Manufactured by notable Captain and shipbuilder James Davidson, the SS Australasia was a steam-powered cargo carrier that made the Great Lakes its home in 1884. This monstrous vessel was famous for its unique wooden-hull which allowed it to dominate the steel-hulled ships of its competitors. To add some perspective, the Australasia measured in at an astonishing 285 feet, making it the largest wooden vessel in existence at the time of her creation. She typically carried cargo such as wheat, corn, lumber, and coal and could store approximately 3000 net tons in her cargo hold. At around 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 17th, 1896, the Australasia met her final voyage on the waters of Lake Michigan. The ship caught fire just off the coast of Bailey’s Harbor, WI and was eventually abandoned near the shores Whitefish Dunes State Park after numerous tow lines fell victim to the fury of her flames.
(Via Wisconsin Shipwrecks)
Size: 285 ft. long - 40 ft. wide - 22 ft. hull depth - 3,000-ton cargo hold
Manufacturing: When: 1884 - Builder: James Davidson - Where: West Bay City, Michigan
Crew: Size: 150 people - Owner: James Corrigan - Captain: James Corrigan
Classification: Wooden Bulk Carrier
(Via National Park Service)
The SS Australasia made its mark on history in more ways than James Davidson could have ever anticipated. Upon being commissioned, the ship was the largest wooden-hulled carrier in existence. On her inaugural voyage to Milwaukee, Davidson made a statement for his work by hauling 3,150 tons of salt— the largest cargo ever carried to date by a Great Lakes vessel. The Australasia then went on to break the record for wheat at 74,040 bushels and again at 80,000 under command of her captain, James Corrigan. It was also recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in July of 2013.
(Via National Park Service)
Humorous Ties to Door County:
While on what would soon become her last voyage, the Australasia was carrying a 2,200-ton load of coal from Cleveland to Milwaukee. After passing through the Straits of Mackinaw, the ship abandoned course and headed across the Lake toward the shore of Wisconsin to seek shelter from harsh winds. At around 6 p.m. the crew spotted Bailey’s Harbor just as a fire was starting in the hull. The crew put little effort into extinguishing the fire and abandoned their dinner to head for shore on lifeboats.
Shortly after this, Captain James Tufts and his crew departed from Sturgeon Bay on their tug, the John Leathem, only to find the Australasia abandoned with a full dinner set in the galley. So instead of immediately fighting the fire or towing the boat, they proceeded to finish the ghost crew’s dinner. Following their stolen-meal, the crew of the John Leathem then proceeded to tow the Australasia toward Sturgeon Bay where they ended up burning through eight different tow lines and abandoning the ship just off the shore of the Dunes.
Once the ship was abandoned for good, the Leathem went back to Jacksonport to collect the crew of the Australasia and bring them to Sturgeon Bay. As it turns out, the drunken crew of the Australasia didn’t take kindly to the idea of their saviors eating their meal, and a fight broke out on the tug. A second fight also occurred once the Leathem reached the wharf in Sturgeon Bay, ultimately forcing the Australasia’s crew to seek refuge on another ship bound for Cleveland without their cargo. An estimated 140 tons of coal washed up on shore in the months following the ship's final voyage, provoking local farmers to cash in on the fruits of the nearby wreckage.
(Via National Park Service)
The Australasia Today:
If you’re curious as to where this maritime marvel resides today, set your GPS for Door County, Wisconsin. The Australasia currently lies at its final resting place approximately 820 feet off of the south shore of Whitefish Dunes State Park. At a depth of about 15 feet below water, the wreckage of the ship is visible to the eye on clear and sunny days. There is currently a buoy marking the location of the stern, which faces toward shore and is pinpointed at the latitude of N 44° 55.301' and longitude of W 087° 11.225'. If you’re interested in viewing the wreckage for yourself, our Cave and Dunes Kayak Tour offers a unique perspective of the ship few people get the privilege of seeing!
(Via Wisconsin Shipwrecks & National Park Service)
Welcome to Door County; the Cape Cod of the Midwest and a place where water sports will become a memorable and long-lasting reality.
The Wisconsin peninsula is perfect for adrenaline junkies who want to perfect a water skiing trick or those adventurers looking to try something new- like kayaking! You may be asking yourself why people engage in these extreme water activities, sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well, there’s no simple explanation. It’s all about chasing the high you feel when you participate in a thrilling and exciting activity and the sense of accomplishment that hits you as soon as you finish. It’s a feeling everyone should experience in their lifetime.
With a generation consumed with the advancement of technology, we forget to experience life outside our little rectangular devices and how to just live in the moment. Good news is, when you’re doing a water sport activities at Door County Adventure Center, you are forced to be in the moment. It’s an exhilarating and memorable experience no handheld device can duplicate.
This summer is a great time to propose a little summer adventure for yourself, as well as your friends. Plan a day to perfect a water sport you’ve always dreamed of doing or be adventurous and try something completely new! Door County Adventure Center can help you get hooked on water activities and adventure! With our beautiful scenic tours throughout the peninsula, our kayak/paddle board lessons with highly trained guides and rentals - you can learn and become an avid water sportsman/women in no time!
So say good-bye to all those indoor hobbies this summer and say HELLO to the world of adventure at DOOR COUNTY ADVENTURE CENTER!
To learn more about our tours, lessons and rentals you can visit our website at dcadventurecenter.com or call us at 920-746-9539.
Our Team Leadership Center has hosted team building programs for the past 25 years. Tim Pflieger, President of Door County Adventure Center, has found many truths and wisdom while facilitating programs for school groups, corporate teams, and collegiate sports teams. A day of team building can seek breakthroughs and allow team members to collaborate in a unique way while working through challenges and elements at the Team Leadership Center. Why invest in a team building program? Here are FIVE reasons for your team to join us!
To Enhance Team Morale
Appreciation and value are impactful leadership tools that leaders use to ensure that their members know they are a valuable part of the team to maintain and enhance team morale.
To Improve Productivity
The more team members value and appreciate each other as teammates, the more value they have for each other and honor their place on the team. This helps teams be more positive, aligned and productive. Relationships are key to the success along with open communication. Both these factors create an environment of innovation which drives collective productivity.
To Encourage Fun in the Workplace
Team building programs are a way to get out of regular work routine and participate in activities that are outside the norm. Problem solving skills are tested through challenges and allow teammates to work collaboratively to overcome obstacles. Door County Adventure Center is always creating and adding cutting-edge team building activities that ensure fun for everyone with unique elements.
To Address Team Issues
During a team building program, leadership is encouraged and issues may arise. Programs bring out different stressors in a learning environment; hence, strengths and weakness are highlighted through various activities. Our programs can be tailored to what your team needs to address to be more successful as a group.
To Reward Employees
Programs can be a way to address issues but also can be a way to help de-stress and make the workplace positive and rewarding. Reward your team with a day out of the office for reaching goals or for their work. Have them recognize that they work in a positive and encouraging workplace. Keep the excitement going by joining us for some adventure!
Team building programs can create lasting impressions on team members with what was learned through activities. Teams can take away valuable insights from facilitators or fellow team players from the day. Consider these five reasons to invest in a team building program for some fun with Door County Adventure Center!