Maheno Shipwreck (History)
Learn about the Fraser Coast Military Trail
The Maheno, the most famous of the Fraser Island wrecks, was driven ashore just north of Happy Valley during a cyclone in 1935. Once a well-known trans-Tasman liner, the Maheno was bound for a Japanese wrecking yard when she met her stormy end. Today the hull lies slowly deteriorating in the harsh salt environment, about 10 kilometres north of Happy Valley. The SS Maheno was a New Zealand passenger ship owned by the Union Steamship Company. Launched in 1905, the ship plied regularly crossed the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia. It ended commercial service in 1935 and it was sold to a Japanese ship-breaking firm for wrecking. However, the ship never made it to Japan. The Maheno became adrift after its towing cable snapped during a storm and it was beached on Fraser Island. The ship has two interesting connections with Australians at war. It was a hospital ship in World War I, with sections of the ship refitted as wards and operating theatres. The ship was also painted white and red crosses painted on its hull. Medical crew on the ship cared for soldiers from the Gallipoli Campaign and the Western Front. People claim It is the largest World War I relic in Australia. Australians like to claim famous New Zealanders as our own, like Russell Crowe and Crowded House. The wreck was also used for bombing practice during World War II by Z Special Unit commandos and the Royal Australian Air Force! So it has a direct connection with two other attractions on the military trail, the Fraser Commando School and the former Maryborough Air Station in Maryborough.