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”

The Loss of the Enchantress: A first-hand account.

On 24 July 1850, the 146-ton brig Enchantress was wrecked while trying to pass through the Great Barrier Reef using the Raine Island passage.   Navigating the tricky passages leading to Torres Strait could prove challenging in those days.   Between 1791 and 1887 no less than 37 ships came to grief near Raine Island.   Many more wereContinue reading “The Loss of the Enchantress: A first-hand account.”

The Cambus Wallace: did a shipwreck split an island in two?

In September 1894 the 1600-ton iron barque Cambus Wallace ran aground on Stradbroke Island spilling its cargo of salt, Scottish whiskey and dynamite to be strewn along the beach.   Six seamen lost their lives in the tragedy and the wreck may also have contributed to the island splitting in two. The Cambus Wallace had sailedContinue reading “The Cambus Wallace: did a shipwreck split an island in two?”

Loss of La Astrolabe and La Boussole: a 40 Year Mystery

One of the great maritime mysteries of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the disappearance of the French ships La Astrolabe and La Boussole under the command of La Perouse.   They were last sighted leaving Botany Bay in 1788 but it would be another 40 years before the world discovered what became ofContinue reading “Loss of La Astrolabe and La Boussole: a 40 Year Mystery”

The Long Search for the Yongala

In March 1911 the SS Yongala sank during a powerful cyclone with the loss of 122 lives making it one of Queensland’s worst maritime disasters.   Despite efforts to locate the wreck, the ship’s final resting place would remain a mystery for almost half a century. The Yongala departed Brisbane on 21 March bound for Townsville.  Continue reading “The Long Search for the Yongala”