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Famous wreck - the HEREWARD on Maroubra Beach

Date: 17 August 1929
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Object Name: Newspaper clipping
Object No: ANMS0401[110]
Related Place:Maroubra,

User Terms

    In 1898 the clipper ship HEREWARD was wrecked on Maroubra Beach. The caption for this clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald of 17 August 1929 reads: 'the remains of the vessel which was driven ashore during an easterly gale in 1898, are to be blown up / shortly in order to improve the beach for bathers.'
    SignificanceThe 1898 grounding of the HEREWARD was reported widely in the Australia press to a public eager for information. The wreck itself became a popular attraction for visitors to Maroubra Beach in 1898. On several occasions throughout the 20th century, fearing injury to beach-goers, Randwick Council began blasting remnants of HEREWARD to remove the bulk of the wreck from the surf.
    HistoryThe HEREWARD was a full rigged iron clipper ship built in Glasgow in 1877 and traded frequently between London and Sydney with general cargo. However, it is best known for being wrecked on Maroubra Beach in May 1898.

    The HEREWARD left the Dutch East Indies port of Surabaya bound for Newcastle where it was to load with coal for South America. On 5 May 1898 it encountered fierce storms off the New South Wales coast and was forced ashore by the heavy winds - with the sails reportedly ripped to shreds in the gale force conditions. The ship ended up on soft sand at the northern end of Maroubra Beach and was lucky to have avoided two rocky reefs. The crew of 25 made it safely ashore and alerted the authorities of the accident.

    The wreck was stranded on the beach and the owners decided to sell it as salvage. Insured for 6,000 pounds, it was sold for 550. The new owner tried to refloat the ship and almost succeeded but each time it ended up back on the beach and by December 1898 wave action had broken it in two.

    The following decades saw all viable pieces removed - by salvagers, treasure hunters and the sea and sand - until in 1937 only a small bit remained above the waterline. In 1950, 1965 and again in 1966 the remnants were blasted away.

    In March 2013, heavy seas uncovered remains of the HEREWARD wreck on the seafloor at Maroubra. During subsequent salvage operations, maritime archaeologists from the Office of Environment and Heritage recovered a 1.17m long rare bronze cannon from the site.

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