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”

HMCS Protector 1884 – 1924

There lie the remains of an old ship on the Southern Great Barrier Reef which holds a fascinating story spanning almost 140 years.    The rusting hull now serves as a breakwater protecting the entrance to the boating channel accessing Heron Island, but its history goes back to 1884. Her Majesties Colonial Ship (HMCS) Protector wasContinue reading “HMCS Protector 1884 – 1924”

William Bryant’s Great Escape – 1791

It is an odd piece of Australian history that the first people to repeat Captain Cook’s voyage up Australia’s east coast were not other intrepid navigators or explorers, but a motley band of prisoners bent on escaping penal servitude. On 28 March 1791 William Bryant, a fisherman by trade, his wife Mary and two childrenContinue reading “William Bryant’s Great Escape – 1791”