Cape Schanck or Cape Schank What is Correct?
If you’re like me, you’re often making spelling mistakes when you write Cape Schanck Victoria. Of course I can spell Cape and Victoria – my concern is with Schanck. Is it Schanck, Schank, Shanck or Shank?
For a long time I use to write Cape Schank Lighthouse, but I had to catch myself and make the correction to Cape Schanck Lighthouse. I also updated my spell checker because it was confused as well. When you talk about a lighthouse or a geographical location; spelling is totally arbitrary. The correct answer is whatever they have on the map or at the post office. In fact, even maps differ depending on their origin and language.
How did Cape Schanck Victoria get its Name?
So, I did a little digging today on the history of Cape Schanck Lighthouse and looked at how it got it’s name. According to Wikipedia (so of course this is an indisputable fact) Cape Schanck was named in 1800 after a Captain John Schank. But wait a second, did this guy misspell his name when they marked the map??? Is it Schanck or Schank?
Wikipedia goes on to devote a whole page to this dubiously spelled Schank character because he’s eventually elevated to the status of Admiral John Schanck.
Apparently, Schank sailed past Cape Schanck on the Lady Nelson on one of the first expeditions east from Port Philip bay where they eventually sailed up the coast to NSW.
In passing, they decided to call it Cape Schanck, but really I wonder how they spelled it???
Another team led by the French explorer, cartographer, naturalist and hydrographer Nicolas-Thomas Baudin tried to rename the Cape Schanck to ‘Cap Richelieu’, but there’s no way that was going to happen.
Spelling Cape Schank gets even more Confusing
To make matters of spelling Schanck even more confusing, John Schank was famous for design of ships and fittings. Part of the purpose of the journey when they named Cape Schanck was to test the new keel design on the Lady Nelson.
Lady Nelson was built in 1798 as a cutter for mercantile service, and to the design of the cutter Trial. Like Trial, she was fitted with three Shank sliding or drop keels (actually removable centreboards). (The Shank keels were the invention of naval architect Captain John Schank.) The fore and aft centreboards were 3 feet long, and the centre one was 6 feet long. With them up the vessel drew only 6-7 feet instead of the 13 feet that would be more usual for vessels her size. The crew could drop the centreboards 7 feet through a relatively flat hull for stability in deeper waters.
Why would John Schank be famous for the “Shank Keels“? Is this again a misspelling or just a liberal example that just about any spelling is correct?
How do you spell Cape Shank?
- Cape Schanck Lighthouse,
- Cape Schank Lighthouse, or
- Cape Shank Lighthouse
You decide. My spell checker seems to have trouble with them all.