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The wreck of the Union Steam Ship Company’s vessel SS Tararua still remains, almost ninety years later, New Zealand’s worst sea disaster involving civilians.

When she struck the reef at Waipapa Point, Southland, in the early hours of 29 April 1881, all 151 passengers and crew aboard felt no fears for their safety, for the sea was calm, and the Tararua seemed settled firmly. Coolly and collectedly, Captain Garrard gave his orders.

Those on board felt that all they had to do was wait patiently for dawn, for soon after that rescue ships would arrive. There was no hurry, and besides, the shore seemed so comfortably close.

But the ships were to come too late, and as the day dragged on the seas came up and the anguished watchers on the shore saw wave after wave sweep the victims off the vessel’s deck, until in the middle of the night, there were the last cries for help. Altogether, 131 people perished in this grim shipwreck.

Joan Macintosh author, published by A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1st ed 1970, 160pp, h/c, dj with plastic cover, b&w photos.

Ex library copy with usual marks/markings, twink to reverse side of pre-title page (presumably previous owner details), interior is in reasonably tidy condition.

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L14E
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