Tasmanian Seafarers' Memorial

Howard Cotton and Fred Coote (1889)

Howard and Fred CottonThe Foam sailed from 'Earlham', near Rheban to Spring Bay (Triabunna) on Boxing Day December 27th 1889, where the two crewmembers, Howard Cotton and Fred Coote slept the night at Mr Salmon's 'Woodstock' property, before leaving at 5 am the next morning (28th) to return to Mr John Cotton’s property 'Earlham'. Although sighted about half way home, Foam was not seen again.

The men were not missed until Saturday night as their friends thought they had reached home, while Mr Cotton thought that they had prolonged their stay at Spring Bay. A message sent to Spring Bay revealed their disappearance and a search was immediately undertaken.

Messrs Radcliff and Bresnehan searched the shore of the bay and Mr McGrath, with a crew of volunteers, searched Maria Island, Long Point and McLoughlin's Island.

Messrs, Burgess and Bernacchi also sent their steamer, the Endeavour, to help in the search, and word was sent to Captain Johnson of the steamer Myall to keep a good look out as he came down the coast.

Many others joined in the search as both youths were much respected and liked. A boat seat found on an island between Spring Bay and Swansea was thought to belong to the missing boat. It was feared that a squall had struck the Foam, causing it to sink with both occupants being drowned.

Howard Cotton, aged 23, was the son of Mr and Mrs John Cotton of Earlham. A notation on a document held at the UTAS Archives stated 'lost on way back from regatta'.

Fred Coote aged 17 years, was the son of the Hon. Audley Coote MLA and Mrs Coote.

Reference: The Hobart Mercury: Dec. 31 1889, p2.


THE MERCURY. HOBART: TUESDAY, DEC. 31, 1889. EPITOME OF NEWS.

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954) Tuesday 31 December 1889 p 2

THE MERCURY.

HOBART TUESDAY, DEC 31, 1889 .

EPITOME of news.

The two youths supposed to be drowned by upsetting of boat in Spring Bay, are Howard Cotton, son of Mr John Cotton and Fred Coote, son of the Hon. Audley Coote, M.L.A.


Boating Fatality - We yesterday published a telegram stating that two young men left Spring Bay in about for Earlham on Friday morning, but had not reached there A search crew went out on Sunday morning to Maria Island, where the steamer Endeavour was placed at their disposal. The whole coast along to Long Point, Lachlan Island, Rheban, and Pengana beaches was searched, but no traces of them have yet been discovered. Further particulars confirm the apprehension that two valuable young lives have been lost.

It appears that Howard Cotton, son of Mr. Cotton , and Fred Coote, son of the Hon Audley Coote, M L A, sailed in a boat called The Foam from Earlham to Spring Bay on Boxing Day, and after sleeping that night at Mr Salmons, of Woodstock, they left at 5 am next day to return to Mr Cotton's place. At the time they left a stiff breeze was blowing, but their boat was seen by some one on shore apparently sailing safely about midway from point to point. Since then no signs of the boat or of the two young men have been seen. They were not missed until Saturday night, as the friends they had left naturally thought they had got home safely, while Mr. Cotton , as they did not arrive during Friday, naturally thought they were prolonging their stay at Spring Bay. At last, getting weary, a message was sent to the Bay to get news of them, and it then became evident that the two youths were lost. Search was instantly made. Messrs Radcliff und Bresnahan searched the shore of the bay, and Mr McGrath got a crew together, and with commendable promptitude pulled across to Maria island, Long Point, and McLoughlin's Island in the hope of finding the missing ones at one or the other of these places.

Messrs Burgess and Bernacchi also sent their steamer, the Endeavour, to help in the search, and word was sent to Captain Johnson, of the steamer Myall, to keep a good look out as he came down the coast. All the people of the district who could in any way be of service have joined in the search and quite a gloom has been cast over the district, as both youths were much respected and liked. It is feared that a squall struck the boat and she sunk under it, and both occupants were drowned. A later telegram received by the Hon. A. Coote yesterday, said -"A seat of a boat has been found on a small island between here and Swansea supposed to belong to the missing boat, and the steamer has been sent to search all round again.


REVIEW OF THE YEAR 1889.

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954) Wednesday 1 January 1890 p 3

On Boxing Day, Howard Cotton , son of Mr Fred. Cotton , and Fred Coote, son of the Hon. Audley Coote, M.L.C., sailed in an open boat called the Swan from Earlham to Spring Bay . They slept that night at Woodstock , and sailed for Mr. Cotton's the following day, and have since not been heard of. There is little doubt a sad fatality has occurred, as search has discovered a portion of the boat in which they sailed.