A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Peter Fogg
Date: 2007 Apr 16, 09:38 +1000
For years I've been hearing, off and on, about the "mahogany ship"; the remains of an old ship built of mahogany timber that was apparently first found by sealers in 1836 on the shores of the southern coast of Australia. Over time it disappeared under sand dunes but reappeared intermittently during the later 1800s out of the sand (after a memorable storm, for example, had rearranged that malleable coast) near Warrnambool in Victoria.
Not only is there no historical record of a shipwreck in this location but the English, for example, tended to build their ships of oak rather than the more exotic mahogany. More recent attempts to find it have failed. Speculation has long been rife that this may be the remains of a Portuguese ship from about 250 years before James Cook definitively charted the east coast of Australia.
For lots more info on this go to
the Australian version of Google, put in "Warrnambool mahogany ship" or similar and tick "pages from Australia" and browse among the offerings presented. Once you've absorbed that lot you'll probably know a lot more about this subject than I do.
This wreck may, or may not, be related to an ancient chart made by the Portuguese that, apparently, faithfully depicts the headlands and bays of the Australian coast. However, this chart is seriously distorted and it has been suggested that this distortion is consistent with, for example, an increasingly serious error of longitude.
All this to introduce the latest article to pop up on this theme, in a newspaper this weekend:
I have seen, sometime in the past, a reproduction of this chart but don't have it to hand. If I track it down I'll post it. Or someone else may beat me to it.
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