Horse buggy wreck unearthed on Emu Bay beach

Recent big seas have unearthed treasure of historic nature on the beach at Emu Bay.

Regular beach comber and Emu Bay resident Robert “Spog” Ward a couple of weeks ago found a rusty bit of metal sticking up from the beach just past the creek and vehicle access point.

“It exposed a lot of rock that I have not seen in years,” he said.

He dug a little deeper and found the central remains of what appears to be the wheel of a horse-drawn buggy. Another metal spike sticking out the sand turned out to be another bit of the buggy’s suspension, now coated in sand and rocks.

Mr Ward tested the sand with a rod and believes there is more of the buggy down below in the sand but for now he is leaving it to its resting place.

He will offer the items to the Hope Cottage Museum at Kingscote in case they are interested.

BEACH MEMORIES: 102-year-old Alf Hall and his daughter Merilyn Henderson have memories of celebrations and buggy races on Emu Bay beach.

BEACH MEMORIES: 102-year-old Alf Hall and his daughter Merilyn Henderson have memories of celebrations and buggy races on Emu Bay beach.

He also decided to contact 102-year-old former Emu Bay resident Alf Hall to see if he could shed any light on his discovery.

Mr Hall recalled horse and buggy races down on the beach before the Second World War and these were briefly brought back in the 1950s, which his daughter Merilyn Henderson also remembered.

These races and celebrations took place around Christmas time and it was sort of like a fete.

Merilyn then contacted her brother Ken, now living in Queensland and told her a story about how he and his mate Albert Whittle as teenagers in the 1950s went and got a buggy from Bill Bates farm, which is now the Lavender Farm.

“There was so much machinery at the house it was a like a kid’s gold mine with so many things to play with,” Merilyn said.

Ken and Albert apparently hauled the buggy to the steep slopes east of the current township past the area known as the Rookery and above the cliffs leading to the Emu Bay reef.

The buggy went a bit far down the slope and crashed onto the rocks just above the waterline, where the boys apparently abandoned it. 

It is thought the remains of the buggy were washed out to sea and eventually coming in with the tide to rest on the beach near the creek.

Alf Hall remembers seeing the wrecked buggy lying on the beach, but never until now knew that it was his son that had allegedly wrecked it on the cliffs.

Mr Hall went on to have a rich life with many jobs, including having the mail run to the western end of Kangaroo Island in the 1950s when he delivered up 200 loaves of bread with the mail, picking up as many as 55 cans of cream to be processed for sale.

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