S.S. Maheno (1905 – 1935)

As anyone knows who has ventured across to K’Gari (formerly Fraser Island) the wreck of the old luxury passenger liner SS Maheno makes an imposing presence on the long sandy beach which serves as the island’s main highway. Swept ashore during a cyclone in 1935 on her way to a Japanese scrapyard, the Maheno wasContinue reading “S.S. Maheno (1905 – 1935)”

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”

The Douro and its Piratical Captain

In the 19th Century ship captains were often considered undisputed masters of their domain, especially while they were at sea.   Most, to varying degrees, kept a rein on their power, others ruled their vessels with an iron fist, and a few, like Neil Peter Sorensen, went completely rogue. In August 1885 a portion of theContinue reading “The Douro and its Piratical Captain”

The Loss of the Maria: A Cautionary Tale

If ever there was a cautionary tale warning of the perils of going to sea ill-prepared, it is that of the tragic loss of the Maria in 1872. The Marine Board inquiry blamed the captain’s poor navigation and equally poor character for the loss of the ship and so many lives.   But, the underlying causesContinue reading “The Loss of the Maria: A Cautionary Tale”

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”