Hereward (ship)

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

StateLibQld 1 142363 Hereward (ship).jpg
United Kingdom
CostInsured for £6,000
Launched1877, Glasgow
AcquiredMr Cowlishaw (1898) for salvage
Out of serviceMay 1898
FateBeached (May 1898), Broke in two (December 1898)
General characteristics
Class and typeClipper
Tons burthen1,513 tons
Length254 ft (77 m)
Beam39 ft (12 m)
Draught23 ft (7.0 m)
Sail planfull-rigged

It was shipwrecked on Maroubra Beach, Sydney on Thursday 5 May 1898.[1]

5 May 1898Edit

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 its Irish captain, Poole Hickman Gore (1861-1920), unable to avert the disaster. The Hereward was forced onto the northern end of Maroubra Beach.

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.[2][3][4][5]

The ship had been insured by its owner for £6,000.


After a few months, the ship was sold for £550 to Mahlon Clarke Cowlishaw (1844-1900), of Cowlishaw Brothers, the Sydney merchants and ship-owners,[6] who bought the wreck for salvage.[7][8]

On 9 December 1898, they attempted to refloat the Hereward. With the two tugs, Commodore[9] and Irresistible,[10] pulling on cables connected to the anchor 300 metres (980 ft), and using steam winches on board, they 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.[11]

The wreckEdit

The wreck was slowly washed out to sea afterwards and by 1937 only a triangle dorsal fin was visible above sea level.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

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 StreetEdit

Hereward Street in Maroubra is named after the event.


  1. ^ The Stranding of the Hereward: Marine Board Inquiry, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Friday, 13 May 1898), p.3.
  2. ^ Wreck of the Hereward: Ashore at Maroubra Bay: A Wild Night at Sea, The Daily Telegraph, (Saturday, 7 May 1898), p.9.
  3. ^ The Mate's Story: Rockets Fired Without Avail: How the Crew Landed, The Daily Telegraph, (Saturday, 7 May 1898), p.9.
  4. ^ The Hereward Wreck: Sunday at Maroubra Beach: Thousands of Spectators, The (Sydney) Evening News, (Tuesday, 10 May 1898), p.3.
  5. ^ Last Week's Disastrous Gale, The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, (Saturday, 14 May 1898), pp.1018, 1019, 1040.
  6. ^ An Australian Merchant Prince, The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, (Saturday, 21 Jul 1900), p.5.
  7. ^ Maroubra Bay—Prospects of Floating Off The Hereward, The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, (Saturday, 21 May 1898) p.1072.
  8. ^ The Stranded Ship Hereward, The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, (Saturday, 16 Jul 1898), pp.150-151.
  9. ^ Commodore, Tyne Tugs and Tug Builders.
  10. ^ A Stubborn End: Tug Irresistible Sunk, The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, (Friday, 28 Aug 1931), p.8.
  11. ^ The Stranded Ship Hereward: Now a Complete Wreck: She Gets Out But the Big Cable Breaks, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Monday, 12 December 1898), p.7.
  12. ^ Rutherford, R.L., "Hereward—Unpopular Wreck". The Sydney Morning Herald, (13 December 1947), p.12.
  13. ^ The Hereward is gone at last, The World's News, (Saturday, 5 December 1953), p.20.
  14. ^ "Hereward | NSW Environment, Energy and Science".
  15. ^ "Hereward Cannon, Newsletter of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, Vol.43, No.2, (June 2013), pp.16-18" (PDF).
  16. ^ Maroubra Shipwreck Cannon Recovered, Office of Environment & Heritage, New South Wales, 27 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Hereward Cannon, Seals Sayings, Maroubra Seals Sports & Community Club, No.2330, Thursday, 26 February 2015" (PDF).
  18. ^ "Hereward Cannon: Handover Ceremony, Maroubra Seals Sports & Community Club, 7 December 2017".
  19. ^ "Hereward cannon comes home". 19 December 2017.