M.V. Hobart Star aground Port Melbourne in 1963 after being torn from its moorings at inner east
Station Pier by a sudden violent storm. Graeme Reid
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by Rob Randle
4th February 2007, 18:36
I was first trip cadet in the Hobart star in 1963 when she went aground in Port Melbourne.The ship was bethed on either Princes or Station pier (I can't remember which is which now) and we were working cargo at night (very unusual for Aus.). A freak storm blew up in the early hours and blew the ship off the wharf, before anything could be done the after mooring lines parted and the ship swung round with the head lines still in tact and grounded on the foreshore between the two piers. If I remember rightly we got afloat about 5 days later after discharging 2,000 tons of lead we'd loaded in Port Pirie and with the aid of Five tugs and our main engine. No Damage. This was at the time of the John Profumo Christine Keeler scanal, the Aussie wharfies renamed the ship the "Keeler Star", with the explaination "They found her lying between two piers. Has anyone, maybe some one down under got a photo of the ship aground?
5th February 2007, 12:15
I remember that time well. The grounding kept the locals amused for a few days as the beach road was close by and the ship not 50 yards off. She had been berthed at Inner East Princes Pier when a squall swung her around. The evening she was refloated, the tugs were pulling for all their worth and Hobart Star's engines were going full astern with the propellor thrashing away. A loud cheer went up from the spectators when she moved off.
5th February 2007, 20:36
I was cadet on her the next voyage and we still known as the "Keeler Star" in Port Melbourne!
7th February 2007, 22:41
The tugs certainly were pulling for all they were worth. we had both ends of our "insurance wire" (the strongest wire rope in the ship) out to two of the tugs, and after we were refloated the wire was almost flattened where they went through the panama fairleads aft. Health and safety would love that risk now. I am revisiting Aussie in a few weeks I will go to Port Melbourne to see the piers. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
22nd February 2007, 06:40
I was on the Hobart Star when we had that experience. Actually the lead had been loaded at Risdon in Tassie. Masters name was H. G. Moon (I think he married into the Vestey Family) and I sailed with him the following voyage on the Rhodesia Star.
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