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Older Australians and Americans remember the Coral Sea as being the ocean where the tide of the Second World War in the Pacific turned, where the Japanese were repelled in one of the great and decisive battles of all time. It was the first time that a naval battle was staged between aircraft carriers and even more incredible in that the ships did not even see each other - all the action was taken by carrier based fighters and bombers. Control of the Coral Sea was vital to Australia’s security and on 7 May 1942 the Battle of the Coral Sea left the Japanese without 75% of its bomber pilots and planes. The loss was to prove critical to the Rising Sun in the South Pacific.

The Coral Sea is that huge 150,000 square kilometre expanse of the south-western Pacific Ocean that borders onto the northern Australian continental shelf. Anything east beyond the Great Barrier Reef can be regarded as the Coral Sea and it is here that great pinnacles rise from the ocean depths to form subsea mountains. Those that break the surface are seen as islands. Others form the base of huge atolls and reefs such as the Saumarez Reef complex to the south 375 kilometres off Gladstone, huge Flinders Reef over fifty kilometres across, and Eastern Fields right up north off Cape York. Osprey Reef is another superb reef system visited on occasions by dive charter boats. It lies  over 175 kilometres north-east of Lizard Island, 115 km off the Great Barrier Reef, and is a remote atoll complex 27 km long and 4 km wide. Ashmore, Boot and Portlock Reefs have are also huge and like most reefs, hasve claimed their share of victims.

Coral Sea Reefs are formed on the pinnacles of sea mounts rising from the Pacific Ocean bed and are not part of the Great Barrier Reef coral chain on the edge of the continental shelf. They can be several hundred kilometres offshore. Their formation is similar to atolls in the central Pacific but very few of the reefs are true atolls, nor circular in shape.  The reefs of the Coral Sea lies some 150 km from the Great Barrier Reef and accordingly should not be confused with the Great Barrier Reef as it is a distinctly different area with its own coral reefs.

The NORTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF is included in this listing for no other reason than that it is more remote than the central and southern section by virtue of its increasing disatnce from the Queensland coast the further norther it is. Included in this section are the various Detached Reefs, mantis rReef, Wishbone Reef, and also Raine Island. The wreck of greatest historical interest is that of the Pandora, returning some of the Bounty mutineers to England, wrecked north of Raine Island in 1791. The site was found by Ben Cropp and Steve Domm in 1977 and has been the subject of several maritime archaeology surveys. The colonial sloops Porpoise and Cato, lost on Wreck Reef in 1803, are also of great historic significance.

The wartime wrecks of the Coral Sea battle are far too deep to be of consideration to divers and are not listed here (but should be - later). The reefs however have claimed many vessels as the listing demonstrates. Most are sailing vessels of the 19th century; lacking adequate charts and navigation instruments, their encoutners with the low reefs was not as exotic as the arrival of modern-day recreational divers. The largest vessels lost are modern, like the 5851 ton Italian steel freighter Antonio Tarabocchia lost in 1961, and the  7181 ton American Liberty ship, Francis Preston Blair, wrecked on the eastern edge of the Saumarez Reef in 1945. Generally, it is not so much the loss of the ships that is of interest, but rather the incredible stories of survival of the shipwrecked mariners, such as those from the 313 ton barque Charles Eaton, lost in 1834; the brig Maria, lost in 1848; and the wooden barque Peruvian, lost in 1841 with only one survivor. And we must not forget the tragedy of the Grimenza, lost in 1853 with over 650 lives lost, truly Australia's greatest civil disaster.

Loney [LQ] is the base, with Holthouse [HH1,HH2], and other lesser contributions. Byron has wrecksite information, but not included here as yet.
[110 records]


A.L.Johnstone. Barque. Wrecked near Bligh’s Entrance at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef while in company with the barque Port Wallace 15 July 1854. As the Port Wallace prepared to leave she ran aground but was freed several days later and resumed her voyage. After attempts to refloat A.L.Johnstone failed, she was burnt to prevent her being plundered which might have enccouraged the natives to attack defenceless ships.  [LQ],[LI]

Active. Schooner, beche-de-mer vessel. Had previously been involved in blackbirding. Wrecked on a reef at Stephens Island, 60 km north of Caldwell, 1871. The captain had arrived at Somerset, Cape York, to insure his cargo after successfully fishing in Torres Strait, and then sailed for Sydney. It was generally thought that the wrecking has been one of the ancient art of barratry. It was possible to insure goods at some ports (like Somerset) without witness to the goods being insured. The captain made claim on the insurance and was paid out. Later, the owners of the Active made a return trip to the vicinity of Stephens Island and returned in quick time with a full cargo of beche-de-mer, already smoked. [#HH2]
Also listed:
Active. Schooner. Ashore whilst collecting guano on Wreck Reef, GBR, 18 November 1871. [LQ]
Active. Schooner. Lost off Campbell Island, Queensland, 1870. [LQ]

Adelaide. Three-masted wooden barque, 331 tons. Built 1841. Captain Whitwell. From Sydney to java with coal, lost on the Great Barrier Reef, between Raine island and Olinda Entrance, 3 July 1866. All twelve crew except the captain made shore; two men who decided to walk south from Newcastle Bay were captured by aborigines but well treated and two months later were handed over to Captain Till of the schooner Policeman. [HH2],[LQ]

Aerd van Nes. Barque, 582 tons. Believed lost near Raine Island, 17 April 1854. [LQ]

Anne. Wooden schooner, 201 tons. When approaching Bird Island, Queensland, to load guano, ran on to a reef, wrecked, 23 July 1882. [LQ]

Annie. Schooner,  15 ton. After the master of the had been lost overboard during a voyage from Cooktown to New Guinea, her native crew attempted to return to port but ran her on to a reef, 1881. [LQ]

Antonio Tarabocchia. Italian steel freighter, 5851 tons. Built 1956. Struck the seaward side of Bougainville Rock, about 250 kilometres north-east of Cairns, mid-November 1961.  Tugs were unsuccessful and by mid-December the vessel, valued at more than $2 million, had broken its back. [LQ],[LAH]

Askoy. Ship, iron, 1616 tons. Wrecked in calm seas in the Coral Sea, 25 December 1911. The crew left her in two boats and reached safety. [See also Askay] [LQ]

Bellona. Whaler. Lost on Bellona Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, 1843. [LI]

Blue Bell. Schooner. Wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef north of Cape Melville, 1867. The crew landed at Cleveland Bay. [LQ]
Also listed:
Blue Bell. Beche-de-mer vessel. Captain Godfrey. One of many beche-de-mer vessel which raided Torres Strait island villages for crew and women, and plundering wrecks and villages.  [HH2]

Borough Belle. Brigantine, 210 tons. Built Sydney 1875. Deliberately run ashore on to Bellona Reefs to save life after being badly damaged in a gale, 30 January 1894. [LQ]

Bounty. HMS. See Pandora, 1791. [LQ]

Brazos. Wooden barque, 871 ton. Wrecked on Bellona Reef, Coral Sea, 7 June 1889. [LQ]

Bridgewater. HMS. East Indiaman, 750 ton. Captain Palmer. Was accompanying the vessels Porpoise, and Cato, when they were wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef, 1803. The Bridgewater, which may well have seen the stranded men, put about and sailed to Batavia (Jakarta) where she reported the loss of the Cato and Porpoise with all hands. When she left Batavia for England she was never heard of again.[LQ],[#NH].[ASW6],[HH2]

Canton. Whaler. From New Bedford. Reported lost on Minerva Reef in the Coral Sea, 1854. No loss of life. [LQ]

Cape Pillar. Lighthouse tender. The wrecksite of what was possibly the French frigate Duroc was locatd by by crewmen from the lighthouse tender Cape Pillar whilst diving on the wreck of a Taiwanese fishing boat.  [LAH]

Caroline. American whaler. Lost in the Coral Sea, mid-1865.  [LQ]

Cato. HMS. Wooden vessel, 430 tons. Built Stockton, England. Captain John Park. Left Sydney 10 August 1803, bound for Bombay or China, incompany with HMS Porpoise and ship Bridgewater. Ran on to a shoal now known as Wreck Reef, Great Barrier Reef, wrecked, 17 August 1803 (as was the Porpoise). For reasons never satisfactorily explained the Bridgewater made little effort to rescue them and later reported both lost with no survivors.  Crew eventually rescued by the ship Rolla and the schooner Cumberland.  [LQ],[NH],[ASW6],[HH2],[HH1],[ASW1]
@ Ben Cropp found the wrecksites of the Cato and Porpoise in 1965 after extensive research and only fifteen minutes of actual diving. [LAH]

Charles Eaton. Barque, 313 tons. Reg. London. Captain J.G. Moore. On baord was Captain William D'Oyley of the Bengal Artillery and his family. From Sydney to India, struck rocks near the Sir Charles Hardy Islands, twenty miles north of Cape Grenville, 15 August 1834. Six of the crew stole the boats and set out for Timor which they reached about two months later. Those abandoned made two rafts, then set out for the mainland. After days and nights of misery without food and water, they were captured by aborigines who murdered all except two young men, John Ireland and William Sexton, and the two young sons of the of the army captain. They lived with their captors for some months, being eventually sold at Murray Island to a native for a bunch of bananas. Their new owner treated them kindly and months later, when the schooner Isabella was making a search for the lost ship, only Ireland and four-year-old William D’Oyley had survived. They were handed over to the Captain Charles Morgan Lewis of the Isabella, who returned them to Sydney. The ship also carried back skulls believed to be those of the murdered passengers and crew. Captain Lewis took leave of absence to take the young D’Oyley back to England to be placed in care of relatives.

Chesterfield. Ship. Gave its name to Chesterfield reef, Pacific Ocean. [LI]

Chesterholme. Ship, 760 tons. Built 1852.  Wrecked near Raine Island, off Queensland coast, mid- April 1858. [LQ]

Chicken. Ketch, 15 tons. Lost in northern Queensland waters, 1919. [LQ]

Clarence. Whaling brig, 120 tons. Built at Clarence River, NSW, 1841; reg. Sydney 46/1841. Lbd 68 x 19.2 x 11 ft. Captain McCardell. Lost on the Chesterfield Bank, near the Bampton Shoals, 9 June 1844.  After a voyage of 600 miles in four boats the crew reached safety although some of the crew were speared when they landed on the Queensland coast in search of water. The whaleer Woodlark assisted in the rescue of one of the boats. The schooner Elizabeth (qv) was lost attempting to salvage the Clarence the following year. [LQ],[ASW1]

Colleen Bawn. ‘Kanaka vessel’, 62 tons. Disappeared in the Coral Sea while returning to Queensland from Ugi in the Solomon Islands.[LQ]
A ‘kanaka vessel’ is probably a black-birder, a recruiting ship for Pacific islanders, rather than a ship owned by a Pacific islander.

Conflict. Schooner. HM vessel. In 1881, went to Lizard Island to investigate the whereabouts of two white people who had settled on the island, Bob Watson and Mary Beatrice Phillips. From Mrs Watson’s diary they discovered that aborigines had attacked the group while Bob Watson was away. In January 1882, the schooner Spitfire (qv) brought back to Cooktown the bodies of Mrs Watson of Lizard Island, and her baby, for burial. Her recovered diarys gives a chilling account of the trauma she suffered in escapting from aborigines on Lizard Island in an iron tank, where she made the mainland 50 km north of Lizard, only to die of thurst. [#HH1],[#HH2]

Constant. Ship, 700 tons. Lost on Raine Island Reef, GBR, 12 July 1858. Apparently only five survivors reached the Peelew Islands and were later rescued. [LQ]

Coralita. Dive charter boat. Sank at Cairns following a mysterious explosion, 10 March 1992. The Coralita was one of the first charter boats on the Great Barrier reef operated for scuba divers. [LQ]

Corea. Steam sship, 606 tons. Wrecked on to E. Reef in Weymouth Bay, near Cooktown, Queensland, 10 August 1893. [LQ]

Coringa Packet. Barque, 230 tons. Captain F.B. Chilcott. From Sydney to Ceylon, wrecked  on what subsequently became known as Coringa Islets (Chilcott Islet), lying in the Coral Sea, 227 miles east of Innisfail., Qld, 8 May 1845. Passengers, all of the white crew, and a few Lascars, landed on a nearby islet; some set out for the mainland in three boats, but one capsized, drowning one passenger. The two remaining boats made Booby island where they found the crew of the wrecked Hydrabad. The schooner Shamrock, HMS Fly, and the cutter Prince George made their rescue. The colonial government chartered the schooner Frolic to pick up twenty-four Lascars left at the wrecksite, but found Chilcott Islet deserted. They had set out for the mainland on a raft, however seven died, the survivors being rescued by the schooner Heroine and the brig Spy.  [LQ],[HH2],[ASW1]

Cornelius. Brig, 247 tons. Built 1841. Lost on a reef in a squall four miles north of Raine Island, 3 September 1854. After several narrow escapes the crew launched the longboat and finally reached the Sir Charles Hardy Islands, where they were picked up by the barque Hamlet. [LQ]

Corozona. Yacht. Lost on Osprey Reef north east of Cooktown, Queensland, November 1990. [LQ]

Debut. Steel trawler, aprox 200 tonnes. Lay stranded on Emily Reef near Cooktown for more than 3 years with her captain still on board, 1987. [LQ]

Douglas. Schooner, guano vessel. All crew except the master and a boy massacred by aborigines on Chilcott Island, Coral Sea, whilst they were collecting guano. With only the boy as crew, the captain made sail and reached Port Douglas. A vessel was sent to the island but neither the aborigines, nor the dead crew were found. [HH2]

Duroc. French steam frigate. Wrecked on Mellish Reef, several hundred miles east of Queensland, mid-August 1856. Passengers and crew landed safely on a sandbank and three boats carrying thirty-three persons set out for Cape Tribulation, which was reached five days later. They replenished their water supply, then sailed on to Copang. The thirty-one left on the sandbank with four months provisions eventually constructed a boat and reached Timor within 28 days. [LQ]
@ Cannon and fittings believed to be from the wreck were found in 1977, following directions given by crewmen from the lighthouse tender Cape Pillar who came across the wrecksite whilst diving on the wreck of a Taiwanese fishing boat.  [LAH]

Eillan Donan. Brigantine, 270 tons. Built 1863; reg. Auckland. Believed lost on Chesterfield Reefs, December 1893.   [LQ]

Enchantress. Brig, 146 tons. Wrecked on Raine Island, Queensland, October 1887.  [LQ]

Enchantress. Brig. Captain L’Anson. From Sydney to Sourabaya, Indonesia, wrecked on a reef near Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef, 11 July 1850. No loss of life. The brig Lady Margaret assisted in the rescue. [LQ],[ASW1]

Euromedha. Barque, 345 tons. Built Sunderland, England, 1868. Struck the eastern edge of Bampton Reef and sank rapidly, 2 October 1869. Crew saved. [LQ]

Fatima. Ship, 441 tons. Built 1849. Captain Hardie. Wrecked  on Great Detached Reef, GBR, 1854. Crew rescued by the Dutch ship Bato. She picked up ten men from the wreck off Raine Island, then returned to the wreck to rescue those remaining. [LQ]

Flora. Ship, 259 tons. Captain James Sheriff. Wrecked on reefs off Raine Island, Queensland, l May 1832. The thirty-six crew and one elderly passenger launched the only undamaged boat and landed on a nearby island where they remained for two days before setting out for Timor which they reached. Captain Sheriff and the passenger went on to Madras in the Norfolk, out of Hobart.  [LQ],[HH2],[ASW1]

Florida. Freighter, 500 tons. Wrecked on Myrmidon Reef north-east of Townsville, Queensland,  9 June 1976. Crew of 12 rescued by H.M.A.S.Bayonet. [LQ]

Fotini Carras. Greek steamer, 4452 tons. Built 1918. Ashore, wrecked, on the South Bellona Reef in the Coral Sea, 7 July 1939.. The SS Australien rescued the crew and landed them at Rabaul.  Authorities believed an uncharted island caused by a submarine volcanic disturbance may have caused the wreck. [LQ]

Frances Walker. Barque, 396 tons. Struck uncharted shoal  north of Stead’s Passage and west of the Great Detached Reef, whilst bound from Hobart to Manila in company of barque Sultana, also lost, 26 September 1854. [LQ]

Francis. Schooner. Captain James Aickin. Involved in rescue of crew from the wrecked Porpoise and Cato on Wreck Reef, Great Barrier Reef, 1803. [HH2],[HH1]

Francis Preston Blair. American Liberty ship, 7181 tons. Built 1943 by the Marinship Corporation Yard at Sausalito, on the north west side of San Francisco Bay, which built a total of fifteen Liberty ships.  Lbd 422.8 x 57 x 34.8 ft. Wrecked on the eastern edge of the Saumarez Reef in the Coral Sea, 15 July 1945. She was attempting to outrun a Japanese submarine. She was used on occasions as a target by the RAAF, which dropped dummy bombs. [LQ],[LH],[LAH]

Freya. German steamer, 872 tons. Built Glasgow 1875. After leaving Cooktown, struck Osprey Reef, sank, 12 October 1882. [LQ]

Grimenza. Ship. Struck Brampton Reef, off Queensland, 4 July 1853. Captain William Collin. She was bound for Peru with eight hundred Chinese on board. The master, mate, doctor, bosun and several others left hurriedly in the best boat and after a voyage of 25 days, landed at New Ireland (PNG).  A second boat containing eleven hands also escaped, later picked up by the ship Sophia. They made for Mackay but were picked up and taken on to Calcutta. At least 650 of the coolies lost their lives. [LQ],[HH1 - lost 1854, 750 Chinese died]
This should rate as Australia’s greatest civil disaster, but that dubious honour is generally reserved for the Cataraqui on King Island, 1845.

Guichen. French brigantine. Ashore on Bird Island in the Coral Sea, 9 May 1886. Five crew drowned.  [LQ]

Hamlet’s Ghost. Small vessel built from the salvaged timbers from the whaling schooner Prince of Denmark, recked on Chesterfield reef in 1863. [HH1]

Harrier. Mission schooner, 120 tons. Ran on to F. Reef, GBR, near Cooktown and was lost, July 1891. [LQ]

Helen. Schooner. Wrecked on Portlock Reef, off the Queensland coast, 1860. The survivors reached Goode Island, where natives murdered the occupants of one of the boats. [LQ]

Henry Miller. Barque. Reported lost near Bellona Reef, Queensland, December 1868.  [LQ]

Hope. Decked cutter. Matthew Flinders and thirteen others reached Sydney on 8 September 1803, a journey of over 1000 kilometres in the open boat, after the loss of the Cato and Porpoise on the Great Barrier Reef. [ASW6]

Industry. Brig. Involved in the rescue of crew from the brigs Sun and Venus, lost off Eastern Fields, and Alert Island respectively, 1826. [ASW1]

Isabella. Barque, 734 tons. Built 1860. Wrecked on Chesterfield Reef,  4 July, 1875. One boat containing the captain and nine men set out for the mainland, six landed on an island and decided to await rescue while the seventeen Chinese passengers remained at the wreck. The captain’s boat was rescued but the other survivors were apparently forgotten. On 2nd January, 1876, only three of the six remaining white men were found alive when a schooner called at the island. Of the Chinese, ten were drowned, one died of starvation and one committed suicide. [LQ]

Island Queen. Schooner. Lost on the Great Detached Reef, 24 July 1854. The 27 passengers and crew crowded into the longboat and set out for the Australian mainland. After passing through the Barrier Reef near the Sir Charles Hardy group of islands they received some supplies from the barque Ellen, repaired their rudder at Tuesday Island, declined an offer to board the Dutch barque De Kyverheid and proceed to Batavia, finally joining the steamer Ann which took them to Singapore. [LQ]

Jane. Whaler. Lost on Wreck Reef, Queensland waters, 30 November 1856. [LQ]

Jennie Parker. Ship, 1010 tons. Condemned after being badly damaged when she struck the Bellona Shoals off Queensland, early February 1894. [LQ]

Jessie. Barquentine, 247 tons. Ashore, wrecked, in a cyclone, at Long Island in the Chesterfield Group, while loading guano for Launceston, 18 February 1893.  [LQ]

Jotun. Norwegian barque. Lost on Eastern Fields Reef, northern GBR, 14 June 1886. [LQ]

Kiaho Maru. Japanese fishing vessel, 230 tons. Wrecked on Mellish Reef 850 km north-east of Townsville, Queensland, 20 May 1962. Crew of 28 rescued by the Norwegian freighter Holthill. [LQ]

Kinsen Maru.  Japanese tramp steamer, steel, 4717 tons. Built Newcastle on Tyne, UK, 1905.  Foundered in heavy seas about 650 km east of Bowen, Queensland, 13 March 1933. Twenty-five men, including the master, lost their lives. Thirteen survivors were picked up by the Hide Maru, bound from Japan to Geelong. [LQ],[LAH]

Kyoten Maru. Japanese vessel, 8467 tonnes. Grounded on Lihou Reef in the Coral Sea, 25 May 1982.  Two days later, before salvage vessels arrived, the ship slid off the reef and sank in about 500 metres. No lives lost. [LQ]

Lady Margaret. Brig. Involved in rescue - see brig Enchantress, off Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef, 1850. [ASW1]

Lion. Whaler. Ran on to Wreck Reef, Queensland waters, 30 November 1856. The crew reached Wide Bay three days later. [LQ]

Lone Star. Schooner, 151 tons. Built 1864. Wrecked on Wreck Reef, Queensland, 10 September 1871. The crew from the whaling station on Bird Island helped salvage her gear and the captain and three members of the crew set out for Keppel Bay. [LQ]

Madeira Packet. Schooner, 108 tons. Captain Arnold. Left Sydney for New Zealand on a whaling cruise, on 4 September 1831; wrecked on Bampton Reefs, north of the Chesterfield Reefs, 575 miles due east of Bowen, Queensland, December 1831. The crew took to three boats; two it safely to Moreton Bay, the third disappeared. It appears that Captain Arnold had died on board before her loss.  [LQ],[ASW1],[LSS]

Mahaica. Barque, 256 tons. Built 1837. Captain Stanton. Struck Wreck Reef, 1 April 1854. The crew set out for the mainland about 300 miles away. [LQ]

Malekula. Auxiliary schooner, wooden, 105 tons. Lost on Bampton Reef, GBR, after being run ashore when her cargo of copra caught fire, 1910. [LQ]

Marcia. Schooner. Captain James Aickin. Returned to Wreck Reef, Great Barrier Reef, in April 1804 to salvage was he may from Matthew Flinder’s vessel Porpoise and Cato, wrecked the previous year. [#HH2],[HH1]

Maria. Wooden brig, 156 tons. Built Pembroke, Maine, USA, 1848. Operated in Victorian waters in the 1850s under Captain Bain. Under a hastily appointed master, Thomas Stratman, wrecked on Bramble Reef about thirty miles east of Cardwell, Queensland, 26 February 1872. Inspired by tales of treasure, a group of seventy-six adventurers each contributed £10 to form the New Guinea Prospecting Association, purchased the old vessel named Maria, then left Sydney on 25 January very poorly equipped and with only four of the crew experienced seamen. When outside the Great Barrier Reef she was battered by a succession of gales and went on to the reef. Soon after she struck Bramble reef, 50 km east of Cardwell, the captain and six men launched a boat and set out for help while those on board who had not panicked or become drunk on the spirits she carried, set about building two rafts. Suddenly, without warning, the Maria slid off the reef into deep water. Many drowned or were taken by sharks; those who made the boats reached the mianland where some were helped by friendly aborigines, others in a second raft were murdered. Four survivors from the captain’s boat also reached Cardwell and described how they had been attacked by natives and some of their number, including the captain, were killed. Of the seventy-six who left Sydney, thirty-six lost their lives, drowned or killed by aborigines. SS Tinonee sent to examine the wrecksite, finding no one left, however four were located on shore. Vessels Governor Blackwell, Peri and Basilisk also sent to look for survivors.   [#HH2],[LQ],[LPA],[#MJ],[#HH1],[LAH]

Marion. Schooner. Lost on No. 3 Reef, Lark Passage, near Cooktown, Queensland, March 1889.  [LQ]

Martha Ridgway. Barque, 621/513 tons. Built Liverpool, UK, 1804; reg. Liverpool. Captain Henry Webb. Struck the reef which now bears her name about 60 km south-east of Cape Grenville, Queensland, 7 July 1842. She was at the time carrying members of the 50th Regiment, bound foir Bombay. Possibly eight lives lost. Pieces of the wreck were used in the construction of a beacon for shipping on Raine Island in 1844. The survivors were rescued by the vessel John Brewer.  [LQ],[#HH2],[HH1],[ASW1]

Matefele. (Matafele)Steam ship, inter-island trader, 335 tons. Built Hong Kong 1938; owned by Burns, Philp & Company. Requisitioned by the RAN in 1943. Left Townsville for Milne Bay, PNG, on 18 June 1945, and  failed to arrive. Manned by a crew of four officers, 20 ratings, 13 natives, and carrying 250 tons of military equipment. An extensive sea and air search located wreckage over a wide area and confirmed her loss. Some believed poor loading of cargo caused her to founder, others that she may have been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.  [LQ],[LAH - Matafele]

Mermaid. Schooner, 84 tons. Built of teak in India 1816. Lbd 56 x 18 x 6 ft. Captain S. Nolbrow. Abandoned after striking a reef near Frankland Reef, Queensland, 13 June 1829. After eleven days in the boats the crew were picked up by the Admiral Gifford and later transferred to the brig Swiftshire. However, within a few hours the Swiftshire was also wrecked and both crews again forced to take to the boats. They were eventually picked up by the Resource and landed at Port Raffles on 20th July. [LQ],#ASW1]
In 1819, found the wreckage of the Frederick in the Flinders Group near the western head of Bathurst Bay, Queensland, lost in 1818. [HH2]
Possibly Franklin Reef, which is in the middle of Second 3 Mile Entrance, Great Barrier Reef, off Cape Direction.

Mindini. Steam ship, 2065 tons. Struck Mellish Reef when bound from Tulagi to Brisbane, 8 March 1923. The passengers and crew abandoned her and remained on a small islet until SS Nauru Chief took them off.  Later, they transferred to the Morinda, which landed them at Cairns.  [LQ]

Ningpo. Schooner. Wrecked on a reef in the Coral Sea, 1854. The crew and passengers landed on a small island and fitted out a small boat for an attempt to reach the Queensland coast. Eighteen remained on the island and three set out for help. When they landed near Wide Bay, natives attacked and left them injured and unconscious on the beach, where they were found by a friendly tribe which helped them to Brisbane. H.M.S.Torch was despatched to rescue those still on the island. [LQ]

Norfolk. Involved in rescue - see ship Flora, lost Raine Island, Qld, 1832. [ASW1]

Oliver van Noord. Lost on Kenn Reef, 7 January 1858. Crew rescued. Lost within a few hours of the barque Rodney being wrecked on the same reef. [LQ]

Oriental. Wooden ship, 507 ton. Lost at the Olinda Entrance in the Great Barrier Reef, June 1843. Some of the crew were killed by aborigines but the survivors eventually reached Sydney. [LQ]

Pandora. HMS, 24-gun frigate. Built in 1779. Captain Edward Edwards. Struck coral when attempting to pass through the Great Barrier Reef about fifty miles off the mainland, north of Raine Island, and eventually sank, on the night of 26th August, 1791. She was returning to England from Tahiti with fourteen captured mutineers from HMS Bounty. The prisoners, leg-ironed and imprisoned in a small box-like prison on deck, were left confined even when the ship heeled over and began to sink. At the last moment, two members of the crew on their own initiative opened the hatches, allowing some to escape, but four were drowned along with thirty-one of the Pandora's crew. The ninety-one survivors managed to land on a small island and they eventually reached Timor about mid-September, then sailed to Batavia.  [LQ],#MJ],[#HH2],[HH1],[ASW1]
@ The Pandora was discovered on 15 November 1977 virtually simultaneously by independent explorers Ben Cropp and Steve Domm.. The Commonwealth of Australia declared it a historic shipwreck in November of the same year. Commonwealth financial support of $60,000 was provided for a survey and excavation during October/December 1983 of the wrecksite. The wreck is spread over about 40m, on a gently sloping bed of coarse white sand in 30m. Maritime archaeologists from the WA Musuem and other states, and amateur divers, joined the staff of the Queensland Museum in 1983 for the first major expedition to the site. The Pandora has a special significance for archaeologists, since it is one of the best preserved shipwrecks in Australian waters. The site is now protected as an historic shipwreck and unauthorised access within the protective zone area is prohibited. [LAH]

Papua. German steamer. Wrecked on Osprey Reef, GBR,  9 December 1885. Crew saved. [LQ]

Peruvian. Wooden barque, 304 tons. Built Arbroath, Scotland 1841. Master and part-owner Pitkethly (Pitceathley). Wrecked due to heavy weather vicinity of Bellona or Minerva Reefs, about 500 miles off the Queensland coast. She had left Sydney for Lima and China on 24 February 1846 with a cargo of timber, the captain and his wife, six passengers and fifteen crew. The fate of the vessel and crew remained a mystery for seventeen years. Heavy seas swept the mate and a boat he was attempting to launch away while the remaining boats were soon destroyed. The 22 survivors launched a hurriedly built raft and were swept to the west through the Barrier Reef. Forty-two days later, after fourteen had died from thirst and exposure, land was reached near Cape Cleveland. Three more died soon after struggling ashore but the four remaining were reasonably well treated by the aborigines. However, within a few months only the carpenter, James Murrell (Morrill), survived. He remained with the aborigines for seventeen years. The Peruvian was found by two vessels: Captain Russell of the American whaler Pleiades boarded her on 28 May 1846, and set the wreck alight to prevent her from becoming a shipping hazard. Captain Barr of the Lucy Ann sighted her mid-June 1846.  [LQ],[LI],[NH],[#HH2],[#HH1],[ASW1],[LAH]

Petrel. Schooner. Disappeared while on a voyage to recruit native labour in the New Hebrides, 1873. It is believed she was lost in a cyclone during the return voyage to Australia, but did not discount the possibility that she had been seized and the crew murdered. [LQ]

Pleiades. American whaler. Captain Russell. Found the wrecked barque Peruvian (qv) on a coral reef,  boarded her on 28 May 1846, and set the vessel alight to prevent her from becoming a shipping hazard. [ASW1]

Porpoise. HMS. Colonial sloop, ten guns, 308 tons. Originally the Infanta Amelia, taken from the Spaniards in 1799. Lbd 93 x 27-11 x 12-3 ft. Captain Robert Fowler. Left Sydney 10 August 1803 in company wwith ship Cato and ship Bridgewater. Ran on to a shoal now known as Wreck Reef, Great Barrier Reef, wrecked, 17 August 1803 (as was Cato). For reasons never satisfactorily explained the Bridgewater appears to have made little effort to rescue them and later reported both ships lost with no survivors. Matthew Flinders was on board, returning to England with his charts and logbooks. Flinders and Captain Park, master of the Cato, decked a cutter which had been saved from the wreck, named it Hope, and completed a hazardous voyage back along the coast to Sydney to seek assistance for the survivors still marooned on the reef who were eventually rescued by the ship Rolla and the schooner Cumberland.  [LQ],[#NH],[ASW6],[HH2],[HH1],[ASW1],[LAH]
@ Ben Cropp found the wrecksites of the Cato (qv) and Porpoise  in 1965 after extensive research and only fifteen minutes of actual diving.

Prince George. HMS revenue cutter. Brought a working part of convicts to Raine Island to built the beacon, May 1844. [HH2],[HH1]

Prince of Denmark. Schooner, whaler, 69 tons. Built in 1789. Captain J.B. Bennett. Wrecked during a gale while approaching Chesterfield Reef, Pacific Ocean, 19 March 1863. The crew used the remains of the whaler to build a new boat, (which they called Hamlet’s Ghost), then set sail for Brisbane, leaving eleven native members of the crew on the reef with provisions for about eighteen months. They made Moreton bay on 17 June. The  boat was later converted to a pleasure yacht. (No record of what happened to the eleven natives). [LQ],[HH2],[HH1]

Queen Christina. Steam ship, British, 3596 tons. Built 1896. Ashore in a cyclone on the Lihou Reefs, 230 miles outside the Great Barrier Reef, Pacific Ocean, 23 December 1899. No loss of life.  [LQ]

Rio Packet. Barque. Wrecked on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef near Raine Island, 13 June 1852. The master and two men left the wreck in a boat but were not seen again; but the mate and six seamen were rescued from the reef by the barque George.  [LQ]

Rodney. Barque. Lost on Kenn Reef, 7 January 1858. Crew rescued. Lost within a few hours of the ship Oliver van Noord being wrecked on the same reef. [LQ]

Royal Charlotte. Ship, 471 tons. Arrived at Sydney from England with convictss on 29 April 1825. Under Captain Corbyn, sailed from Sydney for Batavia with troops on 11 June 1825. Struck Frederick Reef about 300 miles east of Mackay, Qld, 20 June 1825. Two lives lost; the survivors reached the shore with water and provisions. Late in July her long boat reached Moreton Bay and the brig Amity was despatched to the scene. [LQ],[ASW1]

Sapphire. Wooden ship, 749 tons. Came to Australia from Liverpool, arriving 1859. Captain Bowden. Sailed from Sydney to Gladstone where she took on horses for Madras, leaving 8 September 1859. Wrecked on a reef near Raine Island, Queensland, 22 September 1859. The crew took to the boats but while passing through Torres Strait they were attacked by natives with several crew killed. One boat sighted a derelict near the Sir Charles Hardy Islands and recognised her to be the Liverpool ship Marina, which they had last seen at Sydney. They repaired her and spent three hazardous months sailing her to Port Curtis. After being further repaired at Gladstone, she foundered off Cape Moreton, 1860, when sailing for Sydney. No lives lost. Her loss is associated with the mysterious origin of a cannon later rumoured to have been lost by the Spaniard De Quirros.
[HH2],[LQ],[LI indicates barque rig, lost 1858],[HH1],[LAH]

Sarah Moers. Bbarque. Lost in the Coral Sea. [LQ]

Sarah S. Ridgeway. American barque, 831 tons. Lost on Bellona Reef in the Coral Sea, 29 January 1895. No loss of life.  [LQ]

Sibly. Blackbirder. Left for the Solomon Islands, but then on the return from Guadalcanal in April disappeared without trace, early 1902. Crew of sixteen.  [LQ]

Siskin. Ketch, 41 tons. Lost on the Chesterfield Group in the Coral Sea, early November 1896.  [LQ]

Sophia. Schooner. Owned by Robert Towns. Deliberately ashore in a sinking condition, wrecked, off the North Queensland coast, January 1854. All hands, including the master, fifteen Malays and two women, left in the boats. They lived on a scant supply of shellfish for twenty days before being picked up by a Dutch barque. [LQ]
In 1853, under Captain Sagast, involved in rescue - see ship Grimeneza, lost on Brampton Reef. [HH1]

Stata. Brig. Lost near Great Detached Reef, GBR, August 1853. Crew picked up by barque Amigos. [LQ]

Sultana. Barque, 230 tons. Struck uncharted shoal  north of Stead’s Passage and west of the Great Detached Reef, whilst bound from Hobart to Manila in company of barque Frances Walker, also lost, 26 September 1854. [LQ]

Swiftsure. Brig,  337 tons. Built France, 1810, as the Inconstant. Reg. London. Presumably she had been taken as a prize by the British. Captain Johnson. Has rescued some crew from the wrecked Mermaid near Frankland Reef, Queensland when within a few hours she was also wrecked and both crews again forced to take to the boats, June 1829. They were eventually picked up by the Resource and landed at Port Raffles on 20th July. [LQ],[ASW1]
Possibly Franklin Reef, which is in the middle of Second 3 Mile Entrance, Great Barrier Reef, off Cape Direction.

Tamar. Barque. Lost near Chesterfield Reefs, Pacific Ocean, 1870. [LQ]

Thomas King. Barque, 346 tons. Built for the West Indian sugar run, then taken to Australia for the gold rush. Captain J.H. Walker. With a crew shanghaied with the help of local police, because the original crew from England had deserted for the gold fields, left Sydney on 4 April 1852 for the Philippines and China with a cargo of sugar and spirits. Wrecked on a reef east of Cato Reef, Queensland, 17 April 1852. Some of the crew killed by aborigines. Captain Walker survived. Some of the men were rescued by the whaler Lady Blackbird. When lost, the Thomas King was carrying £3,500 in specie and £8,000 in gold dust.  [LQ],[#HH2]

Tynemouth. Barque, 318 tons. Built 1867. Carry coal from Newcastle to Mauritius, ran on to a reef inside Raine Island, abandoned, 26 August 1869. Crew saved by the beche-de-mer schooner Georgina Godfrey. [LQ],[HH1]

Venture. Schooner, 54 tons. Lost on Chesterfield Reefs, GBR, August 1879. [LQ]

Venus. Brig. Captain George Kilgour. Sailed from Sydney for Batavia on 21 June 1826; struck Alert Reef in the Coral Sea, l July 1826. The ships Greenock and Security, in company with her being a little to the windward, escaped by making sail after all hands were rescued by the brig Industry, which also had rescued the crew of the brig Sun, lost off Eastern Fields. [LQ],[ASW1]

Waireta. Schooner, 99 tons. Ashore in heavy weather at Long Island in the Chesterfield Group, 21 May 1892. [LQ]

Western Star. Brig, 179 tons. Built 1875. Wrecked on the north-western point of Bampton Island, Queensland, 28 January 1878. Crew saved. [LQ]

Zwartz Zwaan. Dutch barque. Wrecked on the Great Detatched Reef near the Raine Island entrance to Torres Strait, GBR, 21 June 1858. [LQ]

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