This medal is the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society’s “Bramley-Moore medal for saving life at sea 1872”. The Society was formed in 1839. In 1872 Mr John Bramley-Moore donated £500 on condition that the medal have the specific inscription above on its reverse. The Bramley Morre medal was first awarded in 1874 and records show that since that time only one gold medal has been awarded, twenty-two silver medals and seventeen bronze medals, the last being in 1945.
This Bromley-Moore medal was awarded to Peter Carmody for his bravery in saving lives on the Newfield shipwreck.
The Newfield was a three-masted iron and steel barque, built in Dundee, Scotland, in 1889 by Alexander Stephen and Sons. It was owned by the Newfield Ship Company in 1890 and later that year It was registered in Liverpool to owners Brownells and Co.
The Newfield left Sharpness, Scotland, on 28th May 1892 with a crew of 25 under the command of Captain George Scott and on 1st June left Liverpool. She was bound for Brisbane, Australia, with a cargo of 1850 tons of fine rock salt, the main export product of Sharpness.
At about 9pm on 28th August 1892, in heavy weather, Captain Scott sighted, between heavy squalls, the Cape Otway light on the mainland of Victoria but, due to a navigational error (the ship’s chronometers were wrong), he assumed it to be the Cape Wickham light on King Island, some 40 miles south. He altered his course to the north, expecting to enter Bass Strait. The ship was now heading straight for the south west Victorian coast.
At about 1:30am the Newfield ran aground on a reef about 100 yards from shore and one mile east of Curdie’s Inlet, Peterborough. The ship struck heavily three times before grounding on an inner shoal with 6 feet of water in the holds. Rough sea made the job of launching lifeboats very difficult. The first two lifeboats launched by the crew were smashed against the side of the ship and some men were crushed or swept away. The third lifeboat brought eight men to shore. It capsized when the crew tried to return it to the ship for further rescue
The rescue was a difficult operation. The Port Campbell Rocket Crew arrived and fired four rocket lines, none of which connected with the ship.
Peter Carmody, a local man, volunteered to swim about one mile off shore to the ship with a line to guide the fourth and final lifeboat safely to shore. He was assisted by James McKenzie and Gerard Irvine. Seventeen men survived the shipwreck but the captain and eight of his crew perished.
The Newfield remained upright on the reef with sails set for a considerable time as the wind slowly ripped the canvas to shreds and the sea battered the hull to pieces.
The Marine Board inquiry found the wreck was caused by a "one man style of navigation" and that the Captain had not heeded the advice of his crew.
According to Jack Loney ‘… when the drama was over . . the Newfield was deserted except for the Captain’s dog and two pigs.’
Peter Carmody was awarded the Bramley-Moore medal by the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society for Saving Life at Ssea, which he received by mail on January 21st 1893.
The medal and a letter of congratulations were donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum by Peter Carmody’s grand-daughter Norma Bracken and her son Stuart Bracken on 25th May 2006.
The Medal and Letter of Congratulations join other items in the Newfield collection.
The Carmody Medal recognises the bravery of Peter Carmody in risking his life to rescue crew members of the Barque Newfield when it was wrecked near Curdies Inlet in August 1892. The ‘Bramley-Moore medal for saving life at sea, 1872’ was presented by the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society.
The medal and accompanying letter have local and international historic significance as they demonstrate both the difficulties associated with navigation and the dangers of shipping along the South West Coast of Victoria in the 19th century and the medal’s association with the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society and John Bramley-Moore, who provided £500 to found the Bramley-Moore medal.
The medal is socially significant. It emphasises the importance of Peter Carmody in rescuing victims of shipwrecks with little thought for his own safety. The medal reminds us of the importance of local people to Victoria’s maritime history.
The Carmody Medal and Humane Society letter were in the Carmody family until they were presented to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, by the grand-daughter and great-grandson of Peter Carmody, on the 25th May 2006. The medal is significant for its complete provenance recorded in the donation documentation.
The medal is in very good condition and relatively rare with only 22 silver medals awarded between 1874 and 1945.
The Carmody Medal and letter add a human element to the story of the shipwrecks. They give life and significance to the Newfield, its victims and its artefacts.
Bramley-Moore medal from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society, awarded to Peter Carmody.
The round,silver medal is attached to a looped blue ribbon by a decorative, swivelling silver connector. The top of the ribbon has a silver pin bar threaded through it. The obverse of the medal has a design of a man kneeling on a floating part of a wreck. He is rescuing a child from the sea. There is a manned boat in the distance rescuing someone from the sea. In the far background there is a sailing ship. The top third of the medal has an inscription around it. The reverse shows a long-legged hen cormorant with extended wings holding an olive branch in its beak. The bird is surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves made from two branches. There is an inscription between the design and the rim that goes all the way around the circumference. There is a name engraved around the edge of the medal. The medal in embedded in a purple velvet panel that rests inside a brown, leather-covered case. The lid of the case has a gold embossed emblem in the cemtre. Both the lid and base have a rectangular gold border. The lid is attached to the base with two brass hinges. The base has a brass push-button catch. The box is lined with padded cream silk. The lining inside the lid has a gold emblem in the centre.
Inscriptions & markings
The obverse has the words "LORD, SAVE US, WE PERISH".
The reverse has the words "BRAMLEY-MOORE MEDAL FOR SAVING LIFE AT SEA" and "1872".
Around the edge of the medal are the words "PETER CARMODY, FOR HAVING BEEN MAINLY INSTRUMENTAL IN RESCUING THE CREW OF THE BARQUE NEWFIELD, AUG 29 1892"
The pin bar has the words “LIVERPOOL SHIPWRECK & HUMANE SOCIETY” written across it.
The gold embossed emblem on the lid of the box has the words in the centre "SHIPWRECK AND …. …. ….FOUNDED 1839"
The gold emblem on the cream silk lining has the words “BY APPOINTMENT ELKINGTON & CO” printed on it.
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