Wreck of the Maitland – A scene to make the angels weep

Nationality: Australian

Vessel type: Paddle Steamer – passenger and cargo ship

Date lost: 6 May 1898

Cause of loss: Worst gale for 20 years  – run aground at Cape Three Points

Number of Casualties: 27 lives lost

Discovery date: 6 May, 1898

Location/water depth: Cape Three Points, NSW Central Coast

The paddle steamer left Sydney at 11pm on May 5, 1898 bound for Newcastle. Soon after leaving, with 36 passengers and 32 crew, it was beset by the worst gale in 20 years. A hole was ripped through the hull sendng water flooding into the boiler room. The crew bailed for hours. When the coal got wet they started burning wood and kerosene.

Capt Skinner turned back for Broken Bay. At 5:45am the ship crashed against rocks at Bouddi Point with such force it ripped in half. Three attempts were made before a line was secured to shore.

Passengers and crew made the perilous crawl along the rope. The Captain and four other men remained on the ship comforting a one-year-old baby named Daisy Hammond whose mother had made it to shore. The following day the remaining souls including baby Hammond were saved. 27 people lost their lives.

Happy Birthday

Anecdote from Mr. Ken Bergin....
Alice Eliza Davis turned 6 just two days after the Maitland wreck. She lived at Bensville and her mother prepared a birthday cake for her to share with the family. From out of the bush straggled some bedraggled and filthy survivors from the Maitland. The first solid food these men had for several days was Alice's birthday cake!

URLs

http://www.abc.net.au/backyard/shipwrecks/nsw/maitland.htm

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/the-ss-maitland-went-down...

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/heroes-and-cads-in-wreck-of-the-maitland-...

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

Ship bell – permanently located at Maitland Bay Centre, Killcare
Saloon table
Bravery awards provided to rescuers

AMMC Member Institution

Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre

submitted by Jane Smith

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