The HMQS Gayundah bow is on the verge of collapse. Photo taken in 2018. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop
The HMQS Gayundah bow is on the verge of collapse. Photo taken in 2018. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop

Plan to disassemble historic wreck

Due to the public's inability to stay away from the HMQS Gayundah Shipwreck at Woody Point - Moreton Bay Regional Council has no choice but to remove part of the wreck.

The wreck, located at the base of the Woody Point cliffs, near Redcliffe north of Brisbane, is heavily rusted.

It is alleged vandals damaged the bow a couple of years ago. It is now on the verge of collapse.

Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesman for Asset Maintenance Councillor Adam Hain said people continued to climb over and inside the wreck, despite there being a viewing platform above.

 

All that remains of the Gayundah at Woody Point. Photo: Barry Tuton
All that remains of the Gayundah at Woody Point. Photo: Barry Tuton

 

"This is a fragile, historically significant site and we want to preserve what we can and we absolutely have to act to prevent it collapsing on someone," Cr Hain said.

"It's disappointing to see people not only disrespecting this site but also putting their own safety at risk by climbing on it.

"In August, 2018 we commissioned an independent assessment of the risk to public safety. In the eight hours of on-site observation, the assessor witnessed 36 visitors to the wreck."

Cr Hain said the wind and waves was always going to lead to the wreck rusting over time.

"Because of their historical significance, we can't intervene in that process. However, if people are putting their own safety at risk we have no choice but to act," Cr Hain said.

"The independent assessment recommended a number of interventions, including relocation of the ship's bow which is at risk of collapsing at any moment, and increasing public awareness of the danger posed by the wreck."

 

 

New signs have been put up at the Gayundah ship wreck at Woody Point. Photo: Barry Tuton
New signs have been put up at the Gayundah ship wreck at Woody Point. Photo: Barry Tuton

 

Cr Hain said the bow would be removed by a crane and relocated to the rear of the wreck.

The Gayundah Preservation Society has been working for five years to preserve the wreck.

Red tape and government policy prevented them from using a rust resistant coating on the ship.

Society president Richard Lancaster said while he understood council's need to maintain public safety, he was not happy with where they planned to place the bow once removed.

"The proposal to remove it and place the bow at ground level adjacent to the stern section of the ship, makes a mockery of this iconic ship's profile," Mr Lancaster said.

"This the ship that helped deter a Russian invasion of Queensland in the 1880s. If enacted, this proposal will result in the ship's historic remains not resembling its correct shape and will appear as a pile of unrecognisable rusting junk."

After the latest proposal to help preserve the ship was reject the society put forward another option to help preserve the wreck.

 

 

A picture of the wreck before the bow collapsed. Picture: Chris Higgins
A picture of the wreck before the bow collapsed. Picture: Chris Higgins

 

"The society suggested that the damaged bow of the vessel be removed from its watery location and placed in a suitable location in the adjacent Gayundah Arboretum, thereby creating a suitable public memorial to the ship.

"This was denied by the Department, saying that no part of the vessel could be touched, as the ship's remains were located within the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

"The Society opposes the proposal of relocating the bow of the ship to a location adjacent to its stern and instead requests that the bow be relocated to a suitable site in the Gayundah Arboretum, so that a suitable memorial to this historic ship can be created. This historic icon deserves to be remember as a truly great Queenslander."