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National Shipwreck Relief Society of New South Wales medal, awarded to Alexander Anderson for endeavouring to get line ashore wreck SS MAITLAND, 6 MAY 1898

Date: 1898
Dimensions:
Overall: 0.05 kg
Medium: Silver
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00008777

User Terms

    Description
    The National Shipwreck Relief Society of New South Wales awarded this medal to Alexander Anderson for endeavouring to get a line ashore during the wreck of SS MAITLAND on 6 May 1898. It features an image of an angel overlooking survivors and dying passengers of a shipwreck. MAITLAND began flooding in heavy seas and eventually broke up when it crashed into the rocks at Barrenjoey Headland.
    SignificanceThis medal represents the recognition given to those who risked their lives to save others. Many ship wrecks occurred along the Australian east coast in the 19th century as vessels sailed on the trade route between Sydney and the Hunter region.

    HistoryIn 1877 the Shipwreck, Relief and Humane Society of NSW formed after the paddle steamer SS YARRA sank near Newcastle Harbour. The loss of its 17 crew members prompted the establishment of a society that could provide relief to victims' families and dependents. The society also awarded medals to recognise bravery and heroism displayed during rescue attempts at shipwrecks and other maritime incidents.

    The Hunter River Steam Navigation Company (HRSNC) began operating in 1840 transporting goods between Sydney and Newcastle, helping ensure the continuing economic development of the northern region. Steamships were the main way to transport goods and passengers, as it was not until 1889 that a railway line connected the settlements.

    SS MAITLAND was an iron-hulled 880 ton ship built at Glasgow in 1870. It arrived in Sydney during June 1871 and conducted its first trip for the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company between Sydney and Morpeth on 19 July 1871. On 5 May 1898, MAITLAND was carrying sugar, rice, whisky & ale, iron, tea and 36 passengers when it became caught in a gale and ran aground at Cape Three Points, near present day Barrenjoey Headland. Of the 63 people on board 24 were killed when the ship broke up on the coast. It was only due to the crew's successful attempts to secure a line of rope to the shore that any passengers were rescued.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: National Shipwreck Relief Society of New South Wales medal, awarded to Alexander Anderson for endeavouring to get line ashore wreck SS MAITLAND, 6 MAY 1898

    Web title: National Shipwreck Relief Society of New South Wales medal

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