Before going to Fraser Island I think I was vaguely aware that there were a couple of ship wrecks on the island. When I studied a map I saw that there were at three marked on it. The ‘Pananma’ and the ‘Marloo’ are both marked as being submerged. The third and arguably the best known is the Maheno Wreck.
THE MAHENO WRECK
Launched in 1905, the Maheno was a 5,000 tonne steel hulled ocean liner owned by a New Zealand company that could carry 420 passengers. During World War I it was converted into a hospital ship and made numerous voyages carrying injured servicemen. After the war it was refitted and went back to being a passenger ship. It was sold for scrap to a Japanese company in 1935. It was whilst it was being towed to Japan that it was washed up onto Seventy Five Mile Beach during a severe cyclone.
All attempts to refloat the Maheno failed. It was subsequently stripped of its fittings and eventually offered for sale. However there were no takers so the wreck remained lodged on the beach.
Very little of the wreck remains today, but you can still get a sense of the massive size of this ship. It is almost a little eerie walking around it.
The middle section of the ship has now collapsed and is slowly being buried in the sand. The rest of the ship is covered in barnicles and has sharp edges protruding from it. The Australian Department of Defence list the wreck as a site of Unexploded Ordinance. It may have been used as target practice during World War II although no records exist to confirm that this was the case.
On our way back we did have time for a quick stop at Happy Valley Resort. Happy Valley is another hidden gem on Fraser Island with cabin and backpacker accommodation available. There is also a general store, petrol pump, restaurant and bar. We decided to grab a quick beer while we were there and we were impressed with the lovely verandah area and the friendly staff member that was there.