· Constructed 1903 in Sydney, NSW.
· Single screw steamer, steel construction, compound engine.
· Tonnage 134.12 (metric), length 11.15 meters, width 2.04 meters, draft 0.73 meters.
· Wrecked 19 September 1917 off Norah Head by gale, on a voyage from Sydney to Nambucca River.
The wreckage of the Nerong lies 5km east of the Nora Head Lighthouse in 44m of water. She is upright on the sand with the aft section most intact but littered with wreckage.
From the stern, the tips of the Nerong’s twin propellers are visible above the sand, as is the top of the rudder. Moving forward, the twin engines and associated machinery lie just astern of the boiler.
The outline of the ship is clearly visible with a foot of hull projecting from the sand in the mid-ship section before reaching the winches and clear shape of the bow.
The Nerong was a steel vessel single screw steamer, designed to negotiate the bars and shallower waters of the Northern rivers. She served with the North Coast Steam Navigation Company on a run between Sydney and the Nambucca River.
The Nerong left Sydney bound for the Nambucca River at 9:30pm on 18 September 1917 under the command of Captain H. Frost. She left in light rain with a very small following sea.
At 2am, a sudden heavy squall struck the ship from the eastward. Heavy seas crashed over her flooding the decks. The Narong lay in a trough, broadside to the waves as more heavy seas swept over the ship. The squall quickly dropped off, only to be replaced by gale force winds from the south-east.
The Nerong had developed a five degree list to port and was chased by a large following sea. The Chief Engineer flagged to the Captain that the ship was taking on water at an alarming rate. With all pumps and bale-buckets already deployed, the crew began to jettison cargo.
By 5am, the water in the engine room was washing pieces of coal out of the bunker and down into the bilges where they caused the pump to choke, further worsening the flooding. The Captain was informed by the Chief Engineer that the fires were almost out. The ship’s boats were prepared, but kept in the inboard position because of the big seas.
At 7am, Norah Head Lighthouse was sighted three miles away. Distress signals were raised and rockets were fired but were not noticed by the lighthouse staff for another five hours. The Nerong continued to settle deeper into the water over the next five hours before the lighthouse staff caught sight of her.
At 1:10pm the ship rolled over so that her masts were lying level with the sea before she foundered stern first.
Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.
Max Gleeson (2004) “Destination Never Reached”.