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”

The Appalling loss of the Grimeneza

On 3 July 1854, the Peruvian ship Grimeneza struck a reef at Bampton Shoals in the Coral Sea.    The Captain, first mate, ship’s surgeon, and four sailors immediately abandoned the ship leaving the rest of the crew and about 600 Chinese passengers to their fate. Twenty-eight days later Captain M.H. Penny and five others reachedContinue reading “The Appalling loss of the Grimeneza”

The Tragic Loss of RMS Quetta

In 1890 Queensland experienced one of its worst maritime disasters when the passenger steamer Quetta sank in Torres Strait in just three minutes with the loss of 133 lives. The R.M.S. Quetta was a 3,300-ton coal-powered, iron-clad steamer measuring 116 metres (380 feet) in length and could travel at a top speed of 13 knotsContinue reading “The Tragic Loss of RMS Quetta”

Diving for the Gothenburg Gold

On 24 February 1875 the steamer Gothenburg ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and sank during a ferocious storm with the loss of over 100 lives.   A fortune in gold also went to the bottom. That the Gothenburg had sunk with 3,000 ounces (93 kgs) of gold belonging to the English, Scottish and AustralianContinue reading “Diving for the Gothenburg Gold”

The Countess of Minto’s brush with Disaster

In 1851 two men pulled off a sailing feat few thought possible.   They had been the only hands on board the Countess of Minto when it vanished during a violent storm stranding the rest of the crew on a remote desert island.    Everyone thought the ship had foundered but four weeks later it sailed intoContinue reading “The Countess of Minto’s brush with Disaster”