in miniature, filming the world’s best ship models with the very latest camera equipment. It really is quite extraordinary.

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