Jellyfish are the ghosts of the sea

Does the ghost of William Charles Ellery live here?

Now that Rose has found a safe harbour at the National Library of Australia I am ready to give some brain-space to my next project. The long abandoned research into the story of the Whaler’s Tunnel in Fremantle seems to be calling most loudly. At the moment I have a swarm of ideas buzzing around in my head and a few notes that I made before Black Jack Anderson came along and demanded my immediate attention. Isn’t that the way with pirates? They capture you, bind you up and don’t let you go until they get what they want.

In the Whaler’s Tunnel we do have a whaler, but not a pirate. The ghost of William Charles Ellery, who came to Fremantle on a whaling ship but died in a tragic accident not far from the mouth of the tunnel in 1860, seems to have made it his home. He was killed when the boiler exploded on board the boat he was using to ferry goods up and down the Swan River between Fremantle and Guildford. The explosion was heard all over the town and blew out the windows of several nearby buildings. Bits of jellyfish were strewn far and wide and I imagine that bits of Will Ellery suffered the same fate. My task for the coming week is to find out as much as I can about Will Ellery and his wife, Sophia Dent. She remarried in 1861 and left Fremantle to live, and die, in Irwin four hundred kilometres away.

Is the ghost of her first husband still sheltering in the tunnel, waiting for her to come back? Perhaps I will be able to tell you next week.

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