City of Launceston was one of the original ferries that carried passengers and cargo between Melbourne and Tasmania.
On a clear, calm night on Port Phillip Bay on the 19 November 1865, the steamship Penola rammed into the City of Launceston. The City sank quickly but fortunately the Penola was still afloat and managed to rescue the passengers and take them back to Melbourne. No one ever really worked out what went wrong that night.
Only the mail was salvaged from the wreck and slowly the wreck’s position was forgotten.
City of Launceston was located again in 1980, sitting upright in the middle of Port Phillip Bay and was the subject of extensive maritime archaeological excavation in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
This is a cover, probably for a tray of roast meat, that would have been used in the dining saloon. The logo for the vessel’s owners - The Launceston and Melbourne Steam Navigation Co. can be seen stamped into the side of the cover.
Photography and 3D model by Jane Mitchell.