Hereward | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Historic photographs of the Hereward on the beach at Maroubra, show the impossibility of recovering the vessel.  With sails furled and crew abandoned, the vessel gradually succumbed to surf and sand.  An iron three-master ship, the Hereward had been built at Glasgow, United Kingdom in 1877.  With a length of 77 meters and tonnage of 1593 tons gross, the magnificent vessel operated as an international cargo vessel.  Travelling from Java to Newcastle, the Hereward under Captain Gore, got into difficulties on 6 May 1898.  The storm would later be known as The Maitland Gale, after the loss of the paddle steamer Maitland at Broken Bay.  Hereward was driven ashore at Maroubra Beach and lay with masts cantered over to sea.  Salvage efforts in December almost led to its recovery, until a storm again threw the vessel ashore.  Divers have located sections of the hull within the surf zone after periods of scouring.

On 23 March 2013, the Heritage Branch was informed by local divers Paul Wright and John Black, and the Randwick City Council that a cannon had been exposed on the wreck of the Hereward (1898) at Maroubra Beach. The bronze cannon is likely to be either a signal gun or more likely was used for protection from pirate during its voyage through the Sumatra Straits.  After recording the location of the cannon  and considering reports that the relic was actively under threat of being stolen, a decision was made to raise it. The recovery was undertaken on Tuesday 25 March with the assistance of the NSW Water Police Divers. The site lies between two surf breaks parallel to the shore, and when combined with a 3m swell, the Police divers are to be congratulated for their expertise working in such difficult conditions. The cannon is undergoing preliminary conservation at the Heritage Branch, whilst further decisions are made about the most appropriate course of treatment. Ongoing negotiations are planned with to determine a local venue for where the cannon will eventually be displayed. 

The Heritage Branch congratulate and thank Paul Wright and John Black on their discovery and their prompt reporting of the relic which enabled the cannon to be recovered. Thanks also go to the NSW Water Police for their co-operation and assistance in recovery of the cannon.


Site information

Site ID: 1284
Type: Ship Construction: Iron
Primary industry: Transport Sub-industry: cargo - international
Gross tonnage: 1593 Net tonnage: 1513
Length (mtrs): 77.41 Beam (mtrs): 11.88
Draft (mtrs): 7.071 Cargo:
Engine: NA
Country built: UNITED KINGDOM State built:
Port built: Port Glasgow builder:
Port registered: London When built: 1877
Registration number: Official number: 77010
Sources: SMH 10/5, 17/5/1898; 10/1/1899 Lloyd's Register 1878-79
Comments: Lost in the 'Maitland Gale'.

Lost event

When lost: 1898/05/06 Where lost: Sydney, Maroubra Beach, Lurline Bay
Wrecked/Refloated: Wrecked Sinking: Gale, anchor dragged
From port: Java To port: Newcastle
Master: Capt P H Gore Owner:
Crew: Passengers:
Crew deaths: Passenger deaths:
Total deaths: 0


Maximum latitude: 33.95 Minimum latitude: 33.947167
Maximum longitude: 151.259667 Minimum longitude: 33.947167
Datum used:
  Datum    Latitude    Longitude    Zone    Easting    Northing


Found: Yes Inspected: No
Protected: Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 Jurisdiction: Federal
Protection notes:
Signage: Web address: