100 YEARS AGO THIS WEEKEND THE RMS TITANIC WENT DOWN AFTER HITTING AN ICEBERG 600 KM SOUTH OF NEWFOUNDLAND, ON ITS MAIDEN VOYAGE ACROSS THE NORTH ATLANTIC. AND IT SEEMS THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND CHAPTER IN THIS MUCH TOLD TRAGIC STORY.
RMS Titanic was the biggest ship of its time, the product of new methods of ship-building & design that supposedly made it unsinkable. The official death toll is 1514, but records are not entirely reliable.
If we accept those official figures, 710 people survived the disaster and it seems two of them may have settled near Cairns. Stories are told of a man and a woman who lived and worked around a gold mine at Mount Peter, near Edmonton in the 1920s. Otto Keller and a woman remembered as Mrs Zarr are said to have told staff at the Cairns Hospital that they were survivors of the Titanic sinking.
Their names don’t appear on passenger manifests, but we’re told the names of some passengers in “steerage” were found to be missing from the lists. We may never know for sure if Otto Keller & Mrs Zarr were on the Titanic — but we do know some FNQ locals in the 1920s certainly believed that was the case. Both have streets named after them in the Edmonton area.
CLICK ON THE AUDIO PLAYER TO HEAR LOCAL HISTORIAN KAY EARL TELL THE STORY OF OTTO & MRS ZAR.
Read more about Kay Earl at www.cairnsweddings.com.au/
And info about Mount Peter gold mine & other FNQ gold sites at http://www.cairnsmuseum.org.au/gold.htm