22 June 1994        20c, 90c, $1.80, $3.00                                  Mint and CTO        $5.90
                                                                                                          FDC                       $6.40

Technical Details

        Release Date:                    22 June 1994
        Tablet Values:                   20c, 90c, $1.80, $3.00
        Artist:                                Clive Abbott
        Printer:                              Walsall Security Printers Ltd
        Process:                            Lithography
        Paper:                               CA Watermark
        Stamp Size:                       30.56 x 38.00 mm
        Perforation Gauge:            14.2 per 20 mm
        Pane Format:                    50 (2 x 25)
        Mint and CTO:                 $5.90
        First Day Cover:               $6.40

Since that memorable occasion in 1790 when the "Bounty" was beached in Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island has been a haven to many shipwrecked sailors.

The first locally recorded shipwreck was that of the Wildwave when she was outward bound from San Francisco and struck the reef of Oeno Island in March 1858.   Leaving thirty men on Oeno the captain and six others sailed one of the ship's boats to Pitcairn which they found to be uninhabited, the population having been removed to Norfolk Island two years earlier.  With their small boat destroyed by surf shortly after landing they built a cutter under very difficult conditions using timber and nails from the vacant houses.  The captain and four men then sailed to Nukuhiva in the Marquesas where they met the American sloop "Vandalia" which took them to Tahiti.  The "Vandalia" immediately went to the rescue of the thirty men marooned on Oeno and those left on Pitcairn.  We are told that in San Francisco Maritime Museum there is a display featuring a picture of the 30' cutter built on Pitcairn, the Captain's pistol and the flag sewn on Pitcairn (the trappings of the old pulpit in the church supplied the red and a bit of blue calico taken from an old bedstead served for the background on which were arranged the white stars of the American flag).

In January 1875 the sailing vessel Cornwallis, homeward bound to Liverpool from San Francisco, visited Pitcairn.  The Captain, deciding to go ashore, took with him his apprentices and left the ship in charge of the first officer.  A short time after they landed, the ship was seen to be drifting towards shore, coming in swiftly and surely to destruction.  The poor captain half frantic, rushed to the landing place to launch his boat and put off to the ship which every moment was drifting nearer the rocks.  No amount of effort could save her and she soon struck some submerged rocks a few feet from the shore.  In a short time all the crew were safely landed.  Darkness was falling and with the rising wind it was deemed unsafe to return to the vessel.  Overnight the ship was lashed by gales and heavy seas, and ultimately little was saved but the ship's gig and lifeboat.  The next day the American ship "Dauntless" arrived and learning what had taken place, the Captain gave the crew of the "Cornwallis" passage to New York.

On 5 June 1881 the British ship Acadia, loaded with wheat, ran aground on Ducie reef.  After futile attempts to free her she was abandoned and the crew made a voyage lasting thirteen days to Pitcairn.  They were made welcome and after several months on the island were taken off by various ships.  One who elected to stay was Philip Coffin, the sail maker, who married and raised a large family, one of whom remains on Pitcairn today.  Another, Lincoln Clark (ex cabin boy), returned to the island, with his son Roy, in 1909.  Roy married Hyacinth May Coffin, a daughter of his father's old shipmate, and served as teacher and Postmaster on Pitcairn, subsequently followed in the latter post by his half-brother, Oscar.

There were no further recorded shipwrecks until 23 August 1883 when the islanders were startled from their sleep by the blowing of a fog horn and the sound of shouts from over the water.  Hastily launching a boat, the Pitcairners found a boat belonging to the barque Oregon bound from Oregon to Chile which had struck the reefs of Oeno.  Captain Hardy, having landed all his Chilean crew and three passengers on Oeno, decided to take three crew members with him and try to find a passage through the heavy surf that surrounded the lagoon.  Unfortunately, as the boat passed from the smooth waters of the lagoon into the surf, it capsized and the captain was drowned.  The rest of the party, following soon afterwards in another boat passed safely through the rolling surf and rescued the two survivors.  Upon reaching Pitcairn the crew and passengers were treated to the customary hospitality before being taken from the island before being taken from the island by the "Leicester Castle".

Text adapted from the writings of Rosalind Amelia Young and Roy Palmer Clark.