On May 25th, 2021, the Township of Huron-Kinloss was notified that pieces of a 19th Century shipwreck washed ashore some weeks ago at Point Clark Beach.
The Ontario Marine Heritage Committee (licence 2020-08) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) have launched archaeological investigations to gain further information about the shipwreck.
When notified of the find, the Bruce County Museum located in Southampton sent out two local marine historians who identified the shipwreck pieces as part of the Homer H. Hine, a schooner from the 1800s that sank off the shores of Point Clark.
According to renowned marine archeologist, Ken Cassavoy, the largest piece found is clearly from a ship centreboard box. “There is very strong comparative evidence for this identification, including some from a shipwreck at the long dock in Southampton.”
Cassavoy lead the excavation of the H.M.S. General Hunter shipwreck, a ship from the War of 1812, that was discovered buried on Southampton Beach in 2002 and fully excavated in 2014.
Further investigation of the pieces found at Point Clark Beach is expected and everything – including whether all the pieces found along the beach are from the ship – should become clearer after that.
Scarlett Janusas, a marine archaeologist with the Ontario Marine Heritage Committee who also worked on the General Hunter excavation, plans to return with Committee volunteers to Point Clark to document the pieces found and then to snorkel the shores for more.
Patrick Folkes, a marine historian who took part on the General Hunter project says that the main part of the shipwreck, that is probably still offshore, might have been broken up in a major storm resulting in pieces being washed ashore.
Folkes is extremely familiar with shipwrecks and marine disasters in the region having written several books, including ‘Shipwrecks of Tobermory 1828-1935, Shipwrecks of the Saugeen 1828-1938: a history of marine disasters of Bruce County – Clark Point-Tobermory-Owen Sound and the popular Diver’s Guide to Georgian Bay.
Like the General Hunter, it is expected that the pieces found will be buried in the sand where they were found as it is a natural preservative for the wood.
In the meantime, Huron-Kinloss is asking the public to respect the ongoing investigation and to avoid this area of the Point Clark Beach. No-one is to move, remove, or damage any of the shipwreck pieces while the investigation is underway. There are also apparent concerns with safety at this area as there are metal pieces protruding from the shipwreck and people should not touch or climb on them.