New Zealand Hospital Ship MahenoPrint Page Print this page

The plaque records the role that the Maheno played as a hospital ship in World War One. The plaque of approximately one metre square on a plinth in the foredune area beside the beach where the wreck rests. 

It is a story plaque with a combination of text, pictures, a ship profile and a map of travels. The plaque is sculptured by Australia’s leading historical sculptor Ross Bastiaan. By recording the history of the Maheno people can reflect on the contribution made by all hospital ships.

The TSS Maheno, a passenger ship launched in 1905 operated as regular passenger ship primarily on the cross Tasman run between Australia and New Zealand. The Maheno held the speed records for almost two decades. Following the start of World War One, the Maheno was chartered by the New Zealand government and converted to be HMNZ Hospital Ship No 1. Much of the medical equipment on board came from a public appeal. The first voyage of the Maheno as a hospital ship was from 7 July 1915 to 1 January 1916, arriving at Anzac (beach) on Gallipoli for the first time on 26 August 1915.

The journey was recorded in detail and published in a book by Lord Liverpool, the Governor of NZ, in August 1916. The book details the dates when the NZHS Maheno visited Anzac to collect the sick and wounded and the numbers and nationalities collected. The book refers to the location as just Anzac. These records show that most of those brought on the ship at Gallipoli over its many visits to Anzac beach were primarily Australians. They were transported to Mudros, Malta and Egypt and Southampton. At Gallipoli the Maheno retrieved those injured of all nationalities and transported them to Lemnos, Malta, Alexandria before ultimately returning to New Zealand with the injured residents of New Zealand. On 8th October the Maheno sailed for Southampton with cases requiring major surgery. These records show that from arrival at Anzac on 26 August 1915 until 8th October when the Maheno sailed for Southampton, it had embarked 2,350 cases of which 331 were New Zealanders. Later hospital ship journeys saw it assist at Fromelles and the Somme.

After World War One the Maheno was refitted as a passenger liner and returned to the cross Tasman run. As a result of the combination of the Great Depression and the better efficiency of the newer ships, the Maheno was laid up from 1931 to 1934. The ship returned to service briefly in 1934 before being retired in 1935. The ship was sold to a Japanese company to be broken up for scrap. In July 1935 when it was being towed to Japan to be broken up for scrap, a rare winter cyclone caused the tow line to break and the Maheno was pushed onto the eastern beach of Fraser Island.



Address:Seventy Five Mile Beach, K`gari, 4581
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -25.266962
Long: 153.238384
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Designer:Dr Ross J. Bastiaan


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 25th April, 2017
Front Inscription


New Zealand Hospital Ship

1915 - 1919

World War One               T.S.S. Maheno
[ Information Text ]          [ Information Text ]
[ Pnotographs ]

Australia & New Zealand in World War One
[ Information Text ]

Technical Details
[ Information Text ]

Personnel in peace & war
[ Information Text ]

War time configuration
[ Information Text ]


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au