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Kemp, Peter (1815–1898)

One of the Hawkesbury's old identities, Mr Peter Kemp, senr.—a man who had lived by the water's edge the greater part of his life, an expert swimmer and a good oarsman—was drowned last week through the foundering of the tug Little Nell, ten miles from Newcastle. The tug was proceeding to Newcastle from Sydney, having on board a crew of four, Mr Kemp being the only passenger; of the former, Captain Bastian was also drowned. The Little Nell left Sydney at 6 o'clock on Friday morning, and got into a rough sea about a mile from Redhead. A dense volume of water came over her lee rail, and she heeled over and sank in a few minutes, Mr Kemp, who was in the cabin, going down with her. Although 83 years of age, he was a hale and hearty man, and it is believed that had he been able to strike out he would have saved himself, as he was still a vigorous swimmer. He leaves a widow and a grown up family of eleven. Mr Peter Kemp, the celebrated oarsman, and Messrs W. and T. Kemp, are sons, as also Water Police Constable Kemp, of Newcastle. The engineer on the ill-fated tug, Mr V. Laing, who acted heroically in the water, and was picked up by the Dawn, bearing the dead body of the captain in his arms, was a son-in-law of deceased. Mr Kemp was proceeding to Newcastle to spend Christmas with his daughter, Mrs Laing. Much sympathy was expressed in Windsor and along the river when intelligence of the sad occurrence arrived. The Kemp family are well-known throughout the Hawkesbury District, where they are held in high esteem.

Original publication

Citation details

'Kemp, Peter (1815–1898)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 October 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]


12 August 1815
Ticehurst, Sussex, England


16 December 1898
at sea

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Passenger Ship