Finding a Royal

Do as emus do.


A three masted convict carrier of 471 tonnes, Royal Charlotte was on a journey from Sydney to India with soldiers from several regiments and their families. Gale force winds during the passage through the Outer route, east of the Great Barrier Reef caused the vessel to run aground on incorrectly charted rocks. The crew and passengers attempted to lighten the ship in the hope of re-floating off the reef by throwing as much as possible overboard, including the masts and two emus. Their efforts were futile and it became clear that they must abandon the ship. They made their way to a small nearby sand cay, led by the emus.

In January 2012 a collaborative expedition between Silentworld Foundation and the Australian National Maritime Museum was undertaken to locate the remains of the vessel and the survivor camp on the cay.

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