NEW ZEALAND's FAR NORTH
The Wreck of the Forrest Hall ...
27 February 1909. Ashore on 90 Mile Beach
The wreck of the "Forrest Hall" contradicts
all accepted parameters
usually associated with shipwrecks with the vessel going ashore in broad
daylight, in calm conditions and on a weather shore.
The "Forrest Hall", a fully-rigged iron sailing
ship was bound for
Antofagasta, Chile. She had loaded 3000 tons of coal in Newcastle,
Australia and sailed east, intent on passing well to the south of New
At daybreak, 27 February 1909, the Chief Officer drew to the
of Captain Collins that land had been sighted some 15 miles ahead.
this fact, the Captain ordered the course to be held in order to make a
favourable port tack. Under sail and 4½ miles from shore an effort was
to bring the "Forrest Hall" about but she failed to respond. Three
before striking the Chief Officer instructed the man at the wheel to "put
helm hard up" only to have Captain Collins countermand the order and
a full press of sail the "Forrest Hall" sailed on to 90 Mile Beach !
By 1 March all on board were safely ashore. The ship
however, had then
developed a heavy list to seaward, her back broken and with heavy seas
sweeping completely over her. The vessel was declared a total loss with
and tide breaking her up and burying her remains beneath the sand.
After severe storms for many years, local residents enjoyed the windfall
cargo of coal provided. She uncovered for a short time in 1976, allowing
divers a brief window to explore her twisted remains before the sand
her once again. In more recent times, 99 years after her loss, a
section of a mast washed ashore and is now being treated and restored by
the Far North Regional Museum.