Sam "Yebble" Isaacs

Sam "Yebble" Isaacs as depicted in Sam, Grace, and the Shipwreck (Fremantle Press, 2011)

Sam ‘Yebble’ Isaacs was a skilled bushman and drover. His father was an African American whaler who arrived in the Busselton area on a whaling ship in the 1830s. His mother, Darinda, a Wardandi woman, died during childbirth. He was fostered by the Dawson family and grew up on their Westbrook property. 

While working as a stockman on the Bussell’s Wallcliffe property, Sam discovered the distressed Georgette at sea.  He travelled 20 kilometres to raise the alert at the Bussell homestead and returned by horseback. 

Assisted by Grace Bussell, Sam rode down the coastal cliffs and into the surf to rescue the passengers.  However, accounts of the rescue differ, with some stating Sam was in and out of the water numerous times, while Grace was sent to the shore as her horse was endangering the passengers. Other accounts claim that the duo rescued only some of the passengers, with the rest getting to shore via a rope lifeline. 

Despite his crucial role in the rescue, Sam's efforts were largely overlooked by the media. In contrast, Grace Bussell received widespread acclaim for her heroic actions. 

Focus questions:

Prev Next