Model - PS Ballina Wreck; 1989; 2014/300


Mid North Coast Maritime Museum


Model - PS Ballina Wreck

About this object

This 1: 48 inch scaled model depicts the wreck of the P.S .Ballina, a 299 tons and 65 metres long paddle steamer now lying at the bottom of the Hastings River. The Ballina is the only local wreck on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Built in 1865 for the Clarence and Richmond Rivers Steam Navigation Company the P.S. Ballina was one of many ships operating on the NSW Mid North Coast during the 1860s and 1870s and was a frequent visitor to Port Macquarie, transporting goods and passengers.

On 13 February 1879 the Ballina became grounded on the Hastings River entrance bar and the following morning the vessel was entirely swamped and broke in two. The Ballina’s cargo had already been thrown overboard in an attempt to float the vessel and all passengers and crew left the ship safely.

In 1908 the Ballina’s funnel was regarded as shipping hazard as it was sticking out above the water however attempts to remove the wreck from the river entrance by detonation proved unsuccessful.

The wreck remained in the Hastings River entrance and during 1978 was ‘rediscovered’ in the process of building the new North Break wall. Concerns over potential looting of the wreck were used to force enactment of the Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976 with the P.S. Ballina proclaimed a Historic Wreck by the New South Wales Government on 12 April 1979.

The port paddle wheel and engines remain in the wreck and are believed to have the potential to provide valuable information about the maritime technology of the 1860s.

This model also reflects the community’s growing interest in maritime history which culminated in the opening of the Mid North Coast Maritime Museum in the late 1980s. The model was made by Maritime Historian, Mike Richards based on photographs provided by the Mid North Coast Maritime Archaeology Association.

A number of relics from the wreck were retrieved under permit in 1979 and are now held in the collections of the Port Macquarie and Mid North Coast Maritime Museums.

Zsolt Newby
21 January 2015

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