The iron frame of the ship collapsed in three decades ago, and much of the remains are hidden under water. Wild weather in recent weeks in Innes National Park exposed the Ethel remains, an extremely rare event.
There are several shipwrecks in the Innes National park waters, and two of them are closely linked – the SS Ferret and Ethel.
The Ethel wreck was reported by SS Ferret in Adelaide on the 4th January 1904, but attempts to free the Ethel failed and she was totally lost. All that remains today are some parts of her iron hull rusting away on the beach as a memorial – the picture here.
Here comes the interesting part: SS Ferret sank just a few meters away from Ethel almost two decades later, in 1921. The remains of the Ethel was used to secure a lifeline to rescue the crew. Her boiler used to be on the sand just meters away from the Ethel – it disappeared two years ago, after a strong storm.
The Ferret’s crew managed to reach the shore but the Steamer’s cargo was a tempting one – grog. The booze never reached Adelaide. It’s said that many workers at the nearby gypsum mines suddenly took a strong interest in fishing the barrels washing on the beach. I know I didn’t see any barrels on the beach, sign that a thorough job has been done by these Aussies.