Local history, Local stories....The Foundering of the Inflexible


Just after midnight on the morning of Monday 26 August 1889, Charles Goard, master of the harbour steam tug, Inflexible, steered his ship out from Lavender Bay on a course towards Coalcliff in search of inward-bound sailing vessels requiring a tow. 
All was well until 3:30am when the Inflexible, now 10 miles off the ‘Sisters Rocks’ to the south of Port Hacking, pitched in the lumpy sea and fell heavily into a trough with a hard jolt. Alarmed by the shock, Captain Goard, who had been lying below in his berth, jumped up on deck to ascertain the cause of the abrupt bump, but as the steamer hadn’t collided with anything obvious and appeared to have escaped unharmed, the captain soon returned to his bunk and the Inflexible continued on her passage.
Suddenly, at 5:30am a tremendous rush of steam and loud hissing from the engine room sent the fireman rushing to raise all hands. Water was streaming in towards the furnaces and heated boiler and, fearing a blow up, he tried to rake out the flames. This was no easy task and by the time the fireman had finished hauling out the last of the blaze, he was waist deep in water.
The Inflexible’s crew of six worked desperately at the donkey and hand pumps, but with the water gaining at the rate of 1ft every 15 minutes in a shallow vessel of just 8ft, there wasn’t a second to lose. After half an hour at the pumps Captain Goard saw no alternative but to order all to abandon the foundering ship.
For the next 45 minutes the crew stood by in the lifeboat and watched as the doomed Inflexible gradually sank, stern first, below the angry chopping waves. There was no time to save any effects other than the compass and glasses.
It was then that the crew noticed some large pieces of timber , some 60 – 70ft long , floating in the water and it was supposed that this may have been the wreckage the ship had fallen upon as it crashed in the waves causing the fateful crack in the bottom of the steamer directly under the foremast.
The Inflexible gone, the men now found themselves alone on the rough seas 12 miles from shore. They pulled in a north-westerly direction, trying to pick up with the collier, the Governor Blackall, but the dark and squally night prevented them being seen. There was nothing for it but to turn their dinghy and row towards shore. Finally, seven hours later and drenched to the skin with rain and saltwater, the crew pulled in safely to Port Hacking where they were met by Mr Springall, proprietor of the Oriental Hotel, who ensured that Captain Goard and his crew were ‘most hospitably entertained.’
This, however, was not quite the end of the story.
The following week, members of the Inflexible’s crew, which had included William Langstone (engineer), Thomas Halstead (the fireman – nephew to the owner), Duncan McDonald (fireman), Thomas Holmes (mate), Ralph Thompson (deck hand), and Charles Goard (master), were called up before the Marine Board for an inquiry into the foundering of the steam tug, the cause of which the insurance company believed was ‘enshrouded in mystery’. Not only had the amount covering the Inflexible been raised from £3000 to £6000 just three months prior to its sinking - with no special survey conducted of the vessel - but the owner, Mr James Halstead, had visited the Commercial Union Insurance Company several times in the preceding weeks in connection with the steam tug. Just three days before it sank, Mr Halstead had again visited the CUIC office to make enquiries into whether the company would cover the Inflexible on a projected trip to Melbourne. There were even allegations from a previous commander of the Inflexible, a William Jewell, that Mr Halstead had once instructed him to “take her outside and sink her.” The curiously named Dr Sly, who was appearing on behalf of the master and owner of the vessel, objected strongly to this evidence.

After deliberation, the Marine Board found the Inflexible had sunk after unaccountably springing a leak which caused her to founder, and there was no evidence with which they could charge the captain, Charles Goard, with default.

Be Safe Online these Holidays

Do you know who can see your child’s online profile?
How can you manage cyber bullying?
What do trolls have to do with the internet?

School holidays are a great opportunity for the family to indulge themselves and spend more time than usual on online pursuits. Whether it's keeping in touch with friends, Christmas shopping online, uploading and organising photos or gaming, personal security is important.

Test your knowledge of how to best protect yourself and your family by using the brand new course Learning Internet Safety, available via Computer Training Online.


The course starts from the basics with online browsing and email issues eg. Phishing scams, dangerous attachments, suspicious links etc - and so is great for informing new online device users (older parents, younger children) of the need for caution.

It looks at social media sites. Each one has different security controls and they can be confusing. Even if you think you are sharing information privately, that may not be the case, so to protect your privacy, safety and reputation, our most private information address phone number and date of birth should never be shared. Find out what else you should know.
There is a session on purchasing online and what to keep in mind, to make sure you are being as secure with your credit card details as you can possibly be. Don't end up paying for something that never arrives, learn how to pick a reputable selling site.
What exactly constitutes Cyberbullying? and what is the best way to mange it if it is happening to your child? Personal attacks are not welcome especially when they can come at any time of the day or night. Being aware of how to deal with them effectively may shorten their lifespan and so lessen the impact.
Could the replies you are posting to that chatroom be seen as Trolling?

Learning Internet Safety provides a total of 20 short (5 - 10 minute) presentations on all things security online. Suitable for 8 - 88 year olds. If you are really keen to know that you now know it all, there are 6 assessments you can test yourself with. Why not try them first to find out what you need to brush up on!

Computer Training Online offers the following hands-on short format courses:
Learning Internet Safety - 20 lessons and 6 assessments
Mobile Devices - Intro to Android and iPad
Photography - Simple and Advanced Concepts
Windows 10 Training
Introductory Computer Training
Office 2010 Training
Windows Training - Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
Social Networking Training - Twitter, Facebook and Blogging
Office 2007 Training and Testing
Intro to E-Learning

Register for your own account and have your progress tracked so you always know where you are up to.

November Reads

The girl from Venice/ Martin Cruz Smith
Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble.

Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the Wehrmacht SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon.

The Girl from Venice is a thriller, a mystery, and a retelling of Italian history that will take your breath away. Most of all it is a love story.

 Mercury/ Margot Livesey
A tense, psychological drama and a taut emotional thriller about love, obsession, and the deceits that pull a family apart.
Donald believes he knows all there is to know about seeing. An optometrist in suburban Boston, he is sure that he and his wife, Viv, who runs the local stables, are both devoted to their two children and to each other. Then Mercury—a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past—arrives at Windy Hill and everything changes.
Mercury’s owner, Hilary, is a newcomer to town who has enrolled her daughter in riding lessons. When she brings Mercury to board at Windy Hill, everyone is struck by his beauty and prowess, particularly Viv. As she rides him, Viv begins to dream of competing again, embracing the ambitions that she had harbored, and relinquished, as a young woman. Her daydreams soon morph into consuming desire, and her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession.
Donald may have 20/20 vision but he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed and how these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. By the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv’s ambitions and his own myopia.

Normal/ Graeme Cameron
The truth is I hurt people. It's what I do. It's all I do. It's all I've ever done." He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him. What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will--one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal...and it works. Perfectly. Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room...the others--he doesn't need any of them anymore. He only needs her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem--he still has someone trapped in his garage. Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.

Orphans of the Carnival/ Carol Birch
A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hidden. Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor's ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast, to be hidden from children and pregnant women. But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day south London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives will connect in unforgettable ways.

 Cross Talk/ Connie Willis
 In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal--to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely--in a way far beyond what she signed up for. It is almost more than she can handle--especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize love--and communication--are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

Smoke and mirrors/ Elly Griffiths
Brighton, winter 1951. Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max's headlines have been stolen by the disappearance --of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it's not long before the press nickname them 'Hansel and Gretel'. DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms' fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie's unfinished - and rather disturbing - last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime? Once again Edgar enlists Max's help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?

Today will be different/ Maria Semple
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action--life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office--but not Eleanor--that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. A hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

The hating game/ Sally Thorne
For Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, executive assistants to the CEOs of newly merged Bexley-Gamin Publishing, it's hate-at-first-sight. So begins a series of daily passive-aggressive manoeuvres, including the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin, and both their bosses put their names up for the promotion. Then, the high-stakes games begin! After another 60-hour work week, Lucy logs off her computer and hops on the elevator to head home, as does Joshua. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a kiss on her, and Lucy begins to wonder if she really does hate Joshua after all, or if this is yet another game.

The book that matters most/Ann Hood
Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood--one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives

Nutshell/ Ian McEwan
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home—a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse—but John’s not there. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Community Survey 2016

Sutherland Shire Libraries launched a community survey in May 2016 to help plan for the future. The survey was open for four weeks and received nearly 2000 responses.

This infographic summarises the overall response from the public. Thank you to everyone who gave us their feedback we are using this in the development of Sutherland Shire Libraries' Business Unit Plan, Delivery Program and Operational Plan.


Stories from the stacks...November

While searching the Library catalogue you may have encountered a book listed as available at Sutherland Stack Fiction.

These are a collection of books which are housed behind the scenes at Sutherland Library - items that the Library definitely wants to keep, but for some reason (e.g. older condition, or not in as high demand) the open shelf is not the right place for them. 


Here are six recently returned books from this collection...




Forty Fathoms deep/ Ion Idriess
Burr Gire Vidal/ Gore Vidal
Hornblower and the Atropos /C.S Forrester
The Cheiro Book Of Fate And Fortune : Palmistry, Numerology, Astrology/ Cheiro
The collector/ John Fowles
Mother Night/ Kurt Vonnegut
National Velvet/ Enid Bagnold