Kerry Prendergast

Shipwreck to be marked 100 years on

From dompost

Dunedin maritime writer Bruce Collins is delighted Wellington City Council has responded to his request for a plaque to mark one of New Zealand's worst shipping disasters.

The SS Penguin sank off the south coast of Wellington on February 12, 1909 with 102 people on board.

While everybody got off the ship in the stormy conditions, there were only 30 survivors, including just one woman. All children on board died.

Collins, a maritime writer who already had two books to his credit, was casting around New Zealand for other shipwreck stories and was surprised to find that one of the country's worst shipping disasters had never been documented. He wrote The Wreck of the Penguin.

Collins wrote to Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast five years ago, pointing out that there are several memorials of the Wahine disaster, but none for the Penguin. Tonight Prendergast will unveil a plaque on a prominent rock at Tongue Point, close to where it is thought the Penguin hit rocks and foundered.

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