RMS Orizaba

RMS Orizaba was a mail steamer wrecked off Rockingham, Western Australia on 16 February 1905. On her approach to Fremantle, a smog of bushfire smoke was obscuring the coast and the captain lost his bearings. The ship went aground in 6.1 metres (20 ft) of water on Five Fathom Bank, west of Garden Island.[3]

Name: Orizaba
Operator: Orient Steam Navigation Company
Laid down: Barrow, England[1]
Launched: 1886[2]
Fate: Wrecked, 1905
General characteristics
Type: Royal Mail Ship
Tonnage: 6,298[2]
Length: 148 metres (486 ft)[2]
Draft: 7.3 metres (24 ft)

All 160 people on board were evacuated safely. It is one of the largest ships ever to be wrecked in Australian waters.[2]

In 2014 the wreck was still in use as a dive site.

The ship was celebrated in music by Australian composer Auguste Wiegand, in his Gavotte dance of the same name.[4]


  1. "Donovan Family History".
  2. "SS Orizaba 1905". Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  3. "Marine Disaster". The West Australian. Perth, WA. 17 February 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. Wiegand, Auguste (1898), Orizaba gavotte, Rene Desjardins Conservatoire of Music, retrieved 28 September 2019

Further reading

  • McCarthy, M. (1980). SS Orizaba, unpublished Wreck Inspection Report (Report). Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Maritime Museum.
  • Wolfe, A. (1986). SS Orizaba, Graduate Diploma Course in Maritime Archaeology Report (Report). Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Maritime Museum.

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