April 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wahine tragedy, which claimed the lives of 53 people after the ferry ran aground in Wellington Harbour.
With 734 passengers and crew, Wahine left Lyttelton at 8.43pm on her final voyage and was due in Wellington the next day. In the run up the Canterbury and Kaikoura coast and across Cook Strait, conditions deteriorated. As the ferry entered the funnel of the Wellington Harbour entrance it was hit by Giselle’s high, strengthening winds and towering waves that were later in the morning estimated to be up to 12m high. More . . . .
A Perth family has made an extraordinary historical discovery after becoming bogged on a West Australian beach.
The message was dated June 12, 1886, and said it had been thrown overboard from the German sailing barque Paula, 950km from the WA coast.
A young English family of five, desperate to visit a sick relative back home, attempts to sail from Australia in a rubber dinghy; instead they take a 6,500 kilometre, nine-month detour via Indonesia.
That is the absurd plot for Melbourne filmmaker Alessandro Frosali’s next project — but incredibly, it’s a true story. More . . .
“The then 18-year-old had just learnt to sail but . . . “
If the world’s most famous physicist Albert Einstein is any guide, modern-day scientists need to get out of the lab more and onto the water.
Around 1900, a cheeky Swiss patent clerk wrote to a friend about four scientific papers he had been working on in his spare time. He described them as revolutionary, claiming they would one day modify the “theory of space and time”. More . . .
If you’ve been reading the news this year, we wouldn’t blame you for being curled in foetal position by the end of 2017.
They say history tends towards progress, but it can be hard to keep sight of this when we bear witness to violence and misery through a device that most of us carry 24/7. So to balance the doom and gloom, here are 12 good news stories you probably missed in 2017.
Australia is plunging headlong into catastrophe and we are utterly unprepared. In fact, we may be past the time when we can prepare.
The time-bomb is ticking and it will explode in our lifetimes. All certainty will be lost, our economy will be devastated, our land seized, our system of government upended. This isn’t mere idle speculation or the rantings of a doomsday cult, this is the warning from a man who has made it his life’s work to prepare for just this scenario. Admiral Chris Barrie was chief of Australia’s Defence Force between 1998 and 2002. He has seen war and sent troops into battle. Now, he says we are sleepwalking towards a conflict that will alter the world as we know it. Australia, he says, will be invaded. He fears for the country his grandchildren will inherit.
In the early 1960s Washington was a city on edge and the threat of a nuclear attack was not far from the minds of the powerful. It was a threat considered so real that boxes of medical supplies were distributed across America — intended to aid survivors of an attack for the days and weeks after the blast.
Today, the threat of an attack has resurfaced amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s missile capabilities.
[Ed: I looked for “Boganville” on the map but it is perhaps far too common to show up in one particular location.]
It’s time to clean up the map of Australia. Who knew there were such filthy-sounding destinations in Australia as Curly Dick Road, Glory Hole Cave and Intercourse Island? Ben Pobjie calls on the Government to clean up this country: we need a map of Australia that decent mums and dads won’t be embarrassed reading to their children.
The most powerful supercomputer in the southern hemisphere is being used to create a 3D reconstruction of the two shipwrecks involved in Australia’s greatest naval disaster.
After a short but fierce battle with the German raider Kormoran, HMAS Sydney sank in 1941 with the loss of all 645 crewmen. More. .
70 years after the disappearance of five planes in the Atlantic, Giles Milton investigates one of the world’s most enduring aviation mysteries.
The message picked up by the control tower was as bizarre as it was alarming. “Everything looks strange,” said the pilot. “It looks like we’re entering white water. We’re completely lost.” There were a few more crackles and then silence. It was December 5, 1945, and the five planes of Flight 19 – a military training mission from Fort Lauderdale, Florida – had vanished.
Colombia has announced it has found the shipwreck of a storied Spanish galleon laden with gold, silver and precious stones, three centuries after it was sunk by the British in the Caribbean.
President Juan Manuel Santos declared that “this is the most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity”, speaking from the northern port city of Cartagena, close to where experts made the hugely valuable find. Treasure hunters had searched for the ship for decades, described by some as the holy grail of shipwrecks. More. .
Australians who happened to be born in New Zealand are being rounded up, locked up in hard-core detention facilities, and marooned. What’s this about? What exactly is New Zealand’s relationship with Australia?
Typically I steer well clear of Politics’ however I have made an exception in this case.
On my regular morning news surf I came across an article that exposes the murky waters of the Tasman Sea and the creatures that exist on both sides of it. If you have surfaced too quickly from your deep sea dive then sorry you will likely be under the illusion that a friendly Trans-Tasman Brotherhood exists – well read on. This is one Link only. The Main Editorial is here
A menu for the last luncheon served to the first-class passengers aboard the ill-fated Titanic has sold for $US88,000 (about $125,177) at an online auction.
Stamped with a date of April 14, 1912 and the White Star Line logo, the menu included: grilled mutton chops; custard pudding; corned ox tongue; mashed, fried and baked jacket potatoes; a buffet of fish, ham and beef; an apple meringue pastry and a selection of eight cheeses.
The world is embarking on its sixth mass extinction with animals disappearing about 100 times faster than they used to, scientists warn, and humans could be among the first victims of the next extinction event.
Not since the age of the dinosaurs ended 66 million years ago has the planet been losing species at this rapid a rate, a study led by experts at Stanford University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley said. More. . .
A team of American explorers say they have discovered silver treasure from the infamous 17th-century Scottish pirate William Kidd in a shipwreck off the coast of Madagascar.
Marine archaeologist Barry Clifford told reporters he had found a 50 kilogram silver bar in the wreck of Kidd’s ship the Adventure Gallery, close to the small island of Sainte Marie.
Captain Kidd, who was born in Scotland in about 1645, was first employed by British authorities to hunt pirates, but he turned himself into a ruthless criminal of the high seas. More . . .
Auckland’s 175th birthday is being celebrated in style at Anniversary Weekend on January 24-26. At the formation in 1840 of what was to become New Zealand’s biggest city, a small seaside party took place – but thousands are expected this month to attend a multimedia event at Queens Wharf and a free three-day party, including a concert performed from HMNZS Otago berthed alongside the wharf, with fireworks from barges in the harbour and from the Sky Tower.More . . .
The typical Kiwi on Census day 2013 was aged 38, earned $28,500 a year, worked in a service job and owned his or her own home.
Three-quarters were European, even though the Asian population has doubled in 12 years to an eighth of the population, while Maori remained a stable one-seventh. A quarter of the population, including nearly 40 per cent of Aucklanders, were born overseas. But in many ways the changes were not as big as expected.
Home ownership fell marginally despite a seven-year gap since the last Census, couples were slightly more likely to stay together, and more people stayed in the same place they were in seven years ago. More . . .
It is 200 years ago this year since the first permanent European settlers arrived, at Maori invitation, in New Zealand.
To those on shore, it must have made an astonishing, even frightening sight. The animals that clambered onto the small stony beach in the northern Bay of Islands were like pigs but much bigger. A man sat astride one and was carried along.
The watchers had been told about this; Ruatara, who had lived in Australia, had come home with stories of animals on which a person could ride, but none of them had believed such things could exist.
So, in late December 1814, a crowd had gathered to watch these new Pakeha arrivals unpack their ship. There was much novelty on show: not only were the animals weird, but no one had seen European women or children before. More. . .
“The Wreck of the Hesperus” is a story that presents the tragic consequences of a sea captain’s pride. On an ill-fated voyage in the winter, he had his daughter aboard ship for company. The disaster came when the captain ignored the advice of one of his experienced men, who feared that a hurricane was approaching. When the hurricane arrives, he ties his daughter to the mast to prevent her from being swept overboard; she calls out to her dying father as she hears the surf beating on the shore, then prays to Christ to calm the seas. The ship crashes onto the reef of Norman’s Woe and sinks; a horrified fisherman finds the daughter’s body, still tied to the mast, drifting in the surf the next morning. Longfellow combined fact and fancy to create this, one of his best-known, most macabre, and most enduring poems. His inspiration was the great Blizzard of 1839, which ravaged the northeast coast of the United States for 12 hours starting January 6, 1839, destroying 20 ships with a loss of 40 lives. He probably drew specifically on the destruction of the ship Favorite on the reef of Norman’s Woe – all hands were lost, one of whom was a woman, who reportedly floated to shore dead but still tied to the mast.
The Union Steam Ship Company’s 8948-ton roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) passenger ferry Wahine, the largest ship of its kind in the world when completed two years earlier, left Lyttelton at 8.40 p.m. on the evening of 9 April. There were 734 passengers and crew on board. Storm warnings had been issued, but rough seas were nothing new in Cook Strait. As it turned out, the Wahine was about to sail into one of the worst storms ever recorded in New Zealand. More…
RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City on 10 April 1912. Four days into the crossing, at 23:40 on 14 April 1912, she struck an iceberg and sank at 2:20 the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. She set sail for New York City with 2,227 people on board; the high casualty rate when the ship sank was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. The error on the ship’s maiden voyage between Southampton and New York in 1912 happened because at the time – in the midst of the conversion from sail to steam ships – there were two steering systems and different commands attached to them. Crucially, the two systems were the opposite of one another. So a command to turn “hard a-starboard” meant turn the wheel right under the older tiller system and left under the rudder system. When First Officer William Murdoch spotted the iceberg two miles away, his “hard a-starboard” order was misinterpreted by the Quartermaster Robert Hitchins, who turned the ship right instead of left.. To compound that straightforward error, the captain was convinced by Bruce Ismay, the chairman of Titanic’s owner, to continue sailing rather than stop. This added enormously to the pressure of water flooding through the damaged hull, sinking Titanic many hours earlier than it otherwise should have.
On May 7, 1915, the RMS Lusitania, was on a New York-to-Liverpool run when it was attacked by a German U-boat 12 miles off the coast of Ireland. At 2:10 p.m., a torpedo plowed into the ship and exploded. Fifteen seconds later, a massive second explosion rocked the ship again. Within a mere 18 minutes, the Lusitania plunged 300 feet to the bottom of the Celtic Sea. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 were lost, including 128 Americans. The tragedy sparked anti-German fervor that eventually drew the United States into World War I.
Second Explosion theory – Ammunition on board in the form of up to 4 million .303 bullets, probably made by Remington in America and intended for the British Army. Ammunition that for decades British and American officials said didn’t exist.