top of page

Ominous messages from lost trawler

Less than a month before Christmas the trawler Endeavour sets sail from Macquarie Island, heading back to Melbourne in 1914.

On board were a number of fishermen and crew, along with the Director of Fisheries, Harold Dannevig. The fisheries research trawler had made the trip out to the isolated island with Mr Dannevig and his team. For the return journey, the Endeavour left the island's shores to make its way back to Melbourne on December 3.

It was never seen again.

The trawler, Endeavour, was making a return trip from Macquarie Island when it disappeared. Courtesy: Australian Town and Country Journal.

Mr Dannevig and his wife were students of the occult and studied astrology. Mrs Dannevig told a newspaper of the day that her husband had very strong misgivings about going on the trip to Macquarie Island.

"he was restless, walking about the house with is hands tucked into his pockets, a habit of his when considering any serious undertakings." she told the Adelaide Observer.

Despite his misgivings Mr Dannevig boarded the trawler and made the trip to Macquarie Island. His wife received two wireless messages while he was there. She knew he was departing to return home on December 3 and started to get anxious when the boat was overdue.

It was then the visions started for Mrs Dannevig. The first was of a wide expanse of inky-black water, illuminated with a very bright white light. She felt it indicated trouble with the trawler. A few days later she had a vision of her husband sitting in a confined space, studying something intently, but he was calm.

Then on Christmas Day she felt a strange sensation, as if another presence was in the room with her. The vision she had was of her husband again, but this time his body was erect, his hands clenched and his face white as death. There was a grey mist around him.

By June of 1915, the presumption of death of all on board the Endeavour was accepted and letters of administration in the estate of the Norwegian born Director of Fisheries, Harold Christian Dannevig, were applied for in court.

Memorial to those who lost their lives on the Endeavour. Courtesy:

Those on board, presumed drowned at sea included:

  • Harold C Dannevig, Director of Fisheries,

  • George W C Pym, master,

  • Angus Mackay, chief engineer ,

  • Stanley Ditcham, second engineer,

  • Charles Hoe, third engineer (temporary),

  • Joseph R Burkitt, mate ,

  • Alfred Ackers, second mate and chief fisherman,

  • A Wythe, chief cook and steward,

  • H Kitching, assistant cook ,

  • Alfred Holmes, fireman,

  • Nils Rasmussen, fireman,

  • J Byrne, fisherman,

  • H A Farrant, fisherman,

  • L Olsen, fisherman ,

  • George Cooper, fisherman,

  • H Samson, fisherman,

  • J W Jackson, seaman ,

  • T.Scott, mess roomboy,

  • Harold Power, wireless operator from Macquarie Island, and

  • C T. Harrison, biologist


  • 'The Missing Trawler Endeavour', The Brisbane Courier, Tuesday, 9 February, 1915, Page 6

  • 'Federal Trawler Endeavour Missing', Australian Town and Country Journal, Wednesday 23 December 1914, Page 47

  • 'The Overdue Endeavour', Observer, Adelaide, Saturday 16 January, 1915, Page 41

  • 'Mr C.H. Dannevig's Estate - Presumption of Death', The Bendigo Independent, Friday 11 June 1915, Page 2

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page