The Dunbar Tragedy – 1857

The loss of the Dunbar in August 1857 was one of the more tragic and distressing shipwrecks to occur in Australian waters.   On the morning of Friday 21 August people living in Sydney’s East awoke to find wreckage and mutilated bodies dotted along the rugged coast and inside the harbour mouth.   A large ship hadContinue reading “The Dunbar Tragedy – 1857”

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”

The CSS Shenandoah: Victoria’s link to the American Civil War.

On 25 January 1865 a large foreign warship unexpectedly dropped anchor in Hobson’s Bay off Melbourne causing considerable consternation in the colonial government.    The ship proved to be the 1160-ton, eight-gun auxiliary steamer CSS Shenandoah of the Confederate States of America and had pulled in to make urgent repairs.   Five years earlier the Southern statesContinue reading “The CSS Shenandoah: Victoria’s link to the American Civil War.”

The Plague Ship Ticonderoga

In November 1852 a migrant ship dropped anchor in Port Phillip Bay with some 700 passengers, many of them gravely ill.   The 1,200-ton American Clipper Ticonderoga had been chartered to bring immigrants out to start a new life in Australia, but the three-month journey to their new home proved a nightmare for many of theContinue reading “The Plague Ship Ticonderoga”

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”