Vessel Name: Excel

Mariano Indelicato
Drowned at Sea; Never Found
27 January 1898

A copy pf the police report into the tragedy

The police report covered the death of Mariano Indelicato

Mariano Indelicato left Bunbury on the morning of 27 January 1898, in search for schnapper using the hired fishing vessel, Excel.

On arrival at the “schnappering” grounds off Minninup, he anchored. At the time the weather was fine, though “the glass was falling”.

Two fishermen, Leo Kendle and Charles Rucks were fishing nearby, around three miles from the Bunbury coast onboard their vessel the Confidence. They were about two miles distant from Indelicato.

At around 1:30pm a heavy squall arose, and the fishermen set sail to return to Bunbury. On their way home they passed by the spot where Indelicato was fishing. Here, they saw a waterbag and an oar on the water, but no sign of the boat. They searched the area for an hour without discovering any sign of the fisherman, or the boat.

Upon their return they immediately alerted Bunbury Police. Mounted Constable Nesbit was dispatched to search along the coast from Bunbury towards Busselton and a wire was sent to Vasse to patrol from their Northwards.

On the 3 February, Jesse Gibson found pieces of wreckage on the west beach nearly opposite the punchbowls. The following day a small piece of wood painted blue, in appearance that usually covers the well of a boat was later recovered near Bunbury by Mounted Constable J. E. Vaughan. It was shown to Mr. Frank Wenn, the owner of the Excel, and he identified it as his property. No other trace Indelicato was ever found.

Mariano Indelicato also used the alias “Frank Brown”. He was likely born in Linguaglossa in Catania, Sicily where the Indelicato surname is commonly found. There is evidence he lived in the Eastern States as his name appears in the NSW government gazette residing in Broken Hill in 1891.