Bligh’s Epic Open-Boat Voyage

On 28 April 1789 Lt William Bligh was startled awake by the presence in his cabin of his first mate, Fletcher Christian, and several other HMS Bounty sailors threatening his life if he did not do as they ordered.   He along with 18 members of his crew who wanted nothing to do with the unfoldingContinue reading “Bligh’s Epic Open-Boat Voyage”

The Loss of HMS Sirius – 1790

The loss of a ship is always a tragedy, especially so if there is also loss of life.   But sometimes a shipwreck can have a profound effect beyond the actual loss of the vessel.   Such was the case in 1790 when HMS Sirius was wrecked off Norfolk Island. HMS Sirius sailed from Portsmouth on 13Continue reading “The Loss of HMS Sirius – 1790”

The Life and Loss of HMSC MERMAID

Between 1818 and 1820 the small cutter HMSC Mermaid played an important role in charting Australia’s vast coastline.   So, it is perhaps ironic that her last voyage should have been cut short on an uncharted reef off the north Queensland coast. The Mermaid was an 84-ton cutter launched in Calcutta in 1816.   She arrived inContinue reading “The Life and Loss of HMSC MERMAID”

HMS Torch and the rescue of the Ningpo castaways

While Lieutenant William Chimmo was preparing HMS Torch to return to survey work in the South Seas, he was unexpectedly tasked with an urgent mission.     Word had just reached Sydney that nearly 20 people had been marooned for two months on a remote island far out in the Coral Sea.   By chance, his paddle steamerContinue reading “HMS Torch and the rescue of the Ningpo castaways”

Matthew Flinders and the loss of HMS Porpoise – 1803

Shortly after Matthew Flinders completed his historic circumnavigation of Australia he was farewelled from Sydney to return to England as a passenger onboard HMS Porpoise.   To everyone’s astonishment, he returned a month later to report the loss of that ship and another on a reef far out in the Coral Sea. HMS Porpoise, under theContinue reading “Matthew Flinders and the loss of HMS Porpoise – 1803”