Tom Dimer’s German father, Heinrich (Henry), ran away from an American whaler in 1884, with two companions; Newell and Erickson. These were the days when whaling was done with hand harpoons.
The men had signed their indentures in America and after many months at sea, the ship was in port at Albany getting supplies. The ship was about to take the long return trip to America. Henry had lived in America with his brother since he was sixteen, but he had no desire to return. It was now or never, so the men tied a change of clothing, food, canvas shoes and a tin of matches in a bundle above their heads and swam the five kilometres to shore. They landed on Middleton Beach.
They were found by Campbell Taylor. He had the Candinup property on the Calgan River and owned Thomas River Station, which is between Esperance and Israelite Bay. Taylor employed them all for four years. All except Newell kept a low profile, as they had a warrant out on them for abandoning ship. Newell returned to Albany before his arrest period of four years had expired, so had to spend some time in gaol.
To find out more, listen to the podcasts, or you can read the whole story in “Colourful Tales of the Western Australian Goldfields” book – available as eBook or paperback.