By 1870, at 18 years old, the Walter Hood was a bit of an ‘old girl’ but still considered sound and seaworthy. After her 1869 voyage she’d spent some time in London being repaired and having her copper replaced, giving her another 6 year rating from Lloyd’s. Her captain, Andrew Latto had already sailed her three times to Sydney and back without incident. Until that fateful last voyage…
For the Aboriginal people and Warden in Ulladulla to see the Walter Hood in a wild storm and driving rain, she must have been very close to the coast. And this is curious too, as not one of those on board later tells of seeing Warden Head that afternoon.
According to third mate William Tickler’s account, those aboard the Walter Hood first see other men on the beach on the morning of Friday 29 April. Who they are, and how they came to be there is a matter of dispute among locals who were living in the area at the time.
After the Illalong‘s rescue of the men aboard the Walter Hood, on 30 April 1870 the local coroner JV Wareham quickly convened a jury of five to hear depositions about the wrecking and the fate of the five men whose bodies had been washed ashore.