The Loss of the SS Cawarra: Bad luck or an avoidable tragedy?

When, in 1866, the board of Inquiry into the Loss of the Steam Ship Cawarra handed down its report, it was met with some incredulity. For, after pouring over the evidence for six weeks, they could only conclude that the catastrophe was the result of bad luck. That was despite evidence presented to them thatContinue reading “The Loss of the SS Cawarra: Bad luck or an avoidable tragedy?”

The Cataraqui: Australia’s deadliest shipwreck – 1845.

Australia‚Äôs deadliest civilian shipwreck occurred on 4 August 1845 when the 803-ton barque Cataraqui slammed into rocks near Fitzmaurice Bay off King Island during foul weather.   On board were some 366 migrants and a crew of 43.    Of those 409 people, only nine made it ashore alive.   The Cataraqui sailed from Liverpool on 20 AprilContinue reading “The Cataraqui: Australia’s deadliest shipwreck – 1845.”

Surviving the Centaur sinking.

On a quiet Saturday afternoon on 15 May 1943, the senior Royal Australian Naval officer in Brisbane received a message stating that a USN destroyer had picked up survivors from the Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur.    This was the first anyone knew of the tragedy that had unfolded a short distance off the Queensland coast.Continue reading “Surviving the Centaur sinking.”

The Loss of the Duroc and the rise of la Deliverance

On the night of 12-13 August 1856, the French Naval steam corvette Duroc was wrecked on Mellish Reef about 800kms off the Queensland coast.   The Duroc was returning to France from New Caledonia where she had been stationed for the previous three years or so.    After the ship ran aground, some seventy people made itContinue reading “The Loss of the Duroc and the rise of la Deliverance”

Bato to the Rescue – 1854

In 1854 the Dutch ship Bato, rescued not one, not two, but three separate parties of shipwreck survivors whose ships had come to grief in separate encounters with the Great Barrier Reef.   In the space of a few weeks, these three ships all ran aground trying to negotiate the dangerous reef strewn waters leading toContinue reading “Bato to the Rescue – 1854”