‘CALL FOR HELP! Man in the Harbour! Excitement at Mosman, Early Morning Rescue’ screamed the headline in Sydney’s Evening News on Tuesday, May 5 1914.
A passenger had missed his ferry and, somehow, finished up in the drink – unable to swim.
Nearby residents reported hearing “weird and eerie sounds” but could not determine precisely where, quite possibly from Mosman Bay. The actual bay!
An early morning rescue in 1914 had dozens of residents rushing to the rescue – in their dressing gowns! Image: NSWSL.
Those sounds, on closer inspection, were calls of distress:
“Help, help! I’m drowning!”
A group of residents, probably still fastening dressing gowns, had gathered at the wharf. Still unable to be seen in the pitch-black night and inky water, a posse, including Mr Edwards of Cremorne, “launched a boat from the other side of the bay and tried to locate the [cry].
“They sent a hail over the water and, immediately, in muffled tones and of one struggling for breath, was watted back, ‘Help, a boat! A boat!’”
The cry was “so indistinct” that residents failed to locate the panicked person.
The story made headlines in the Sydney Evening News on 5 May 1914.
It was decided the voice came from the other side of the bay, “so they pulled for a few minutes in that direction and rested on their oars. All was grim.”
The rescuers yelled: “What’s the matter? Where are you?”
“I’m in the water,” came a wail. “Come quickly!”