The Ponkaree was a wooden three-masted schooner which was built in 1872 by Captain Carl H. F. Kruse by remodelling an older vessel, the Wankarey. It was about 17 metres long. On Friday 1 March 1872 the following report appeared in the Southern Argus.
“Dick Cremer’s papers in the South Australian Archives indicate that Captain Kruse sailed down the Coorong in 1867 with the Government surveyors, and that during the 1870s the Captain sailed down the Coorong in the schooner Punkeri once a week to Salt Creek, with chaff for the horses working on the road from Salt Creek to Naracoorte.
“H. Noles reported that during the 1870 flood the Punkeri sailed from Milang jetty, across Lake Alexandrina, and out of the lake by the Blind Creek, nine miles south of Wellington, across to Cooke’s Plains to load a cargo of wool for Archie Cooke. Punkeri then sailed to Goolwa, where the wool was transferred to Victor Harbor, and shipped to England.
“The Punkeri spent the next twenty years working on the lakes. On her last voyage in 1890, Captain Kruse was carrying a load of fencing wire for T. R. Bowman, when the load moved, causing the vessel to leak. The Punkeri managed to make her way to the West side of Milang jetty, where she sank.
“…Captain Carl Kruse died in 1911, aged eighty-eight, and was buried in the Milang Cemetery. His son H. C. F. (Fardie) Kruse, born in 1864, started his river career with his father on the Punkeri, later working on the steamer Dispatch as deck hand.”
Alexandrina’s Shore (Edited by Jim Faull) page 89