The Loss of the Sydney Cove – 1797

In May 1797 a fishing party returned to Sydney with more than their daily catch. They had found three shipwreck survivors south of Botany Bay who told them that the merchant ship Sydney Cove had been wrecked somewhere far to the south.  The survivors had trekked over 600 kms seeking help for their crewmates whoContinue reading “The Loss of the Sydney Cove – 1797”

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‚Äôs 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”

The Loss of the Sovereign – 1847.

When the 119-ton paddle steamer Sovereign foundered in Moreton Bay resulting in the loss of 44 lives, it was inevitable that people would want someone to blame.   But was it the fault of the captain, the unseaworthiness of the ship or just a terrible accident? On 3 March 1847 the Sovereign steamed down the BrisbaneContinue reading “The Loss of the Sovereign – 1847.”

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”