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The Lady Bowen
Lady Bowen porthole

The Lady Bowen porthole is located in the JC Hubinger Memorial Museum in Cardwell, Queensland. 

The porthole was identified for sale on the internet in 2013 and subsequently surrendered to Commonwealth and Heritage Victoria officers. The artefact was then transferred to Queensland and from there repatriated to Cassowary Coast Regional Council.

Source: JC Hubinger Memorial Museum, 2022

The ship

The Lady Bowen was built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1864 as a paddle steamer. It was converted in Sydney in 1889 to a four masted schooner and lengthened to 228 feet increasing her gross weight to 671 tons.

The vessel transported passengers and cargo along the Queensland coast until 1894 when it was wrecked on the reef near Cardwell.

Lady Bowen Ship.jpg

The wreck

According to Queensland Historic Shipwrecks database:

The Lady Bowen left Dungeness (what is now Lucinda), Queensland, on 18 August 1894 bound for Sydney carrying ballast. On 19 August breakers were sighted which the captain, mistook for Agnes Island. Due to a strong current the vessel was driven onto Kennedy Shoal. The Lady Bowen immediately began to break up. 

The crew took to the vessel’s life boats and safely reached Cardwell. The Marine Board inquiry found the wreck of the Lady Bowen was the result of the captain mistaking Agnes Island for Hillock Point, and Eva Islet for Agnes Island. The captain was severely censured and cautioned by the Marine Board.


Porthole repatriation to Cardwell 

The Hon Campbell Newman MP, Premier of Queensland, officially returned the porthole to Cr Bill Shannon, Mayor of Cassowary Coast Regional Council on 23 February 2014 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of European settlement.

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