Tararua Acre T01.20

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[edit] Location

Tararua Acre is located about 300 meters from the road to Waipapa point, about 1000 meters to the east of the point, which is near Otara in Southland.

[edit] Description

The Tararua Acre Cemetery is where the victims of the shipwreck of the SS Tararua in April 1881 are buried. The ship struck rocks near Waipapa point and was washed to the east. For days after the ship was wrecked, bodies were swept ashore and identification became impossible. The Tararua Acre which is almost opposite the site of the wreck, was made into a cemetery for 55 of the dead.

A view of the cemetery
A view of the cemetery
Details of the only gravestones
Details of the only gravestones
The Plaque
The Plaque

[edit] History

The SS Tararua left Port Chalmers in Dunedin on 29 April, 1881, carrying a crew of 40, 111 passengers, and a cargo which included £4000 in silver coins. Its next port of call was Bluff, as part of the passenger-cargo run from Melbourne around the coast of New Zealand.

She passed the lighthouse at Nugget Point, south of Dunedin, just before 1:30 am and as it was a dark night the coast could not be seen and the steamer's position had to be made estimated using the speed of the ship, the last known position, and compass readings.

Just after 5:00 am the sound of breakers was heard, which meant that the ship was too close to shore. The captain tried to turn the Tararua out to sea but as it was coming around it struck on some rocks, breaking the propeller and unshipping the rudder.

Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, only 20 who had made it to shore survived.

Not all of the victims were buried in this cemetery, some others are buried at the Fortrose Cemetery on the Tokanui-Gorge Road Highway about 10km to the north west.

[edit] Return to Southland Cemeteries

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