Pieter Weltevreden

Vessel Name: Swansea

Pieter Weltevreden
Drowned at Sea; Never found
2 December 1930

Police letter written to brother of Pieter

Police letter written to brother of Pieter

The Swansea was a fishing boat owned by Mr. Frank Miragliotta of Market Street, Fremantle. On board on 2 December, were Pieter Weltevreden and Donald Sloss, two very skilled and able fishermen.

Newspaper articles of the day state that Pieter Weltevreden was a Swede, however evidence in a letter written by his brother, Arig Weltevreden, confirms that he was born in Maassluis, Holland on 5 June 1896 and had been in Australia for some years at the time of his accident. It is not known if he held citizenship in Sweden, but letters found at his lodgings after his accident were translated from Dutch.

Donald Sloss was the son of a Constable Dinny Sloss, his father being noted as ‘a great expert line fisherman’ and Donald was reported as being a courageous and clever sailor, and a splendid deep-sea fisherman. He had been fishing with Pieter for about six months.

On the night of Tuesday, 2 December the Swansea set sail from Fremantle and anchored at Point Peron, Rockingham. Around 11 pm, Pieter and Donald returned in their dinghy from visiting the fishing boat, Oceanic, which was anchored about 20 yards from the Swansea.

It appears that in their haste to get back on board they neglected to tie up the dinghy which started to drift. Pieter noticed the dinghy drifting, grabbed a paddle from the Swansea and jumped into the water to go after the dinghy. After about three or four minutes, Pieter called out to Donald to throw a lifebuoy over to him. He threw a lifebuoy towards him but could not see him as the night was very dark. He called out to the crew of the Oceanic and two men in a dinghy came over to the Swansea.

They first secured the Swansea dinghy, which Donald then manned, and they both searched for around two hours with no result. After throwing the lifebuoy to Pieter, Donald said that he did not see or hear him again. Owing to the darkness of the night after around two hours the search was given up.

Donald again made a search at daybreak, but saw no sign of Pieter. He set sail for Rockingham and reported the matter to the Fremantle Police by phone around 7.15am.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Oceanic continued to search for some time with no result. At about 8am, after reporting the accident, he set sail for Fremantle arriving around2pm, giving a statement to the Fremantle police, Sergeant Healy, at 3.30pm.

Pieter Weltevreden was a single man, 34 years old with no relatives residing in Australia. He resided with a Mrs. Marriott of 59 Swan Street, North Fremantle.

Upon his death, the only property found was an old suit of clothes of no commercial value, which was destroyed and some letters written in Dutch.

A personal friend, Tony Shank of Owen Road, Hamilton Hill, a fellow Dutchman, translated the letters, which aided the investigation in determining any next of kin or owned property.

The Sunday Times, 7 December 1930, published an article warning residents in the metropolitan area who indulge in river and harbour boating to take a lesson from the fate of the fisherman, Pieter Weltevreden, who drowned at Point Peron.

Given his skill and experience, he still met an untimely death.

The quote below from the article sums it up perfectly:

‘The wicked old sea is, however, a powerful and relentless enemy, and can subdue the most powerful and most confident man who dares the deep’.

Pieter’s body was never recovered.