Surveyor's Map Uncovers Mystery

The wreck of the American Whaling Ship, the Samuel Wright, wrecked on the beach at Koombana Bay in 1840, provided the resident surveyor, Henry Mortlock Ommanney, with an interesting reference point for the surveying of the original Bunbury town allotments which he was pegging in 1841-42. His detailed work has only come to light recently through the research of retired Surveyor Ray Parks, who was able to decipher the early surveyor’s unusual method of field note keeping in those days, termed the “Column Form” method. Consequently Ommanney’s detailed topographic map enabled the mast of the Samuel Wright to be pin-pointed as well as identifying the land area suitable for subdivision of the new town. Furthermore the information gained from Ommanney’s work has aided archaeologists in finding the wreck and confirming its origins. The wreck of the Samuel Wright is among the many seafaring stories that can be discovered at the Museum’s most recent exhibition “SUBMERGED".