The wreck of the Merimbula on the rocks near Currarong, NSW

Nationality: Australian

Vessel type: Twin Screw Steamer

Date lost: 27 March 1928

Cause of loss: Grounding in bad weather

Number of Casualties: Nil

Discovery date: 27 March 1928

Location/water depth: Currarong NSW.  Remains of bow are on the surface; rest of ship in depths up to 13m.

The Merimbula operated between Sydney and the far south coast of New South Wales between 1909 and 1928.  She was the last of her kind on the South Coast, with improving road connections to Sydney seeing a reduction in the number of passengers wishing to make the journey by sea.  

Early in the morning of 27 March 1928, in heavy rain the thirteen passengers were awoken by the grinding sound of the vessel driving onto Beecroft Peninsula.  The hole in the hull was big enough for nine men to walk through, and the ship began to sink in the days soon afterwards.  The remains eventually slid completely into the sea, with only the bow section remaining up on the rocks.

Even after a court of marine inquiry, there was no explanation as to why she was three miles west of her set course on the night of the grounding.    

Ground(ed) coffee and sandwiches

Despite the Merimbula being driven so far onto the rocky shore that her bow was completely out of the water, the Captain believed she was in no immediate danger and sent the passengers back to the lounge. There they spent the remainder of the night drinking coffee and eating sandwiches.  


The remains of the bow in 1990

A 1914 painting of the ship by John Allcot; held in the collection of the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum

Objects of interest (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the shipwreck story.

The Jervis Bay Maritime Museum hosts a range of objects from the ship, including a galley door, an ornate light fitting, photographs and articles.

AMMC Member Institution

Jervis Bay Maritime Museum

submitted by Michael Sutton

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