OK history buffs a real conundrum

please see the attached photo taken by a mate of mine whilst exploring one of the islands off Dampier.

The shadow obscures the A .....the vessel name is Delta..... But all our searches of maritime records doesn't seem to reveal anything about this vessel .....any ideas 

Image Upload: 

timboon's picture

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 No way thats pretty spesh if

Tue, 2018-06-19 21:29

 No way thats pretty spesh if its dinkum....


I'll stay tuned, good luck....


Try contacting the Maritime Museum in Freo maybe?

Dale's picture

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Tue, 2018-06-19 21:34

 Wow, that’s interesting.


"Just because you are a Character, Doesn't mean you have Character."

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nah no way

Tue, 2018-06-19 21:39

 dont believe it , i have been all over those islands , never seen it , what island is it on ?  if its true needs to be protected 

walloped's picture

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You obviously missed this

Wed, 2018-06-20 20:53

You obviously missed this patch Peter.

Lastchance's picture

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Every square inch of all 42

Thu, 2018-06-21 12:47

Every square inch of all 42 islands Pete? You must be 137 years old bunj

sunshine's picture

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He worked there for over 25 years

Tue, 2018-06-19 22:26

And he only found it this morning having sailed back up there in his Cat.  He was as surprised as you. Will speak to the museum in the morning as it is an amazing bit of history  

Rob H's picture

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 Ring Mac  MacCarthy at the

Tue, 2018-06-19 23:20

 Ring Mac  MacCarthy at the Shipwreck museum Fremantle.

If he doesn’t know about it no one does


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Carry's picture

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Is that 1349

Tue, 2018-06-19 23:46

Is that 1349 or 1849 either way thats unreal . I always keep my eye open when walking the islands 


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Riles's picture

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Wed, 2018-06-20 06:32

Keep the information flow coming 

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 There's no way it could be

Wed, 2018-06-20 08:46

 There's no way it could be 1349 and be real. It looks English and given they didn't really do any major exploration until about 100 years or so later.

sunshine's picture

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Clearly 1849

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:23

 I have sent the photo to Michael McCarthy at the museum to see if he can shed any light on it. For Peter's benefit it is located on (removed at the request of the museum).

If I hear from the museum I will let you know 

Brock O's picture

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  Very Cool...Looking forward

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06



Very Cool...Looking forward to his reply and the story behind it.

sunshine's picture

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He got straight back to me

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:22

He was unaware of its existence but has sent it on to three other people who might be able to shed some light on it.....I await their advices with interest 

Swompa's picture

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It would have to be 1849

Wed, 2018-06-20 11:42

It would have to be 1849 otherwise it would have been in Dutch or Portuguese though if actually in 1300's it would re-write history of this fine patch of dirt we have.

Certainly would take a bit of time to scratch anything into that rock!

Bit of excitement none the less and I look forward to the story.

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 Doesn’t look like it’s

Wed, 2018-06-20 11:47

 Doesn’t look like it’s eroded much over the years. 


Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

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 Could be this one mate.

Wed, 2018-06-20 14:44

 Could be this one mate. Sailed from Plymouth to Port Adelaide and arrived on 31 Oct, 1850.

 There's no J. Leek on the list for that voyage, but it didn't leave Plymouth until the 4th of August so he could have left the ship by that time.




Dale's picture

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Wed, 2018-06-20 14:45

 Good find there Mulie


"Just because you are a Character, Doesn't mean you have Character."

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Also found this, a J Leek

Wed, 2018-06-20 15:33

Also found this, a J Leek arriving in SA in 1844.



sunshine's picture

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No couldn't possibly be

Wed, 2018-06-20 15:15

 Suez was not open back then so that voyage took them south of the Cape of Good Hope then straight across the 50's to Adelaide, I actually have the answer but having all sorts of issues cutting and pasting into this forum. The WA museum have been absolutely brilliant so the moment I work it out I will provide the details they have given me 

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for forwarding the image of the DELTA inscription.  As it happens my colleagues Ross Anderson for the Museum and Alistair Paterson from UWA (copied in here) have been researching the inscriptions since they were reported to the Museum in 2014. 

The DELTA was an American whaling ship of 314 tons which was hunting whales around the Dampier Archipelago between May and September 1849, in company with two other whalers, the SOLOMON SALTUS and the COMMODORE PREBLE.  Unfortunately we have limited records of the ship, which was lost at sea in 1857.

Ross says:

“The Museum has been working with UWA (as part of their Murujuga-Dynamics of the Dreaming’ ARC Project) to research and record Dampier Archipelago whaling inscriptions further with an article shortly to be published in Antiquity (currently under embargo until publication so I can’t send it now sorry) titled:


Paterson, A., Anderson, R., Mulvaney, K., de Koning, S., Dortch, J. and McDonald J., "So ends this day" records in stone of American whalers in Yaburara country. Dampier Archipelago, Northwest Australia .


On its 16th voyage between October 1848 and June 1851 the Delta visited  the New Holland Ground of the west coast of Australia, during which time the ship anchored for several months in the Dampier Archipelago conducting bay whaling. 


The Delta’s logbook lists the ships it was whaling with as the Mars, Arab, Saltus and Preble.


Please thank Gordon and Gary for their reports on my behalf.

Kind regards


Dr Ross Anderson


Maritime Archaeology”


I’m sure Ross and Al will be happy to answer any other questions when the publication is finalised.




Michael Gregg

Maritime History curator

47 Cliff Street, Fremantle WA 6160

Locked Bag 49, Welshpool DC, WA 6986

T. 08 9431 8456 




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 That's an awesome bit of

Wed, 2018-06-20 15:37

 That's an awesome bit of history. They left Greenport in New York. There's more history about it here at the New Bedford Whaling Museum: 





Faulkner Family's picture

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 hard to believe something

Wed, 2018-06-20 16:36

 hard to believe something like that had gone unreported for so long concidering how many would have visited the island. def a piece of history


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

piston broke's picture

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J Leek

Wed, 2018-06-20 17:08

 had chipped away the surrounding rock to form the letters (harder task) than chipping into the rock. 

sunshine's picture

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It's a light effect....actually cut into the rock

Wed, 2018-06-20 17:50

 I thought the same but my mate has confirmed it is an optical illusion

timboon's picture

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 Thanks for using Fishwrecked

Wed, 2018-06-20 21:29

 Thanks for using Fishwrecked to share the story,


The mind boggles as to what life would have been like 50, 100, 200, 400 etc years ago on the sea, its a harsh enough environment with all the latest tech and weather forcasting!!


The mind also boggles that Peter mac didnt know about this, did he even work in the Pilbara?

Adam Gallash's picture

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Very cool

Thu, 2018-06-21 17:58

 Very cool post. Might think twice about having a look when chilling in the Dampier bays from now on, who knows whats hiding away.


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