One of the most significant maritime archaeology items found on the Mid North Coast is this bronze name plate fragment believed to have been attached to the engine of the Paddle Steamer, PS Prince Of Wales, which sank in 1862. Built in Britain in 1861, the Australasian Steam Navigation Company’s new iron vessel, PS Prince Of Wales was considered a superior vessel, combining great speed, carrying capacity and light draft of water, advantages absolutely necessary for trade on the New South Wales coast. However she would be in service for only a few months.
The PS Prince Of Wales left Sydney for Brisbane on October 2nd, 1862, with a cargo of horses, rum, ale, brandy, wine, tobacco, cigars and 12 passengers and 11 crew. At 3 p.m. the following day while passing inside Mermaid Reef off Crowdy Bay, she grazed on a detached rock, northwest of the reef. With water pouring into the hold it became evident they would not stay buoyant for much longer and the decision was made to beach her at Camden Haven. Fortunately the weather was fine and seas calm. All the passengers and stores were landed safely.
By the time the iron paddle steamer PS Diamantina arrived on the scene the following Sunday, the seas had risen and the PS Prince Of Wales was found to be a total wreck on the beach. A boat was sent ashore but while returning through the surf it capsized on the Camden Haven bar. The engineer of the PS Prince Of Wales and two seamen from the PS Diamantina drowned. The mound grave of those drowned can be found near Prince of Wales Point (Dunbogan).
The PS Prince of Wales remained fast on the shore, eventually breaking in two and leaving only her bow jammed between rocks. Today nothing remains visible apart from the wreck mound covered in seaweed in 3m of water some 50m offshore. The name plate was recovered during a scuba dive at the wreck site in 1989.