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”

The Mystery of the Zuydorp

In August 1711 the Zuydorp sailed from the Netherlands bound for Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).   However, after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, the ship vanished without a trace.    For more than 200 years the fate of the ship and all those on board her remained a mystery.  The Zuydorp wasContinue reading “The Mystery of the Zuydorp”

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”

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.”