Story: Shipwrecks

The Wanganella, Barrett Reef

At 11.30 p.m. on 19 January 1947 the captain of the Wanganella mistook the flashing buoy in front of Barrett Reef for the light to guide ships into Wellington harbour. The ship, with 400 passengers on a voyage from Sydney, struck the reef and remained fast on the rocks. The passengers were taken off the next day. For 18 days the ship was stuck, saved by fine weather, which became known as ‘Wanganella weather’. During that time there were a number of attempts to free the boat. The radio broadcast describes one such unsuccessful attempt on 31 January. Finally on 6 February tugs did succeed in hauling the boat free, and they towed it into Wellington Harbour. The ship was not repaired until October 1948.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (D series – Wanganella/Reference number D211).

About this item

Museum of Wellington City and Sea

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Shipwrecks - 20th-century shipwrecks', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/speech/7299/the-wanganella-barrett-reef (accessed 19 October 2017)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006