Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.


June 2007   No. 344

understanding, enjoying & caring for our oceans”


Next Meeting


This will be the June Meeting and it will be held as usual at the Conservation Centre on the 20th June commencing at 8.00pm.

Note the new starting time.


Our guest speaker will be Anita Poddar, Senior Public Affairs Adviser to BHP Billiton who will be discussing various studies undertaken by BHP Billiton with regard to the proposed desalination plant at Point Lowly. She will be happy to discuss these with our members. She will also bring Darren Niejalke who is a member of their Sustainability unit who is more closely involved with the EIS research so that he can answer the more technical questions.  




Committee Results and AGM Report (Philip Hall)

The Wreck Of The Schooner Lemael (Steve Reynolds)

February 2006 at Ewens Ponds (Chris Hall)

Anniversary Trophy (Philip Hall)

Water Flow Through Sponges (Steve Reynolds)

The Rainbow Warrior  (Steve Reynolds)


Final reminder: a few memberships are overdue, unless we receive them by the end of June then we will have to remove you from our mailing and email lists.

If you have already decided to not renew then please email MLSSA so you can be removed immediately.

If you are not renewing then we thank you most sincerely for your interest in the conservation work MLSSA carries out and hope you will occasionally visit our website and will keep in touch.



2007-8 Committee


POSITION          NAME                

President                       Philip Hall                    

Secretary                       Neville Skinner             

Treasurer                      Phill McPeake               

Committee                    David Muirhead           

Committee                    Chris Hall                     


Non-executive positions:


Auditor                                                                 Phill John

Conservation Council Representatives (2)              Scoresby Shepherd

                                                                            Robert Browne

Editor                                                                   Philip Hall

Librarian                                                              Steve Reynolds

Photo Index Officer                                              Steve Reynolds

Reefwatch Representative                                     Steve Reynolds

Scientific Officer                                                  Robert Browne

SDF Representatives (2)                                        Neville Skinner

                                                                            Steve Reynolds

Social Officer                                                       As required

Web Masters                                                        Danny Gibbins

                                                                            Ralph Richardson

Speaker Co-ordinator                                           Robert Browne


AGM Report

by Philip Hall

I would like to thank Tim Hoile for letting us use the Marine Discovery Centre for our AGM and so willingly giving of his time.

The Centre was closely examined before and after the meeting. It was inspected by everyone and is a credit to Tim and the helpers for the educational opportunities it supplies to the children of this State.

The “Postcards” video Tim showed demonstrated how valuable the Centre is.

Thanks too to our guests Patricia von Baumgarten from the DEH and Jim Filmer from Steriflow for their excellent presentations.

Scoresby as usual gave an excellent, interesting talk.

Thankyou to all who have volunteered their time to help MLSSA.

The meeting was well attended and the nibbles and drinks at the interval went down well.


The Wreck Of The Schooner Lemael

by Steve Reynolds


The Lemael was a wooden two-masted schooner of 98 tons built by E.Hicks at Duck River, Tasmania in 1892. She was registered in Launceston, Tasmania that same year. Less than 30 years later she was lost in a gale near Cape Banks in the south-east of SA. The Lemael’s captain for her final voyage was Thomas Holyman who, it seems, was the owner of the vessel. The book “South Australian Shipwrecks – A Data Base 1802-1989” by Peter Christopher says that there were no casualties and that she was carrying a cargo of timber at the time. Information found at: says “Two of the seven crew drifted ashore on a plank and set out for help, but the remainder waited until the vessel began to break up before leaving her. All reached safety but suffered badly from exposure.”

The dimensions given for the Lemael at: (101.7 x 26.3 x 7.7 ft) match those of both Ron Parsons in “Ketches of South Australia” and Peter Christopher. In November 2005 Rick Bullers from Flinders University submitted a thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Maritime Archaeology Department of Archaeology. It was titled “Quality of construction of Australian-built colonial-period wooden sailing vessels: case studies from vessels lost in South Australia and Tasmania”. A copy can be found at Buller suggests on page 123 of his thesis that the dimensions for the Lemael were 97.4 x 25.6 x 7.7.

It seems that Peter Christopher’s information about the Lemael in “South Australian Shipwrecks – A Data Base 1802-1989” came from “Ketches of South Australia” by Ronald Parsons. Both books agree that the Lemael was a wooden two-masted schooner of 98 tons and that she had been built in Tasmania in 1892.

This matches the information found at: in every way other than the number of masts which are said to be three in number. That number of masts matches the photo of a schooner said to be the Lemael in the booklet “The First 100 Years of Semaphore 1883-1983”. The caption in the booklet reads “3 masted schooner “LEMAEL” washed ashore in front of Wolverton in 1901 storm, Largs Jetty in background”.


Three-masted schooner similar to the Lemael 


I had written about the schooner Lemael in an article titled “More About The Booya” in our July 2005 Newsletter. This was because there had been a little confusion concerning the Argosy Lemal*, an earlier name for the Booya. My article finished with the comment that more research was needed on the subject.

*(The above photo of a three-masted schooner is the Argosy Lemal (Source: ). Another photo of the  Argosy Lemal can be seen on page 24 of the book “Traders Under Sail – The cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia” by Captain James Gillespie, 1994.)

I have now discovered another discrepancy concerning the Lemael. According to:, the Lemael was lost in a gale near Cape Banks in the south-east of SA on 21st July 1920. Both Parsons and Christopher say that it was in 1921. They disagree, however, on the actual day. Parsons says the 21st, Christopher says the 31st.

(To summarise that, the Lemael was lost in a gale near Cape Banks in the south-east of SA on either the 21st July 1920, the 21st July 1921 or the 31st July 1921.)

As I said in my article “More About The Booya” in our July 2005 Newsletter, “Wolverton” was, until recently, the Lefevre Peninsula Hospital on the Esplanade at Semaphore. It is presently the Semaphore Residential Aged Care Nursing Home at 122 The Esplanade at Semaphore.

The photos below show the “Wolverton” building as it is in 2007 and the Semaphore beach site opposite the building where the Lemael apparently washed ashore during a storm in 1901.


The “Wolverton” building in 2007 (Steve Reynolds)







The Semaphore beach site where the Lemael apparently washed ashore during a storm in 1901 (Steve Reynolds)


The Booya sank during Cyclone Tracy at Christmas 1974. According to the web page at:, the Booya now sits at a depth of 22m in Darwin Harbour. The wreck is said to be “virtually intact lying on its starboard side  with one of the three masts broken away”. Her length is given as 130 feet and tonnage as 262 tons gross. Her dimensions were 117½ x 24½ x 10½ feet when she was first built. I don’t know why her length is now being given as 130 feet. Her initial gross tonnage was 254 gross tons. This increased to 256 gross tons when, as the Claire Crouch, she was re-engined with a 280 bhp Crossley diesel engine. I don’t know why her gross tonnage is now being given as 262 gross tons.

The Booya, a steel-hulled three-masted auxiliary schooner




“More About The Booya” by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter, July 2005 (No. 323).

 “Traders Under Sail – The cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia” by Captain James Gillespie, 1994.

“South Australian Shipwrecks – A Data Base 1802-1989” by Peter Christopher. Published by The Society for Underwater Historical Research, 1990.

ISBN 0 9588006 1 8.

“Ketches of South Australia” by Ronald Parsons (A record of small sailing ships on the coast of South Australia – 1836-1970).

“The First 100 Years of Semaphore 1883-1983” (A Stroll Down Memory Lane” by Captain J Maitland Thomson), Semaphore Promotion and Tourist Association Inc.

February 2006 at Ewens Ponds

Pictures by Chris Hall


Anniversary Trophy

by Philip Hall


Trophy time has come around again. Last year it was presented to Neville Skinner for all of his dedicated work and enthusiasm towards helping MLSSA. Make sure that you are present at the June Meeting to witness the presentation or perhaps to receive the trophy yourself.

The Committee has decided to make a major change to this award so your attendance will be very welcome.



2001   25th                                         Philip Hall

2002   26th                                         Margaret Hall

2003   27th                                         Phill McPeake

2004   28th                                         Danny Gibbins

2005   29 th                                         Geoff Prince

2006   30th                                                       Neville Skinner

2007   31st                                                        ?


Water Flow Through Sponges

by Steve Reynolds


In his book “Australian Marine Life”, Graham Edgar states that, “Because sponges are filter feeders, they flourish best at sites with strong currents or wave action”.

PR Bergquist and IG Skinner wrote the Porifera section (Chapter 3) for “Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia – Part I”. Under “Sponge Structure” they said that “When feeding, sponges set up a water current by the beating of the choanocyte flagella and water passes into the sponge via the ostia and out of the neck of the vase, the opening of ehich is called the osculum”.

Under “Ecological Notes On Sponges” they said that, “Because sponges are sessile filter feeders, they flourish in areas where water movement is strong”.

One of my predecessors, Andrew Udina wrote an article about water flow through sponges almost 30 years ago. Back in 1978, Andrew was the Library Officer of our Society when it was known as the Marine Aquarium Research Institute of Australia (SA Branch). He wrote an article titled “Water Flow Through Sponges” which was published in the November 1978 issue of our newsletter (MARIA Newsletter, No. 24). His article reported the findings of Steven Vogel of the National Academy of Sciences in 1977. Vogel’s findings were published under the title “Current-induced flow through living sponges in nature” in the proceedings of the academy in May that year. Although sponges possess internal (choanocyte) flagella which beat and create water turbulence which results in the net movement of water through the animal, they mainly rely on natural water currents. The natural water currents utilized by sponges to move water through their internal parts are known as “ambient water flow”. Vogel reported that “ambient currents can and do increase the rate at which water under natural conditions passes through the sponges”.

Andrew suggested (hypothesized) that stronger currents around a sponge result in greater water flow through the sponge. He went on to suggest that the internal flagella only achieve a “turbulence of water within the sponge so that the maximum amount of food and oxygen may be extracted from it”.



“Water Flow Through Sponges” by Andrew Udina, MARIA Newsletter, November 1978, No. 24.

“Current-induced flow through living sponges in nature” by S.Vogel, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, 74L5), 1977, 2069-2071.

 “Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia – Part I”, edited by SA Shepherd & IM Thomas, Government Printer, South Australia, 1982 (Chapter 3 (the Porifera section) by  PR Bergquist & IG Skinner) – mlssa 1021.

“Australian Marine Life” by Graham Edgar, Reed Books, 2003, ISBN 1 876334 38 X – mlssa 1053.


The Rainbow Warrior

by Steve Reynolds


Greenpeace’s first Rainbow Warrior ship is now popular New Zealand dive site. She was blown-up whilst docked in New Zealand in 1985. The ship was being prepared for a protest voyage to Moruroa Atoll over French nuclear testing. French Secret Service agents planted two bombs on the ship in Auckland harbour on 10th July 1985. These bombs resulted in two large explosions just before midnight that evening, which caused the Rainbow Warrior to keel over. The ship’s Captain and crew were onboard the ship at the time. Most of them managed to get safely off of her but a photographer who tried to rescue his cameras at the time was drowned. Back in 1978 the Rainbow Warrior was a battered, rusty North Sea fishing trawler which was prepared by Greenpeace volunteers. The ship is now popular as a dive site at 22m depth off of the NZ coast. Greenpeace has had another Rainbow Warrior since 1987, the Rainbow Warrior II. She was bought with the help of the financial settlement received from the French government for their part in the bombing of the first Rainbow Warrior. She is a motor-assisted three-masted schooner rig with horizontal gaffs (unusual horizontal sails). She was previously a (fully-riveted) steam-powered fishing vessel called the Grampian Fame. She was built in my county (and country) of birth, Yorkshire, England in 1957. Her original use was as a North Sea trawler. She then became an oilrig standby vessel. She was cut in half and lengthened by 11metres (from 44m to 55.2m) in 1966. (Her measurements are now: - length 55.2m, beam 8.54m, draft 4.35m, tonnage 555 gross tonnes.) She was also converted to diesel power at this time. After being purchased by Greenpeace in 1987, she underwent a two-year refit before being launched in Hamburg, Germany on 10th July 1989. (That was exactly four years after the bombs exploded on the first Rainbow Warrior.) The ship’s fish hold was converted into a theatre and storage area. A desalination plant, sewage treatment system, satellite communication and navigation equipment were all installed on her. She has energy saving features such as a specially designed wind/motor propulsion system, solar panels for hot water and a heat exchanger (heating system that uses heat from the engines). A total of five inflatable boats are stored on her. A 1.8m wooden sculpture of a dolphin carved from oak sits on the foredeck in front of the bridge. It was donated by a German support group. The dolphin appears to jump over the railing. The original wheel from the first Rainbow Warrior is located in front of the bridge and the original bell is in the ship’s mess. She is registered in Amsterdam which means that she sails under the flag of the Netherlands. The strange coincidence about this is that the Netherlands flag is identical to the French flag (if the French flag was rotated 90degrees counter-clockwise). According to Greenpeace, the Rainbow Warrior’s name is taken from a North American Indian prophecy - “According to an ancient Native American prophecy, there would come a time when the earth would be ravaged, the seas blackened, the streams poisoned and the birds fall from the sky. Just before it was too late, said the prophecy, people of all races and creeds would rise up and band together to become Warriors of the Rainbow and return the earth to its natural beauty and harmony. The spirit of this ancient story became the inspiration for the early Greenpeace activists, and a valued part of the Greenpeace legacy.”




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