View of Fishery Beach (Photo: Jody Steele and Tim Owen)
Aerial photograph of Fishery Bay Station site (Courtesy: Mapland)
Haynes disappeared while on a voyage aboard Sophia Jane with his headsman, George McGeehan, and several others when it was wrecked 80 kilometres south of the Murray Mouth. Their bodies were never recovered, and it is believed that they were buried by local Indigenous people.
The whaling station changed ownership several times after this. Mr. Jacob Baker, a partner in whaling operations at Encounter Bay, purchased the fishery and its accessories at auction in April 1845 for £126. In 1851 there is a report of the station being owned by Mr. Barnett, and managed on his behalf by Mr. Clark.
In 1851 Mr. Clark was accompanied by his wife to the station.
The best description of the site comes from a travelling journalist who
visited the site in December 1850. Mr. Clark was away but:
(South Australian Register April 25 1851, p.3)
Fishery Bay was reused in the 1860s after the McLeod Brothers
of Cape Jervis established the Talisker Silver Mine in 1862. The McLeods
built a treatment works at Fishery Bay in 1863. The plant consisted of
a 12 horse power steam engine, a boiler and a crusher. When Captain W.
Price took on the management of the mine in 1864 he began construction
of treatment works at the mine site and the plant at Fishery Bay fell into
disuse. Fishery Bay was, however, still used by the mining operation as
a port to ship the silver and lead (Williams 1985:47-49).
Pre Disturbance Survey
On the 20th and 21st of October 2000 a group of volunteers and staff from Flinders University conducted a pre disturbance survey at Fishery Beach, Cape Jervis. The aim of this survey was to determine if a mound and line of stones, noted by Terry Arnott from Heritage SA, could be the remains of the Clark's hut. To determine this the team were looking for several factors. Firstly, did the site fit the description of its location given by the travelling journalist? Secondly, were there artefact scatters that could be related to whaling? Lastly, was there any other evidence to suggest that the site was that of the Clark's hut rather than being related to the later operations of the Talisker Mine?
The crew found answers to all these questions that suggested
that the site probably was the Clark's hut. Given the sloping nature of
the area the site was located in the only place that matched the journalists
description. The hut was located on a rise with a smaller rise behind it
for the garden (figure 1).
The crew also surveyed the area looking for artefacts.
They found some bricks, slag and a bottle base (figure 3). At least one
of the bricks can be positively connected to the whaling station as it
was partly burnt and smelt of whale blubber (figure 2). When they found
an artefact the crew plotted its location with a total station, which electronically
measures degrees, distances and angles. The remains of the hut and structures
from the mine along with features like the creek, power transformer and
track were also plotted to show where these features were in relation to
each other (figure 4).
A closer inspection of the remains of the hut visible
on the surface showed that they were made of slate taken from the beach.
Structures from the Talisker mine still evident were all made of limestone.
The variation in building materials gives an indication that the structures
were build by different people. Miners invested more effort into the structures
they built as they expected to be there for a long time. Whalers, on the
other hand, put in less effort because they did not know whether the whaling
station was going to be a success and, therefore, how long they were going
to be there for. Limestone took more time to collect and build with than
did the beach slate used on the hut site. The different building material
and construction techniques used on the mining structures and the site
under investigation may indicate these differences. This was taken as further
evidence that the hut was probably that of the Clark's.
From the 5th to the 10th of December the group visited
again, this time to excavate the possible hut site. Over the five days
four trenches of varying sizes were excavated (figure 6). Three of these
revealed foundations of the hut. The fourth, a mound, was discovered to
be a natural feature and the trench was abandoned.
Excavations in Trench 1 revealed the remains of a slate
and stone hearth (figure 7) and a small alcove where tools for the fire
were kept. Sitting inside the hearth was a 19th Century brick.
Mortar was found in between some of slabs of slate, perhaps providing them
with a base.
Two parallel lines of stones run out to the west from
the hearth, through Trench 4, suggesting that they were foundations for
a wall (figure 8). A gap of 10 cm separates them. It is believed
that the timber slabs would have sat inside this gap and the stones abutting
them would have provided stability for the walls.
In Trench 3 and 3a were a series of six post holes.
These consist of circular deposits of tiny river stones, mainly quartzite,
and sandy soil, most likely placed around a post to fill the hole back
in and hold the post upright (figure 9). These posts were probably
used to support the roof of the hut, which was probably thatched.
There were not many artefacts found considering the size of the area excavated. Artefacts found included:
The small number of artefacts can be attributed to three factors. Firstly, the difficulties of supply, the station was very isolated. Secondly, there was a high level of curation of ceramics and glass vessels. Lastly Mrs. Clark was indeed very neat and disposed of waste a long way from the hut.
'Sketches of the Present State of South Australia. No. XI. - Cape Jervis', South Australian Register, 25 April 1851, p.3
Kostoglou, P. and McCarthy, J. 1991.
Whaling and Sealing Sites in South Australia, Australian Institute for
Maritime Archaeology, Special Publication No:6, p39-40.
By Susan Briggs, Chris Lewczak, Rebecca O'Reilly
and Cassandra Philippou