The Caledonia’s perilous last voyage

On a stormy December night in 1831, eleven desperate convicts seized a small ship at Moreton Bay and forced its captain to take them to a South Pacific Island.   But as the prisoners turned pirates climbed aboard the vessel, little could they have imagined that most of them were escaping one reign of terror forContinue reading “The Caledonia’s perilous last voyage”

The Tragic Loss of RMS Quetta

In 1890 Queensland experienced one of its worst maritime disasters when the passenger steamer Quetta sank in Torres Strait in just three minutes with the loss of 133 lives. The R.M.S. Quetta was a 3,300-ton coal-powered, iron-clad steamer measuring 116 metres (380 feet) in length and could travel at a top speed of 13 knotsContinue reading “The Tragic Loss of RMS Quetta”

Diving for the Gothenburg Gold

On 24 February 1875 the steamer Gothenburg ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and sank during a ferocious storm with the loss of over 100 lives.   A fortune in gold also went to the bottom. That the Gothenburg had sunk with 3,000 ounces (93 kgs) of gold belonging to the English, Scottish and AustralianContinue reading “Diving for the Gothenburg Gold”

The Peruvian’s Lone Survivor

There is a modest memorial standing in the Bowen Cemetery in North Queensland dedicated to James Morrill who died on 30 October 1865.   The plaque credits him as a sailor who had survived the loss of his ship and subsequently lived with the local Aborigines for the next seventeen years. The 22-year-old Morrill sailed fromContinue reading “The Peruvian’s Lone Survivor”

The Endeavour’s Crappy Repair

As the Endeavour famously made its way up Australia’s east coast in 1770, there was a moment when the success of Cook’s voyage hinged on a pile of animal dung, some wool fibre and a coil of old rope.    The incident took place shortly after passing Cape Tribulation, so named by Cook because that wasContinue reading “The Endeavour’s Crappy Repair”