1. From: Dictionary of Disasters in the Age of Steam
The iron barque Lizzie Bell, Captain J Rees, left Wellington for Newcastle NSW, in ballast, on 24 July 1901. The weather was fine with favourable winds when, at about 11 pm, with all sail set and running at 12 knots, the vessel struck on a rock a mile or two distant from the mouth of the Oeo river.
So violent was the crash that two of the crew were flung overboard on to the rocks below and killed. There seemed to have been difficulties with the boats, and only one is mentioned as having been available for the crew. This boat capsized twice, drowning six men, while four other occupants died from exposure, making a loss of 12 from a complement of 18. The captain was among the survivors, all of whom suffered terribly from exposure.
2. Shares: Peter Iredale of Liverpool 64/64 - 26.11.1877
3. From: New Zealand Shipwrecks
LIZZIE BELL, barque:
When bound from Wellington to Newcastle, in ballast the vessel was totally wrecked on Waimate Reef, a mile and a half south of the Oco River, Taranaki, on the night of July 24, 190I. Twelve members of the crew were lost out of a total complement of 18, those saved including the master, mate, two seamen, and two apprentices. The scene of the wreck was close to where the schooner Annie Wilson and the steamer Marramarra were wrecked.
The Lizzie Bell sailed from Wellington on July 24, and had favourable winds. About 11 p.m. the vessel had all sail set and was travelling at the rate of l2 knots. The weather was fine, but cold, and there was a slight haze. Suddenly the barque struck a rock about a mile or two from the mouth of the Oco River. Two of the crew fell overboard, and were found dead, jammed in among the rocks The crew immediately left the vessel, and they had a trying experience before the boat capsized. It was righted, however, and drifted before the wind and the current. Later the boat was again overturned, six of the men being caught underneath and drowned before it could be righted. The survivors were almost perished with the cold, and lost all count of time and position. Early next morning the more vigorous survivors found themselves on the rocks below Captain Goodís property. They made their way to the captainís house, and sought help. During the night two of the men died in the boat, and two who had reached the shore safely were dead when the rescuers arrived.
A Magisterial Inquiry into the wreck of the Lizzie Bell was opened at New Plymouth on July 30. The master said that the barque was well found in every respect when she left Wellington. The compasses were adjusted at sea between Dunedin and Wellington. The steering compass was affected by the iron of the vessel. The ship had a narrow escape on the Ninety Mile Beach when making for Port Chalmers. but it was due to the gale and not to the faulty compasses. He never left the deck from the time the ship cleared Wellington. There was an error of about 2 1/2 points between the steering compass and the pole compass. At Stepton Island the log was 15 miles out, which he accounted for by stiffness. Unless the compass was in error or a strong current existed he could not account for the shipís position. The master was of the opinion that had he held on to the wreck until daylight all hands would have been saved. The court, after a very exhaustive and lengthy inquiry. gave its finding of the wreck of the Lizzie Bell on August S. The court found that the course, as stated by the captain, was not steered, and that the loss of the barque was occasioned by negligent navigation The masterís certificate was suspended for 12 months, and he was ordered to pay £25 towards the cost of the inquiry.
The Lizzie Bell, No. 78,731, was an iron barque of I ,070 tons gross register, built at Sunderland in 1877 by R. Thompson, and her dimensions were: length 214.5 ft., beam 34.4 ft., depth 21.3 ft. The barque was owned by Messrs. Iredale and Porter, of Liverpool, where she was registered, and under the command of Captain John Rees.