The wreck of the barque James Service from Calcutta to Melbourne, July 1878: commercial and cultural trade between India and Australia
On the night of the 22/23 July 1878, in foul weather, the iron barque, the James Service, struck the Murray Reef, south of the port of Fremantle in Western Australia, and sank with the loss of all on board. The ship had been sailing from Calcutta to Melbourne, via Port Adelaide, and had left the mouth of Hooghly on 27 April, but the indisposition of the ship's master in the Bay of Bengal had resulted in the firstmare assuming command and putting in to the British colony of Penang. A court of inquiry exonerated Captain Young of incompetence, but he was replaced on the grounds of ill-health by Captian Sievwright (or Sievewright), under whose command the James Service lfet Penang on 7 June ("Summary for the Mails" 1878,2; "Wreck of the 'James Service'" 1878b, 2). The next confirmed sighting of the ship appears to have been by an Aboriginal stockman who, on Tuesday 23 July, reported to police in Mandurah, 36 miles south of Fremantle, having seen earlier that day the masts of a vessel stranded on the Murray Reef (Sledge 1974, 14).