The Mystery of the Peri

In February 1872 the crew of HMS Basilisk found fourteen men barely clinging to life on a derelict schooner adrift off the far north Queensland coast. The vessel’s name was not immediately apparent and none of the survivors spoke English. It was a mystery as to how the vessel came to be in those northernContinue reading “The Mystery of the Peri”

The Loss of the Sydney Cove – 1797

In May 1797 a fishing party returned to Sydney with more than their daily catch. They had found three shipwreck survivors south of Botany Bay who told them that the merchant ship Sydney Cove had been wrecked somewhere far to the south.  The survivors had trekked over 600 kms seeking help for their crewmates whoContinue reading “The Loss of the Sydney Cove – 1797”

Bligh’s Epic Open-Boat Voyage

On 28 April 1789 Lt William Bligh was startled awake by the presence in his cabin of his first mate, Fletcher Christian, and several other HMS Bounty sailors threatening his life if he did not do as they ordered.   He along with 18 members of his crew who wanted nothing to do with the unfoldingContinue reading “Bligh’s Epic Open-Boat Voyage”

The Loss of HMS Sirius – 1790

The loss of a ship is always a tragedy, especially so if there is also loss of life.   But sometimes a shipwreck can have a profound effect beyond the actual loss of the vessel.   Such was the case in 1790 when HMS Sirius was wrecked off Norfolk Island. HMS Sirius sailed from Portsmouth on 13Continue reading “The Loss of HMS Sirius – 1790”

The Life and Loss of HMSC MERMAID

Between 1818 and 1820 the small cutter HMSC Mermaid played an important role in charting Australia‚Äôs vast coastline.   So, it is perhaps ironic that her last voyage should have been cut short on an uncharted reef off the north Queensland coast. The Mermaid was an 84-ton cutter launched in Calcutta in 1816.   She arrived inContinue reading “The Life and Loss of HMSC MERMAID”