No longer there: A Kiwi ship­wreck

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - LORNA THORNBER

For many years, the re­mains of the 19th cen­tury Scot­tish ship that met its end on the Horowhenua Coast was a lo­cal land­mark.

Nu­mer­ous vis­i­tors made the pil­grim­age to long, sandy Waitarere Beach near Levin, where parts of its rust­ing iron hull poked through the dunes like half-buried dinosaur bones.

Their minds, no doubt, were full of imag­in­ings of what it must have been like that stormy day in 1878 when the 68-me­tre long ves­sel crashed into the coast­line in what the pa­pers at the time de­scribed as a ‘‘fu­ri­ous hur­ri­cane’’.

None of the 35 peo­ple on board were killed, but the 1350-tonne ves­sel - which prin­ci­pally car­ried cargo be­tween Eng­land, Aus­tralia and In­dia - could not be re­cov­ered.

Bad luck and weather thwarted four ma­jor sal­vage at­tempts be­tween 1878 and 1881.

Ef­forts to re­cover the Hy­der­abad, which had been mak­ing its way to South Aus­tralia when it ran aground, were fi­nally aban­doned in Fe­bru­ary 1881, af­ter it was gut­ted by fire.

The Hy­der­abad was left to drift up the beach, though even­tu­ally a fire broke out, buck­ling her hull planks, and the wreck was aban­doned. It is pe­ri­od­i­cally un­cov­ered and re­cov­ered by shift­ing sands.

Waitarere town­ship claimed the ship’s re­mains as its own and, while she is no longer vis­i­ble, the town has not for­got­ten her.

There’s a mon­u­ment to the fallen lady at Levin-Waitarere Surf Life Sav­ing Club, painted mu­rals of her around Waitarere and a big sign at the en­trance to the beach an­nounc­ing her pres­ence.

In 1978, a hun­dred years af­ter the Hy­der­abad ran aground, the ship was the fo­cus of a public cen­ten­nial com­mem­o­ra­tion and was for­mally recog­nised by Her­itage New Zealand with a com­mem­o­rat- ive plaque.

The shift­ing sands at the beach have slowly buried her and a blue post now marks her fi­nal rest­ing spot like a grave.

With the salt and sand dam­age and cost of un­cov­er­ing her mak­ing res­cue un­re­al­is­tic, it seems she must sim­ply be left to rest in peace.


Star­board plates and deck beams pok­ing from the sand in Jan­uary 2010

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.