Fraser Islands Maheno Shipwreck

The word Maheno means ‘island’ in Maori, which is the native language of New Zealand. The Maheno was built in Scotland in 1904 and was the world’s first ever triple screw steamer, weighing a massive 5323 tonnes. It also held the blue ribbon in trans-atlantic crossing for several years after she was launched. The Maheno was then used as a hospital ship in WW 1, following which it was purchased by a Sydney shipping company who planned to use it between Sydney and New Zealand. After several years of this trans Tasman journey the Maheno was sold to a Japanese shipping company, that at the time were running very low on funds. The company made the decision to sell the huge brass propellers from under the still-working Maheno. The reason behind this was to fund the towing of the Maheno by a ship named the Ottawa back to Osaka, Japan. Once in Japan the Maheno was to be melted down and be sold as scrap metal. It was on this journey that the Maheno was hit by an unseasonal cyclone off the coast of Fraser. Maheno Shipwreck Fraser IslandLuckily, there was only a skeleton crew on board. Some of the stories of the ship washing up on Fraser tell the tale of the Japanese crew being too afraid to get off the vessel after hearing of the cannibalistic traits of the local Aborigines. Attempts were made to refloat the Maheno unsuccessfully and eventually it was left abandoned on what is now known as 75-mile beach. Another classic yarn tells of the ship being on a tilt of 20 degrees plus. One of the politicians from Maryborough held their wedding on the angled deck and photos have been found with all in sundry enjoying a slightly ‘leaned’ wedding with the Model T Ford cars parked on 75-mile beach.

For any further information on shipwrecks in Australia go to
http://www.deh.gov.au/heritage/shipwrecks/index.html.

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