Tasmanian Seafarers' Memorial

C. C. Funk (1898)

The plaque reads ...

C.C. FunkC.C. Funk
American barquentine, Catpain Nissen,
his wife, 2 children, 8 crew on board
from Puget Sound, USA for Melbourne
with cargo of 600,000 ft of timber
In storm 31.07.1898 driven onto
Beagle Spit, Flinders Is. All washed
overboard - only 2 crewmen survived

The wreck of the C. C. Funk occurred off Flinders Island on July 31, 1898, in the early morning. The ill-fated vessel was an American barquentine, from Puget Sound, bound for Melbourne, with a cargo of 600,000 ft. of timber, in command of Captain Nissen.

There were 13 souls on board, including the captain's wife and two children, aged five and eíght years old.

The vessel had a rough voyage, and when 70 days out, breakers were sighted off the north-east of Flinders Island. It was early morning, and in a few minutes, owing to the terrible gale and the currents, the vessel was soon driven broadside onto Beagle Spit, Flinders Island.

The impact broke her up. Swept by heavy seas, all hands were forced into the rigging. The boats were swung out but were washed away, the second officer being severely injured in the process. The vessel broke up rapidly and when the masts went over the side all were washed overboard.

Only two of the crew managed to struggle ashore and were later found by a hunter who led them to the settlement. No sign was seen of those lost after the vessel broke up. All those on board the doomed vessel were either Germans or Swedes.

The Launceston Examiner reported on Saturdau, August 20th, 1898 at page 9 the following.

WRECK OF THE C. C. FUNK. A BODY IDENTIFIED. A GRUESOME SIGHT. HOLDING T'HE INQUEST. VERY LITTLE WRECKAGE LEFT.

Yesterday afternoon the cutter Coogee arrived in port from Flinders Island, and Captain J. Holt, when interviewed by an "Examiner" representative, supplied some additional particulars regarding the wreck of the barkentine C. C. Funk.

Mr. Holt said that the body which was washed ashore on Wednesday, the 10th. inst., was subsequently identified by the survivor, Albert Krough, as Peter Neilson, a seaman. The body presented a gruesome spectacle, only one patch of hair being left on the head, and nearly all the clothes torn off. Deceased's belt and sheath knife were on the body, but had worked up under the arms.

An inquest was held by Mr. Ferguson (Coroner) and a jury of seven, on Thursday, when evidence as to the wreck was given by Krough, who stated that owing to the dirty weather prevailing before day light on the morning of July 31 the breakers were not observed until the ship was among them. An attempt was immediately made to put the ship about, but it was too late, and she was driven high up on the beach. It was the biggest sea he had even seen, and he said that the escape of himself and his mate Peterson was a very pro vidential one. They were both washed overboard, and by grasping some tim ber they were carried ashore, after being some considerable time in the water.

Messrs. Brown and Edmonston, who discovered the body about three miles north from where the wreck occurred, also gave evidence. The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."

After the inquest the body was buried, the Coroner reading a short service.

Captain Holt states that he left the scene of the wreck on the 12th inst., and what appeared to be two bodies could be seen in time kelp about 200 yards seaward, but, owing to the very heavy surf breaking on the shore, it was impossible to get anywhere near the spot.

A quantity of children's clothing has been washed up on the beach, and was no doubt some which belonged to Captain Nesson's two children.

When Captain Holt left the scene of the wreck all that remained belonging to the ship was portion of a deck house and the donkey engine.

The beach was strewn with timber, but a considerable quantity has been washed out to sea. In Captain Holt's opinion a good deal more will be swept away by the seas, and very little will be left when it is put up for sale.

With regard to recovering the timber remaining on the beach, the skipper says that the work would be very difficult, and a boat might be three months in getting one load. If a spell of fine weather was experienced, the work might be done in far less time; but the rollers were always heavy at that spot, which made salvage work dangerous and slow.