Archibald Currie & Co. of Melbourne Skipper: Capt. Sievwright
Iron clinker built
22 July 1878
441 tons length 46.9m beam 8.6m draft 4.6m
The wreckage from the James Service lies in 3–4 m of water and is scattered over an area approximately 55 m long by 12 m wide, with the main axis of the keel running about east-west, with the bow pointing west. While much of the plating has disappeared many of the frames are still clearly visible. The bow, canted to starboard, has collapsed but the bowsprit is still in place. The stern, which is in better condition, lies on a sandy bottom in 10 m of water, and rises to within 3 m of the surface. Part of the steering gear is visible, as are some of the masts, a winch and various ship’s fittings.
1869 by Dobie & Co., Govan, Scotland
Five Fathom Bank, Murray River Area
In July 1878, when James Service departed Penang, ten passengers, all members of a theatrical group bound for Melbourne, and a crew of ten including the captain, were aboard. The cargo consisted of 3 000 cases of castor oil, 1000 bales of sack bags and 600 bales of jute. The vessel headed southward from Penang to round Cape Leeuwin, a course that should have taken it several hundred miles off the Western Australian coast. As there were no survivors of the wrecking which occurred on the 23rd July 1878, the events that led to James Service being broken in two on the Murray Reef can only be surmised from circumstantial evidence.
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