There are a number of ships that have come to grief around the Island.
1830 whaling Brig George, 185 tons, hit a rock (now George’s rock) off the south east side of Mount Gower. The George was said to have been carrying a chest of gold coins, which the crew got ashore in the lifeboat, but this has never been found.
1837 whaler Wolf struck a rock (now Wolf Rock) east of Mount Lidgbird.
1903 island trader SS Ovalau, 769 tons, with a load of copra caught fire off the Island and sank.
1907 French naval vessel La Meurthe being towed from Sydney to New Caledonia broke a tow rope and ended up on the reef. The ship was burnt after copper fittings were removed.
1918 trading ship SS Makambo hit a rock off Ned’s Beach and was run aground for repair. Many cases of fruit and tons of copra were thrown overboard. It was this event that brought rats to the island. Rats soon spread all across the Island wreaking havoc on birdlife and plantlife.
1954 cargo boat Jacques del Mar ran onto the south side of North Passage. The ship was cut up and removed.
1963 tuna boat Favourite dragged anchor at night and ended up on the north side of North Passage. The vessel was burnt to avoid planks washing into the lagoon and posing a hazard to the flying boats. Pieces of the metal structure washed into the lagoon and the engine is still visible on the reef.
2002 British destroyer HMS Nottingham ran aground on Wolf Rock at night. After anchoring off Middle Beach for four weeks, repairs were sufficient to enable the ship to be towed to Newcastle. Eventually the destroyer was taken back to the UK for repair.