Saturday, July 16, 2005


Mystery shipwreck found off Gladstone Australia


By Brendan O'Malley
July 14, 2005

GLADSTONE, Australia -- THE last resting place of a century-old ship has been discovered off Gladstone, but the mystery of its identity may never be solved.

Twenty-one vessels that fitted the description of the ship were known to have sunk in the Gladstone area, Brisbane Maritime Museum chief executive Ian Jempson said yesterday.

Tests conducted by the CSIRO, using the national wood collection as a comparison, showed the wreck was made from spruce, pointing to a 19th century European ship.

"We know 21 ships sank off Gladstone or (en route) near Gladstone in that era, most of which were wooden," Mr Jempson said.

"According to our records, the Star of Australia went missing in a gale in 1865 while on its way to Rockhampton, the Young Dick went down with 170 people plus crew and Kanakas (South Sea Islander labourers) in 1886, and cannons and flares were heard off Yeppoon about the time the Eastminster disappeared in 1888."

But Mr Jempson said hundreds of wrecks were known to lie off the Queensland coast. Most discoveries were made during the 1960s to the early 1980s, corresponding with the boom in recreational scuba diving.

The Environmental Protection Agency would not reveal the wreck's exact location for fear it would be targeted by souvenir hunters, saying only that it lies within a 50km radius of Gladstone's harbour.

It also declined to say who found the wreck, which was reported to the EPA about five months ago.

An EPA spokeswoman said metal samples from the wreck would be tested for trace elements, in an attempt to glean more clues about its construction.


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