Story behind Scammell plate

There was always something happening at the Quay. After a week of heavy scouring seas had eroded half the shore, and scoured the sand away from the rocks down near Point Danger, Keith Waddling and I paddled skis down there with our masks and snorkels in a bag. The sailing ship Scammell had been wrecked there about a hundred years ago, and bits and pieces of crockery from it, could still be seen jammed amongst rocks of the reef. A gleam from a piece of golden metal caught my eye. I called to Waddo and he held my ski while I dived down and pulled a large piece of gleaming brass to the surface. It was one of the Gudgeons which had held the Scammel’s Rudder. We kept diving and later found the brass cover for the Binnacle which had housed the ship’s compass. When we took it ashore and cleaned it, the name Scammell could still be seen embossed into the brass.

ODonnell-2 ODonnell-1

Waddo and I gave the Binnacle cover to Arnold Goetz a club mate, to take to Melbourne, where he knew people who could treat and preserve it. The Melbourne newspapers heard about this unusual find, and sent reporters down to do a story on our discovery. I was back working in Melbourne when they arrived, and my friends decided that they wouldn’t disappoint the newsman. Tubby Wallace donned flippers, and with face mask on top of head and big smile on face stood in for me alongside Waddo holding the parts we had found. The papers came out with feature articles with photos of Tubby and Waddo. Tubby had earned his nickname because, he was a good swimmer, but was always about three stone fatter than he should have been. When I next went to Torquay, and remarked that I wasn’t happy with my substitute. My mates kindly told me, “But we picked Tubby because he looks just like you.” With mates like that I hoped I didn’t have any enemies!

 

 

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