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On the fine, clear morning of 9 October 1867, the 367 iron paddle steamer Telegraph ran onto rocks offshore from Camden Haven.  It was a significant loss as the steamer was regarded as "one of the finest and decidedly the fastest operating" on the coast.

Owned by the Australasian Steam Navigation Company (ASN), a later inquiry alluded to a misunderstanding over who was in command at the time.  Captain Fitzsimons was adamant that the Chief Officer, Rozea, had charge of the boat and that he was too near the land. As Captain Fitzsimons came on deck he exclaimed, "Good God Rozea, you are too close in!". The captain later suggested that perhaps the passengers had coerced the Chief Officer to steer inshore, so as to view the wreck of the Prince of Wales.  In any event, the Telegraph grounded on the rocks, allowing passengers and crew to row ashore.  One passenger took great pains to guard his cargo of sheep once they had swum from the wreck. 

In time the steamer broke in two although some cargo and fittings were salvaged.  The 67.36 m Telegraph was built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1854. Today the site is named Telegraph Rock and the wreck is often visited by scuba divers.

photo: Telegraph Rock just off this headland gained its name from this 1867 wreck event.
Telegraph Rock just off this headland gained its name from this 1867 wreck event.


Site information

Site ID: 347
Type: Steamer paddle Construction: Iron
Primary industry: Transport Sub-industry: cargo - coastal
Gross tonnage: 521 Net tonnage: 367
Length (mtrs): 67.36 Beam (mtrs): 7.223
Draft (mtrs): 3.901 Cargo: Passengers, general & sheep
Country built: UNITED KINGDOM State built: Scotland
Port built: Glasgow builder:
Port registered: Sydney When built: 1854
Registration number: 27/1859 Official number: 31799
Sources: SMH 11/10, 14/10/1867; 13/2/1868 RBS
Comments: Telegraph Rock gained its name from this wreck event.

Lost event

When lost: 1867/10/09 Where lost: Camden Haven, Perpendicular Point, off
Wrecked/Refloated: Wrecked Sinking: Hit rock
From port: Sydney To port: Brisbane
Master: Capt Fitzsimmons Owner: Australasian Steam Navigation Co
Crew: Passengers: 20
Crew deaths: Passenger deaths: 0
Total deaths: 0


Maximum latitude: 31.64197166667 Minimum latitude:
Maximum longitude: 152.85350000000 Minimum longitude:
Datum used:
  Datum    Latitude    Longitude    Zone    Easting    Northing


Found: Yes Inspected: NO
Protected: Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 Jurisdiction: Federal
Protection notes:
Signage: Web address: