Divers revisit the Keilawarra wreck

Photographer Mark Spencer has revisited the 126-year-old shipwreck of the Keilawarra off the coast of Arrawarra. The ship's telegraph is still in the full-astern position.
Photographer Mark Spencer has revisited the 126-year-old shipwreck of the Keilawarra off the coast of Arrawarra. The ship's telegraph is still in the full-astern position. Mark Spencer

IT stands encrusted in marine life, as a stark reminder of the lives lost at sea in one of Australia's greatest maritime disaster.

For 126-years the telegraph of The Keilawarra, the 61-metre iron steam ship that sank near North Solitary Island has risen from the ocean floor suspended in the full astern position.

For photographer Mark Spencer, who revisited the 19th century shipwreck again at the weekend, the telegraph along with the ship's stern offers a haunting insight into the ill-fated voyage.

"The propeller shots I took also show the stern has dropped down over the propeller, such that the prop is now inside the stern," Mark said.

"This is an emotive area of the wreck because it was the area where people clung when the ship was sinking Titanic-like with the stern out of the water."

The Keilawarra was bound for Brisbane when it impacted with a smaller steamer, The Helen Nicoll on the night of December 8, 1886.

Historical accounts say "smoke from the funnels had partly obscured the view ahead, as both vessels maintained full steam."

In scenes later echoed by the sinking of the Titanic, the Keilawarra plunged into the depths just seven minutes after impact.

It took with it some 40 people, while the badly damaged Helen Nicoll limped back to shore.

The Keilawarra last made headlines in February 2010, after Mark Spencer revealed the ship's safe had been plundered by thieves, thought to be professional shipwreck salvagers.

Rediscovered in 73-metres off the coast of Arrawarra in 2000, the wreck was studied for 30 minutes by this latest dive team before their arduous two-and-a-half hour decompression ascent.

Mark Spencer will announce plans to conserve artefacts from the Keilawarra at a SURG (Solitary Islands Underwater Research Group) discussion at the National Marine Science Centre on June 6 at 6.30pm.

For more information go to

Topics:  conservation shipwreck wooli

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Emergency services' generous donation

GENEROUS LOCALS: Emerald Emergency Services present cheque to Emerald Neighbourhood Centre.

Emerald emergency services have made a generous donation.

Discover region's jewel

The Capella Lighthorsemen.

Discover your own backyard: Capella focus

Expo a cut above the rest

AWARD WINNING: Frank and Cathy Finger took home five awards, including Grand Champion Exhibit.

The 2016 Clermont Beef Expo built on success of previous years.

Local Partners

Single vehicle roll over

A 46-year-old woman is in a stable condition after a single vehicle roll over near Rolleston.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Walk into Wonderland this weekend

The committee from last year's Sip in Style who are planning this year's event.

Sip and Style is on this Saturday night in Clermont.

Come along to open day

The Gemfields Ambulance Station.

THE Gemfields Ambulance Station is holding an open day.

Angus T. Jones got miserable on Two and a Half Men

Child star's misery while shooting 'Two and a Half Men'

Bachelorette shock: "This isn't how it's supposed to go!"

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

Radio presenter's shocking joke about Dreamworld victims

Images from the scene after four people died on a ride at Dreamworld at the Gold Coast

Radio host taken off air after tactless Dreamworld joke

The Bachelorette fans rally around devastated Matty J

The Bachelorette runner-up Matty Johnson.

CALLS for reality dating show's runner-up to be the next Bachelor.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Buy your own brothel: Scarlet Harem for sale

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Coast's first brothel, Scarlet Harem at Kunda Park, is up for sale.

Coast brothel madam sells up

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?