Hereward (ship)

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.[1]

United Kingdom
Name: Hereward
Cost: Insured for £6,000
Launched: 1877, Glasgow
Acquired: Mr Cowlishaw (1898) for salvage
Out of service: May 1898
Fate: Beached (May 1898), Broke in two (December 1898)
General characteristics
Class and type: Clipper
Tons burthen: 1,513 tons
Length: 254 ft (77 m)
Beam: 39 ft (12 m)
Draught: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Sail plan: full-rigged

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.[2][3]


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 got 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.[4]

The wreck

The wreck was slowly washed out to sea afterwards and by 1937 only a triangle dorsal fin was visible above sea level.[5] 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 it appeared that there was nothing left of the ship.[6]

In recent times, on various occasions, due to large swells and sweeping currents, large amounts of sand had moved off the sea floor and had exposed extensive portions of the Hereward which were once thought to be destroyed and lost forever. In March 2013 after large seas, extensive portions of the ship's metal hull, along with mast and engine pieces were exposed to a greater extent than they ever had been before.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

This provided an interesting and enjoyable snorkeling experience for Maroubra locals and tourists alike. Maroubra Lifeguards erected a sign on the shore in front of the wreck stating "Danger - Submerged Object". Local Maroubra surfer and photographer Jeremy Wilmotte took a series of underwater photos of the wreck at this time.

Hereward Street in Maroubra is named after the event.



  • Shipwrecks, History of Randwick Council, Hereward

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