Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Sydney Dive Visibility, Swell and Temps
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
Free Shipwreck Books

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Henry Head inside Botany Bay has some amazing sponge life"
    PS Maitland
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - PS Maitland The Paddle Steamer Maitland was built by McCulloch and Co at Port Glasgow in Scotland and launched in September 1870. The first owner of the ship was the Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company which named the ship after the main town of the Hunter Valley (apart from Newcastle), Maitland. The new vessel was 69 metres long and 8 metres wide. It displaced 880 tons. As suggested, the ship was an iron-hulled paddle steamer powered by a two cylinder engine constructed by Macnab & Co of Greenock, Scotland. Steam was supplied by four boilers, in twin pairs, which fed two funnels.

    PS Maitland
    A photograph of the PS Maitland

    In 1877 the Maitland ran down and sank a barge near Newcastle. In 1891, ownership of the Maitland passed onto the Newcastle and Hunter River Company which may have actually been the same company but just a name change. All over this time the ship worked on the Sydney to Newcastle run.

    At 11pm on Wednesday 6 May 1898 the Maitland left Sydney bound for the north. The weather was very poor (the storm that night would forever be known as the Maitland Storm) and a strong southerly gale was blowing and the waves were said to be "mountains high". The waves in the open ocean were so big the deckhouses on the starboard side were damaged by waves. Repairs were carried out as best far they could be but it was not completed.

    The Maitland passed Broken Bay but Captain Skinner decided to turn around and head for the shelter of Broken Bay but as Barrenjoey Lighthouse appeared ahead, the ship's condition worsened. Cargo was being jettisoned overboard. Attempts were made to remove water from the holds and engine room by crew and passengers but without success. Kerosene and wood were added to the boilers in an effort to keep the fires raging. However, water entered the boilers and one by one they were extinguished.

    The ship was now about two miles off the northern shore of Broken Bay and drifting rapidly towards land. it was very obvious that the ship was doomed. Lifebelts were issued to all passengers but from reports I have read, there did not appear to have been lifeboats on board.

    The Maitland soon hit the reef that extends out from what is now named Maitland Bay and some huge waves came over the wreck and broke her in two. The stern section was now up on the rocks as well as the bow. Soon after another huge wave hit the wreck and all the passengers and crew in the forward part of the ship were washed into the sea. It is believed that no-one from this part of the wreck survived.

    Either 21 or 26 people died in the wreck (there are differing reports) and 37 are believed to have survived.Of those who died, nine were buried in a small cemetery nearby. The bell of the Maitland was salvaged and placed for a time in a monument in Bouddi National Park. This bell was replaced with a replica (for security purposes) and the original bell is housed elsewhere.

    The same night, the sailing ship Hereward was wrecked on Maroubra Beach in Sydney's South Eastern Suburbs.

    Today the main parts of the wreck left are up on the rock platform in the intertidal zone. This includes the remains of the boilers. There is very little to be seen in the water (I have dived here once and never saw a thing) but I have been told it exists.


  • A Log of Great Australian Ships by Graeme Andrews - page 51
  • Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2024
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!