Hereward (shipwreck)

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Hereward was a full-rigged iron clipper built in Glasgow in 1877. It measured 254 feet (77 m), 39 feet (12 m) wide, 23 feet (7.0 m) deep and weighed 1,513 tons. Hereward was a British trading vessel that travelled between Britain and her colonies, especially between Sydney and London. It was shipwrecked on Maroubra Beach, Sydney on Thursday 5 May 1898.

The Hereward was wrecked while travelling from Sourabaya, a port in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to Newcastle New South Wales where it was to have picked up a load of coal bound for South America. While travelling north along the New South Wales coast on 5 May, it encountered a large storm with wind speeds as high as 47 miles per hour (76 km/h). The winds destroyed the sails of the ship and blew it towards the shore leaving the captain, Captain Gore, unable to avert the disaster. The Hereward was forced onto the northern end of Maroubra Beach, however it avoided the two rocky reefs present there. All 25 crew members were safely brought ashore and made their way to the nearby wool scouring works to make the shipwreck known. The ship had been insured by its owner for £6,000.

After a few months, the ship was sold for £550 to a Mr. Cowlishaw, an entrepreneur who bought the wreck for salvage. On 9 December 1898, he attempted to refloat the Hereward. By pulling on the rope connected to the anchor 300 metres (980 ft) out to sea and using steam winches on board, he managed to get the ship into 14 feet (4.3 m) of water. However, as the ship was nearly free, a southerly gale blew up and pushed the Hereward back onto the beach where it was battered by high seas and broken in two.

The wreck was slowly washed out to sea afterwards and by 1937 only a triangle dorsal fin was visible above sea level. In 1950, Randwick Council feared of the danger that the remains posed to surfers and swimmers and had the remains blasted such that by 1967 there was nothing left of the ship.


  • Shipwrecks, History of Randwick Council, Hereward