The Mysterious Past of the Maheno Ship Wreck

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 06/09/2017

Reading time: 3 mins

Discover the fascinating past of this rusting ship found on Fraser Island’s picturesque shore!

Fraser Island acts as a kind of living museum of sunken ships. With more than twenty-three wrecks recorded in its waters between 1856 and 1935, it has a fascinating history and plenty of stories to dig into.

The Maheno is perhaps one of the most popular shipwrecks in the region, which is beached near The Pinnacles. Though the Sandy Cape lighthouse was switched on in 1970 to try and avoid as many shipwrecks, it did very little to lower the number of incidents.

Today, the Maheno acts as a popular tourist attraction to those visiting Fraser Island. It was built back in 1905, set sail as the SS Maheno, and was one of the very first turbine-driven steamers. The ship followed the designated route between Sydney and Auckland, until it was taken on as a hospital ship in Europe during World War One. Afterwards, it served in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

In 1935, the Maheno was sold to Japan to be made into scrap metal, but on its journey there through Queensland waters, a cyclone got it into trouble and it was marooned on a Fraser Island beach.

The Maheno as a Tourist Attraction

Though it has had a turbulent past, the Maheno is now an important part of Fraser Island life and forms one of the island’s most popular attractions. It is now a heavily rusted shell that keeps on being eroded by the harsh salt water, but it remains a reminder to visitors and locals alike that there have been some fascinating stories that have happened to an island with relatively few signs of human history.

You can now explore the landmark as one of the stops on a tour around Fraser Island. As well as getting to know the lush landscape filled with rainforests, pristine beaches, and crystal clear waters, you can delve deep into the fascinating history of the shipwrecks that have come to be such an important part of the island’s past.

The island is a firm favourite amongst nature lovers, as it promises so many unique natural scenes, but the mysterious waters that surround it tell their own stories. When you visit the site of the Maheno Shipwreck, you’re not just getting to know this one story, but you’re learning more about the many other stories of the other ships that found themselves in trouble in the waters surrounding the island.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.