"My pen shall add a testimony to men noble and daring"; Poetry, Heroism and the Wreck of the SS Admella (1859)
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This examination attempts to claim the significance of a number of original poems written by nineteenth-century amateur poets in direct response to the wreck of the SS Admella and published in the days, weeks and months following the actual event on 6 August 1859. Situating selected works in the collection of verse contemporaneously termed 'Admella poetry' against the cultural backdrop of this maritime disaster reveals that these poems contributed to informing the colonial and trans-Australian mindset in response to the tragedy. 'Admella' poets responded to twin cultural upheavals affected by the disaster: the unprecedented communal response to the wreck as a colonial tragedy; and, the two-fold significance of the electric telegraph in both mediating the event as a real-life occurrence, and in mobalising communities in a collective experience of trauma, grief and commemoration.