30 Years of ..... Take me to The Islander!



MAY 2001. To mark the 30th Anniversary of 'The Islander' paper Sylvia Henry (pictured right), who is the second longest serving member of The Islander, was chosen to cut the ribbon and offically declare the exhibition open. The longest serving member, Mrs Raxa Sukhtanker, was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony.


MARCH 2001 - DIVERS from the West Australian Maritime Museum have discovered English explorer William Dampier's Roebuck - lost at Ascension Island in 1701. The historic find at Clarence Bay follows the recovery of a bell, grappling hooks, anchors and a giant clam believed to have been collected by the famous natural scientist and buccaneer when he visited the west coast of Australia in 1699. The badly corroded bronze bell has a hole on one side and is inscribed with the broad arrow used by all British Admiralty-owned ships such as His Majesty's Ship Roebuck. With the help of local islanders and British and American divers, the priceless artefact was raised at the weekend from 5m of water about 100m from the shore at Long Beach. (Picture and text courtesy of West Australia News / Carmelo Amalfi)


BACKGROUND......William Dampier, buccaneer, explorer and Admiralty Hydrographer, was wrecked at Ascension in 1701 after a voyage of exploration to the Far East. His leaky vessel, H.M.S Roebuck, put into Ascension for repair, but the carpenter's mate only managed to enlarge the hole and the ship was driven up onto the beach. Dampier and his crew were obliged to abandon the vessel and reached the shore with few provisions and negligible fresh water. She then is presumed to have broken up due to the action of the rollers. It is said that the small drip or spring, which saved their lives, was discovered when they followed a goat to it, but Dampier's personal memoirs do not mention this. They fail also to mention the so-called Dampier's Treasure for which many generations of Ascensionites have searched. The shallow stone cave, which Dampier and his crew are supposed to have occupied, can be seen below the Residency cliffs. Dampier says that they lived on landcrabs, boobies and goats before being rescued by passing East Indiamen some weeks later. Modern theories about the Dampier visit tend to point to Breakneck Ravine as being the site of the fortuitous spring. Prior to the discovery of the bell in March 2001 at Clarence Bay, no trace of H.M.S. Roebuck had ever been found, and South West Bay was thought to have been the most likely site of the wreck.

Society Philatelist heads back to UK: "We'll be back!"

MARCH 2001 - Society stamp man Neil MacFall and his wife Sue, also a stalwart of the Society, have sailed off into retirement vowing to return. The Society is grateful for the immense amount of work that both Neil and Sue have done, and very much hopes to see them again in the near future.




Last revised on the 1st of September 2002. For any comments or questions about the Society and its work, or this website, please e-mail us via this link in Ascension.