Von Mucke’s Great Escape

Before the German Cruiser Emden was engaged by HMAS Sydney, a fifty-strong party was sent ashore at Cocos Island to destroy the telegraph station linking Australia to South Africa.   As the two ships exchanged shells in a battle that lasted ten hours, the shore party could do little but watch on and hope for theContinue reading “Von Mucke’s Great Escape”

HMCS Protector 1884 – 1924

There lie the remains of an old ship on the Southern Great Barrier Reef which holds a fascinating story spanning almost 140 years.    The rusting hull now serves as a breakwater protecting the entrance to the boating channel accessing Heron Island, but its history goes back to 1884. Her Majesties Colonial Ship (HMCS) Protector wasContinue reading “HMCS Protector 1884 – 1924”

William Bryant’s Great Escape – 1791

It is an odd piece of Australian history that the first people to repeat Captain Cook’s voyage up Australia’s east coast were not other intrepid navigators or explorers, but a motley band of prisoners bent on escaping penal servitude. On 28 March 1791 William Bryant, a fisherman by trade, his wife Mary and two childrenContinue reading “William Bryant’s Great Escape – 1791”

The Tryall: Australia’s oldest known shipwreck.

Some people might be surprised to read that the oldest shipwreck recorded off Australia dates back to 1622.   That is 148 years before Cook plied his way up the east coast.  Twenty years before Abel Tasman partially circumnavigated Tasmania.   Or just six years after the Dutch navigator Dirk Hartog nailed a pewter plate to aContinue reading “The Tryall: Australia’s oldest known shipwreck.”

The Wanderer and a Miraculous Rescue

Far out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a seaman on board a small schooner thought his imagination was getting the better of him.     It was daybreak on 5 February 1850.   His ship, the 140-ton schooner Wanderer was en route from Sydney to San Francisco and still under storm canvas having just survived aContinue reading “The Wanderer and a Miraculous Rescue”