Shipwrecks feature in the Shoalhaven's history and one of the most famous of all happened off the coast of Bendalong.
In May 2020 the 150 year anniversary of the sinking of the merchant ship Walter Hood off the coast of Bendalong, which occurred at the same time a massive flood hit the region, was marked.
Walter Hood was an eminent builder, born near Aberdeen and set up his own shipbuilding company in 1839.
The Walter Hood left London on January 22, 1870 carrying beer, iron bars, railway irons, cork, cement, wine, salt, theatrical costumes and a large quantity of tiles.
The vessel encountered a heavy storm when turning up the eastern coast of Australia, the gale stripped the vessel of sails and carried away Wilkie.
On April 26 land was sighted amidst large seas. The Walter Hood, in a crippled state, did not have enough canvas left to beat out to sea.
The Walter Hood struck a reef in Wreck Bay and immediately began to break up. Captain Latto was hit by a large wave which swept him to the side of the ship breaking some of his ribs.
Early next morning, the cabin began to fill with incoming seas and the crew were compelled to leave an injured Captain below.
Fearing certain death on the collapsing deck, members of the crew attempted to swim to the shore. Those remaining on the wreck, many of whom could not swim, watched helplessly as their companions drowned.
While some eventually made it to the shore, others died from exposure on the hull. Captain Latto was washed out of his cabin and drowned amidst the wreckage of his ship.
On Friday morning, some managed to reach the shore. The thirteen remaining on the exposed stern had now been without food for three days and nights. In desperation they killed and ate a small dog belonging to their dead Captain.
The bodies of those drowned washed ashore and were buried in a suitably marked spot in the bush. Spectators arrived and fought over the most costly articles of wreckage.
Of the 35 on board the Walter Hood there were 23 survivors.
Information thanks to the Shoalhaven Historical Society.
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