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WRECK OF ROYAL CHARLOTTE LOCATED
A diving expedition organised by the Australian National Maritime Museum has located the remains of the Royal Charlotte, a convict and troop transporter that was en route to India with a contingent of troops when it sank in a gale on Frederick Reef, off Gladstone, on June 11, 1825.
The team of 24 divers, led by museum curator and maritime archaeologist Kieran Hosty, has been searching the ocean floor 450 km off the Queensland coast for the wreck since January 4.
Amongst items found at the site are timber, rudder fittings, anchor chain, an anchor and a cannon. After the ship sank with the loss of two lives, a party was sent to Moreton Bay while the remainder of the ship’s 100 passengers – soldiers and their wives - survived for six weeks on a sandy cay until they were rescued by a government brig. They built themselves a platform made of timbers from the ship to keep dry when the tide came in, and had completed construction of a boat ready for launch on the day they were rescued.
Mr Hosty said the shipwreck will offer insights into convict and troop transportation, and the salvaged items will be put on display at the National Maritime Museum after they have been examined and conserved. The Royal Charlotte was built in India of teak, and was first used in trade between India and Sydney for provisions and general supplies, and later for timber, coal, alcohol, horses and exotic animals.
The expedition to locate the Royal Charlotte is part of a larger project to examine the Anglo-Indian trade of the 1800s.
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