San Francisco

Vessel Name: San Francisco

Pietro (Peter) Vinci
Drowned at Sea; Never Found
29 April 1926

Pietro (Peter) Vinci

Pietro (Peter) Vinci Immigration Photo

Antonino (Nino) Maisano Gravesite Picture

Antonino (Nino) Maisano

Candido Vinci, Son of Peter

Candido Vinci carried on the Fishing Tradition

The Marina

The Marina, Owned by Candido Vinci

Pietro (Peter) Vinci and Antonino (Nino) Maisano left Fremantle at 3 am in their fishing boat the San Francisco. The boat was likely a small locally-built boat, wooden sloop- or cutter-rigged owned by the 2 fishermen. Due to heavy weather, it had been 10 days since the Fremantle fishing fleet had sailed. They arrived off Rottnest Island between 10:30 and 11:00am and anchored on a fishing spot on the Fremantle side of the Island (near Dyer’s Island). They had been fishing for a few minutes when Vinci asked Maisano to go forward and ‘tie a rope to the anchor’ (West Australian, 30 April 1926: 10f). As he was doing this Maisano heard Vinci cry out for help, and at the same time the boat sank rapidly.Both men had been swimming for about 15 minutes when Maisano realised that Vinci had disappeared. The crew of the Doria, owned by the Minervini brothers reported that they saw the boat arrive off Dyer’s Island and prepare to start fishing. They reported it suddenly disappeared and proceeded to the spot taking 10 to 15 minutes to arrive. On arrival they saw Maisano clinging to a paddle. They took him onboard and began to search for Peter Vinci. Maisano was put aboard the Mary Ann and taken to Fremantle. The Doria continued the search for Peter Vinci until 2pm without success.

The first information of the accident to reach the Police was a telephone message from Mr. John Willis Fremantle Fish Markets at 2:30pm. Inspector J.C. Brown of the Fisheries Department with Water Police Constable A.L. Eacott onboard the Fisheries launch Kooruldhoo left Fremantle after 4:45pmarriving at Rottnest Island 6:45pm that evening. At about 12 midnight they set out over land to Parkers Point and patrolled the beach back to Thompson’s Bay. During their search they came across the crew of the Fishing boat Doria who were hauling their nets in closed waters, who recounted the events of the previous day. At 10:00am on the 1st May Brown and Eacott set out in the launch to search for the body and boat.At 11:00am they found the boat lying in about 10 fathoms of water about 1 mile East of Dyer’s Island. With the assistance of nine Italian Fishing Boats, they managed to tow the boat back to Bickley Bay near the Jetty. Newspaper reports had suggested the keel had broken, but the boat was found in good order, with the exception of damage done during the retrieval process. It was considered that the boat had been swamped by a wave coming in over the stern by a heavy ground swell, causing her to sink. Interestingly, the spot this occurred was away from any breakers and the sea was reported as very calm that day.

Pietro Vinci was born 31st March 1898 in Capo D’Orlando (Naso), Messina, Sicily – The Son of Candido and Providenza La Rosa.He married Maria Greco and they had 1 child – also named Candido. Maria Greco remarried Joseph John Caltabellotta in New York in 1945 and gave birth to 2 girls in America. Pietro had arrived in Fremantle onboard the MV Regina D’Italia on the 2nd October 1925. His listed Address in Australia on arrival was with his brother Calogero Vinci, later living in Nairn Street. His son (Candido) was born 19th February 1926 in Capo D’Orlando, Messina Sicily. Candido was largely raised by his grandparents and extended family. Candido arrived in Fremantle in December 1948 and continued his late Fathers’ legacy. Sadly, he never met his Father and was just 6 weeks old when he died. He began crayfishing with his Uncle, Cono, on the boat Fremantle. In 1965 he and his cousin, Tony, went into partnership and eventually built the boat Marina. That year Peter Vinci (the grandson) began fishing. Peter continues to fish onboard his boat the Sandra V, with his 2 sons Glenn and Michael.Peter’s maternal grandfather Leonardo Sgherza was also a fisherman who began fishing in Fremantle in the 1920s.

The surviving crew member Antonino Maisano was born in 1892 in Milazzo, Sicily to parents Giuseppe and Rosaria Amato. He arrived in Fremantle on the 17th December 1925 onboard the Citta di Genova. He died in Fremantle on 10th August 1964 from Pneumonia, after being hit by a car on Wray Avenue. Antonio lived most of his life on Manning Street with his sister Tomassa (Masina) Maisano and never had children of his own. In 1939 whilst rowing back to the Fremantle Fish Markets, approximately ¾ miles out he found the body of 40-year-old missing person Clara Vaughan of Beaconsfield. His sister Tomassa Maisano married Santo La Rosa and had children in Fremantle. Their family also had links to the Fremantle Fishing Fleet with their vessel the San Nicola.