Transport: Maritime history

Queensland has an extraordinary and world famous maritime history, based on its immense coastline and the notoriously hazardous Great Barrier Reef.


Historical photo of HMQS Mosquito (SLQ Image no 1783)

The State boasts some 1800 historic shipwrecks pre-dating World War II, including

  • HMS Pandora (1791) an 18th century Royal Navy frigate;
  • HMQS Mosquito a Colonial Queensland Navy spar torpedo boat;
  • SS Yongala, one of the worlds best wreck dives and the gravesite of 122 people;
  • HMCS Mermaid (1829) which mapped the entire Australian Coast and was the first European recording of the Brisbane River;
  • AHS Centaur, which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off Brisbane in 1943;
  • A variety of other ships from clipper ships and iron barques to colonial trading vessels and steamers.

Maritime Heritage

Maritime Heritage includes more than shipwrecks. The remains of indigenous fish traps, rock art depicting vessels, submerged aircraft, ports, shipyards, coastal defences and other maritime infrastructure sites such as jetties and lighthouses all add to the colourful archaeological record of our past.

Research into Maritime history at Queensland Museum continues with analysis of artefacts from HMS Pandora, involvement with the search for and discovery of AHS Centaur and recent preliminary investigations of the remnants of the HMQS Mosquito.

Staff from the Queensland Museum investigate remnants of the torpedo boat Mosquito.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.