Maheno Plaque Unveiled

by Ted Sorensen
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It was an amazing day on Fraser Island with the unveiling of the special commemorative stone and plaque at the wreck of the SS Maheno.

PDG of Rotary District 9570 and member of Hervey Bay Sunrise Rotary Club Brian Jessett played the last post on a WW1 bugle.

There is an amazing history of the SS Maheno; launched in 1905, she was owned by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand sailing back and forth carrying passengers from New Zealand to Australia. But she gained significantly more notoriety as the NZ Hospital Ship Maheno (NZHS Hospital Ship No 1) in WW1.

The first voyage as a hospital ship was from 7 July 1915 to 1 January 1016, arriving at Anzac (beach) on Gallipoli for the first time in August 1915.

At Gallipoli, the Maheno retrieved those injured of all nationalities and transported them to Lemnos, Malta, Alexandria before ultimately returning to New Zealand with her injured. After WW1, she was refitted as a passenger liner and returned to her Tasman run. She was retired from service in 1935 and sold to the Japanese as scrap.

As the Maheno was being towed to the scrapping yards her tow lines broke in a winter cyclone, eventually running aground on Fraser Island. In WW2, she was used for commando training by the Z Force Special Unit (precursor to the SAS) and for bombing practice by the RAAF.

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