The original Maheno

16th May 2005, 06:16
TSS Maheno built by Wm. Denny & Bros in Dumbarton in I think 1904. I believe she served on the trans Tasman run. She was a hospital ship in WW1 and declared unseaworthy in 1935. On the way to Japan for breaking up she ran aground on Fraser Island off the east coast of Australia. During WW2 the RAAF used her for gunnery practice.

These photos show her at launching and wearing her Sunday best. The last one shows her sad end, incidentally that is my Nissan Patrol in the foreground, I would never visit Fraser Island without paying my respects to her (Sad)

michael james
16th May 2005, 10:54
What a sad end for a lovely looking ship, only 30 years in service before being declared unseaworthy, I wonder what was the cause - was she damaged in some accident to cause her downfall ? Great photographs Derek.

It has always amazed me the number of ships that founder for various reasons on their way to breakers. Its almost as if they dont want to go !

16th May 2005, 11:05
Yes Mike she was a beautiful ship they don't make them like that anymore. I don't know why she was found unseaworthy, I would have thought she was built to last forever.

I saw a photo of her stern whilst she was being built and she actually had three propellors which I would think would be revolutionary in these days.

Another thing that intrigued me about her was that she was sometimes referred to as the TSS Maheno.....why the "T". The only thing I can think of is that she was used as a hospital ship in WW1 so maybe it stood for troop ship, what do you think?

julian anstis
16th May 2005, 12:00
TS I have seen refered to as Training Ship and TSS as Turbine Steam Ship

michael james
16th May 2005, 19:05
Derek & Julian. I think we can rule out Turbine SS unless she was re-engined, Troop or Training (in the medical sense like so called Teaching Hospitals nowadays) either could be applicable but I prefer the latter. Based on no knowledge at all !

Its a pity your excellent picture of her launch Derek wasnt taken a couple of seconds earlier then we could have seen her three props ! Hindsight is great isnt it !

16th May 2005, 19:22
In this case, TSS = Triple Screw Steamer.

michael james
16th May 2005, 22:50
David I think its game set match to you, well thought out !

17th May 2005, 00:24
Mike you will find the picture of her stern with the 3 props here

17th May 2005, 10:26
MAHENO (5,283grt) was built by Denny's of Dumbarton in 1905 at a cost of 153,000 pounds. One of the Union Company's most attractive steamers she accommodated 254 first-class and 201 second-class passengers and was hailed as the most beautifully appointed liner of her time. As originally built she was a triple screw direct drive turbine steamer but was a heavy consumer of coal and not particularly well liked by her firemen and trimmers.
In 1914, she was converted to twin screw propulsion with geared turbines and it was claimed that MAHENO was the first ocean-going passenger liner to be so equipped. The work was carried out at Port Chalmers and immediately achieved a 25% reduction in fuel consumption.
In her early years, she was engaged on the trans Tasman run and did two trips to Vancouver in 1906. In World War I, she was a hospital ship, being taken over by the NZ Government for this purpose in 1915. Her later years saw her engaged in service between Melbourne and Wellington via South Island ports.
In 1934 after a lengthy lay-up in Port Chalmers, she was given a thorough overhaul and completely refurbished before she resumed in the Melbourne service. (I should at this point add that I can find no reference anywhere as to her being declared unseaworthy).
Sold to Miyachi K.K.K., of Kobe and Osaka in 1935, MAHENO left Sydney on 3 July 1935 in tow of OONAH, but broke adrift on 8 July and grounded on Ocean Beach, Fraser Island on 9 July. She was used as target practice for RAAF aircraft during World War II, but can still be seen today as evidenced by the photos in the first post.

17th May 2005, 10:40
I also have spent hours trying to find out why she was considered unseaworthy David, but with no success. As a last resort I am thinking of contacting the Union Steamship Society in NZ to see if they can shed any light on it.

Interesting she was converted from triple screw to double, that wouldn't have been cheap. I also note she did 17 1/2 knots on her sea trials, not too shabby for 1905.

17th May 2005, 11:34
Cost to convert was 20,000 pounds. On her maiden voyage from Melbourne to Sydney, she reached a top speed of 19 knots and averaged 18 knots - a record that was not broken for 25 years. As you say - not too bad for those days.

17th May 2005, 11:41
David where on earth are you getting all that info from? What is your secret, please please share it with me (Applause) (Applause)

michael james
17th May 2005, 14:55
Derek, Thanks for that link - very interesting. Subsequent info from David and Zelda on this ship absolutely brilliant. Mike J

19th May 2005, 17:07
dear Derek
i have been researching a book on the Maheno for the past 5 years and have hundreds of photo's and artifacts from the vessel. I am currently trying to raise funds to self publish as well as organizing other artifact owners to put together a public display to coincide with the 70th anniversary of her grounding in july.
in Maheno's case the T.s.s stands for Turbine steam ship being one of the first turbine powered passenger ships in the region(She was the 2nd Turbine steamer built by W.M.denny for the U.S.S.Co being preceeded by the T.s.s Loongana of 1904 ). She was never actually declared unseaworthy but her Survey Certificate had expired while she was layed up in Sydney due to slackness of trade in 1935 and the U.S.S.Co decided to sell her rather than re-survey giving a clue as to her condition.

19th May 2005, 23:36
Many thanks for that mahenoguy, I hope you are still around on this site when the book gets published. She was indeed a revolutionary and beautiful vessel and I can't wait to read of her exploits.

24th May 2005, 10:35
David where on earth are you getting all that info from? What is your secret, please please share it with me (Applause) (Applause)
Derek, it's called a reasonably well stocked home reference library and years of collecting bits and pieces, which my wife keeps telling me to sort out!

24th May 2005, 10:50
David don't you dare throw any of that "stuff" out. Just remember wives go before treasures LOL

26th April 2006, 03:24
Specially for Derek, some piccies of MAHENO I found while looking for something else!
Photos from Union Company's house magazine "Under Way", September 1982.

26th April 2006, 03:31
And another from the same source.

26th April 2006, 04:16
Lovely stuff david thank you. Don't know if you've been to Fraser Island lately but there is not much of her left. I'm possibly going up there for the Toyota fishing classic next month so I will take some photos of her present state.

Rob Thomson
23rd April 2007, 09:58
My grandfather, Bob Thomson, from the island of Westray in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, signed on 'Maheno' as an AB in Wellington on 18 May 1928 for an 'Intercolonial' voyage. He signed off in Wellington on 8 November 1928
following is a link to a copy of his original 'Certificate of Discharge'

Emmanuel Makarios
23rd April 2007, 12:08
Given that the Japanese war machine was already at war in Manchuria (since 1931) when the MAHENO went ashore it may have been a good thing as her steel would more likely have been turned into weapons to be used against other nations - it was probably a very good thing she never made it to Japan.

24th April 2007, 00:11
She has certainly been worth her weight in gold as a tourist magnet on Fraser island.

2nd November 2016, 21:25
Hi guys, interesting reading. My grandfather and his brother worked at Denny Bros building the Maheno and then on the crew on her maiden voyage to NZ where they settled.

31st January 2017, 08:30
My grandfather John Dunlop was an ex Chief Engineer of the Maheno. He was an ex Wm.Denny apprentice.