Classic Kiwi holiday spots that no longer exist: Hyderabad Shipwreck

Wreck of the Hydrabad at Waitarere Beach, circa 1905.
ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY

Wreck of the Hydrabad at Waitarere Beach, circa 1905.

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". 

Starboard plates and deck beams poking from the sand in January 2010
ANDY DODD/HERITAGE NEW ZEALAND POUHERE TAONGA

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

Do you have fond memories of a Kiwi holiday spot from your childhood that no longer exists? Email us at travel@stuff.co.nz.

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Beacher-goers dig deep in the Waitarere Beach sun

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. 

The sand dunes at Waitarere Beach have now covered the ship's remains.
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

The sand dunes at Waitarere Beach have now covered the ship's remains.

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 Llife Saving Club, painted murals of her around Waitarere and a big sign at the entrance to the beach announcing her presence.

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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 commemorative 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.  

 - Stuff

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