The Tryall: Australia’s earliest recorded 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 earliest recorded shipwreck.”

The Loss of the Maria: A Cautionary Tale

If ever there was a cautionary tale warning of the perils of going to sea ill-prepared, it is that of the tragic loss of the Maria in 1872. The Marine Board inquiry blamed the captain’s poor navigation and equally poor character for the loss of the ship and so many lives.   But, the underlying causesContinue reading “The Loss of the Maria: A Cautionary Tale”

The Orete’s Robinson Crusoe-like Castaway

In January 1918, Donald Mackenzie found himself marooned on a tiny uninhabited island after his schooner sank during one of the most powerful cyclones to hit Central Queensland.   The tough 56-year-old Scott was a seaman on the Orete which had sailed from Maryborough bound for Mackay with a cargo of sawn timber.    They had noContinue reading “The Orete’s Robinson Crusoe-like Castaway”

The Appalling loss of the Grimeneza

On 3 July 1854, the Peruvian ship Grimeneza struck a reef at Bampton Shoals in the Coral Sea.    The Captain, first mate, ship’s surgeon, and four sailors immediately abandoned the ship leaving the rest of the crew and about 600 Chinese passengers to their fate. Twenty-eight days later Captain M.H. Penny and five others reachedContinue reading “The Appalling loss of the Grimeneza”

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”