Randwick & DIstrict Historical Society: FLASHBACK

THE WRECK OF THE “BELBOWRIE”

MAROUBRA: Our shores have witnessed numerous shipwrecks, one being the wooden-hulled coastal freighter “Belbowrie” which would be grounded twice in the course of her working life. Built at Brisbane Waters in 1911 of only 218 tons, she was owned by several companies before succumbing to the depths.

General cargo and coal were her usual business along the south coast of NSW, as when fully laden on 26 June, 1923 stormy weather forced her aground about 5 miles north of Cronulla near Doughboy Reef. Remarkably undamaged, she was ref-loated after a few days.

Her final voyage would be on 16 January, 1939 bound from Sydney for Shellharbour when bleak weather drove her onto rocks at Maroubra, this time irretrievably. Huge seas pounded her to pieces over the ensuing 24 hours and she was declared a total loss. Timber gatherers, however, profited from the recovery of the wreckage strewn along the foreshores. Ironically, it was at almost the identical spot where the steamer “Tekapo” had gone ashore in 1899.

Robert Booth


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