The Loss of the Sovereign – 1847.

When the 119-ton paddle steamer Sovereign foundered in Moreton Bay resulting in the loss of 44 lives, it was inevitable that people would want someone to blame.   But was it the fault of the captain, the unseaworthiness of the ship or just a terrible accident? On 3 March 1847 the Sovereign steamed down the BrisbaneContinue reading “The Loss of the Sovereign – 1847.”

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”

No Charts, No Worries

When Captain George Browning sailed the small schooner Caledonia from Sydney in December 1831, he intended to follow the coast north as far as the Tropic of Capricorn.   There he was to collect salvage from a ship that had been wrecked in the Bunker Islands and return it to Sydney to be sold.   But onContinue reading “No Charts, No Worries”

The Caledonia’s perilous last voyage

On a stormy December night in 1831, eleven desperate convicts seized a small ship at Moreton Bay and forced its captain to take them to a South Pacific Island.   But as the prisoners turned pirates climbed aboard the vessel, little could they have imagined that most of them were escaping one reign of terror forContinue reading “The Caledonia’s perilous last voyage”

Thomas Pamphlet and the Remarkable Castaways of Moreton Bay

Most Queensland school children are taught that the first non-Aboriginal people to settle in their state were convicts and their gaolers who arrived in September 1824.   But actually the first white-skinned people to live in what would become Queensland were three castaway ex-convicts who came ashore 18 months earlier. In 1823 Governor Brisbane sent theContinue reading “Thomas Pamphlet and the Remarkable Castaways of Moreton Bay”