Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Nairana 1936

A strong wave struck the Nairana

Just off Port Phillip Heads on April 12 1936, a strong wave struck the Nairana, tipping her over for two minutes before she righted herself again. During the horrifying two minutes, four people were drowned, and eight people were injured. The ship was reportedly carrying roughly one tonne of concrete in the hull when she tipped. Reports from the local papers said that it was a tidal wave meanwhile others were saying it was either an earthquake or a total lie. A later paper said that the ship had been caught in a rip at the mouth of the bay, causing the tragedy.
The S.S Nairana, was sold for £4,000 (over $170,200 in today’s money!) in 1951 after two years of being stranded on the beach at Port Melbourne, when the moorings broke one night during a storm and drifted ashore, causing her to wreck.

This is a guest post from our work experience student Libby; thanks for choosing the Bass Strait Maritime Centre for your placement, we wish you all the best for the future.

Photo Credit: Nairana leaving Devonport, BSMC History Collection.