A Little Touch of Paradise
Hamelin Bay is in the heart of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in Western Australia's South West Region. About 30kms south
of Margaret River the bay was once the shipping hub of the Karridale timber industry. The ruins of
the jetty can still be found along the foreshore. The bay also includes reefs, white sandy beaches, tiny
islands,a small lake, a boat ramp, a camping area shaded by Peppermint trees (which was previously the site
of the timber yards) and the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park which has on-site accomodation.The bay is protected from the south by
Hamelin Island but is virtually unprotected from storms coming off the Indian Ocean. The area is also well
known for its friendly stingrays . These creatures often come in close to the boat ramp to feed from the
scraps left by fishermen. They are also quite inquisitive and like to swim near and sometimes with
snorkellers. Beware, however, as stingrays can deliver a painful sting if stepped on.
Brief HistoryThe first Europeans to have explored the area were believed to be the
Dutch, in 1622. Having sighted the southwestern tip in 1622 they named it 't Landt van de Leeuwin', meaning
land of the lioness. It was Matthew Flinders in 1801, who gave the name Cape Leeuwin to the southwestern tip.
Hamelin Bay was named in honour of Captain Hamelin who explored the coast in his ships, Naturaliste and
Geographe, in the early 19th century.
Hamelin Bay Jetty Hamelin Bay Jetty was built in 1882 by the M.C.Davies Karri & Jarrah Company Ltd to service the local timber mills. The original jetty
was 600m long and was capable of berthing three ships at a time. The ships were loaded using steam cranes.
The MCDavies Karri & Jarrah Company Ltd operated in the nearby Boranup forest and the Karridale Mill
provided timber for the waiting ships, via a railway line. The railway (3'6"gauge) ran the complete length of
the jetty, where cranes would unload the timbers directly from the carriages onto the waiting ships. The
timbers were then sent around the world to be used in road and building construction. In its heydays the area
was a popular recreational destination for the timber workers who would swim and fish off the jetty. MC
Davies, who had his private yacht berthed there, often held boating regattas in Hamelin Bay, providing some
welcome light relief from the heavy work. Today, only a small section of the jetty remains, a sad reminder of
a once busy port.
The Storm of 1900 On July 22nd, 1900, a feirce storm lashed the coast of Western
Australia, from Fremantle to Albany. During the storm, five ships were wrecked, three of those ships were
moored in Hamelin Bay. The three barques were the 'Katinka', 'Lovespring' and 'Norwester'. The crew on the
South African ship, 'Katinka', were left to try and save the ship themselves, after the captain was forced to
travel to Bunbury to find a replacement crew, for the sailors who had deserted early. Five of the crew
members jumped overboard after the ship ran aground about 500m from shore. The Indian Ocean would eventually
claim three of them. Whilst the crew that decided to stay and ride out the storm, were thrown around by the
raging seas. Two crew members would die, one being washed overboard whilst the other died when a piece of
wood broke from the mast and struck him. The Norwegian ship, "lovespring', was ripped from her jetty moorings
and wrecked on Mushroom rock. All men on board were saved by clinging to the ships rigging. A lifeboat was
sent the following morning to save the poor souls. The Danish ship, 'Norwester', was also ripped from her
moorings and ending up being unceremoniously dumped onto dry land. During the storm, a total of five lives
were lost, they were Iver Carlsen (Bergen), Martin Augusten (Stonstadt), Eilmar A.N. Mencke (Oldenburg),
George Hamann (Hamburg) and Max Hermann (Essen) The 'Norwester was the only one of the three ships to be
successfully refloated. The rest were salvaged and their remains sold at auction. The storm also reeked havoc
in the old karridale town with falling trees doing over 8 miles of damage to the telegraph lines. It was
reported that over 300 trees had fallen onto the lines.It was also reported that the lightkeeper at the
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse registered winds of over 85mph. A small reminder of that night can be
found at the Hamelin Bay carpark where the remains of the 'Lovespring' anchor resides . Four of the sailors
of the Katinka are buried at the Karridale Cemetery.
Salmon FishingDuring the 1940's salmon fishing was established in the bay. During the peak
salmon season, it wasn't unusual to have between 10-15 ton hauls a day. The salmon was cleaned locally before being
packed in straw and sent to Perth for sale.
During the 1950's a salmon fishery was opened on the beaches between Hamelin Bay and Busselton.
Today the fishery is run by the . Fisheries Department who supply a limited number of licensees. Boats were originally used to herd
the schools of salmon into nets with in the bay, later replaced by surf skis and then to spotter planes.