Government of Yukon

FOR RELEASE     #11-016
February 2, 2011

Gold Rush era music from the A. J. Goddard wreck identified

WHITEHORSE – Three sound recordings recovered from the wreck of the Klondike Gold Rush sternwheeler A.J. Goddard have been identified. The records and a gramophone player were found during underwater archaeological field work in June 2010.

“The recovered artifacts reveal intimate details of life on a small, functional Yukon sternwheeler,” Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor said. “To have the opportunity to learn about the music those on the Goddard would have enjoyed gives us a window into their past, allowing us to glimpse one small piece of the culture of the day.”

Conservation work on the three gramophone records at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa has revealed them to be:

  • Rendez Vous Waltz Berliner 1464 recorded 1 July 1897, performed by the Metropolitan Orchestra. 
  • The Harp that Once thro’ Tara’s Halls by Thomas Moore Berliner 1645Z recorded 9 November 1897 in New York, singer J. W. Myers. 
  • Ma Onliest One by Fay Templeton Berliner 991Z recorded 17 April 1896, singer Len Spencer.

The A.J. Goddard sank to the bottom of Lake Laberge during a severe storm in 1901, resulting in the loss of three of its five crew members. In June 2010 an international archaeology team, supported by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, OceanGate, Government of Yukon, Yukon Transportation Museum, PROMARE and Speigel TV, worked to document the vessel and its contents. The gramophone, records and other artifacts recovered from the vessel will form the basis of a sternwheeler exhibit at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

The A.J. Goddard shipwreck is also the subject of a master’s thesis by Lindsey H. Thomas of the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A & M University.

"The gramophone was the most surprising find of the season, and by far the most interesting,” Thomas said. “Found on one of the smallest and most utilitarian Yukon River steamboats, this small luxury provides an insight that is incredibly valuable to understanding life on board.”

The A.J. Goddard was designated a Yukon Historic Site under the Historic Resources Act in June 2010.


Background information is below.


Emily Younker
Cabinet Communications

Karen Keeley
Communications, Tourism and Culture


The A.J. Goddard

The shipwreck of the A. J. Goddard was discovered in June 2008 when a group of divers representing the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Yukon Transportation Museum located it during ongoing field work on Yukon River sternwheelers.

Following its discovery, in June 2010 the wreck was formally designated a Yukon Historic Site. It is protected under the Historic Resources Act. A permit is required from the Cultural Services Branch, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon to visit the site.

Early commercial gramophone records like those found on the A.J. Goddard were mass-produced. Copies of Berliner records 1645Z and 1464Z reside in the Emile Berliner Collectionexternal link in the Recorded Sound Section of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


Listen: Audio recording of Rendez Vous Valseexternal link (original name) by the Metropolitan Orchestra.

Watch: A 3-D sonar scan of the A.J. Goddardexternal link shipwreck.

Watch: Video of the A.J. Goddardexternal link shipwreck and more information from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.