LORD RODNEY, two-masted brig whaler:
Wrecked on 15 April 1836 at West Head Whangaroa. Left Bay of Islands on 14 April and ran into a gale. Master John Barker Harewood feared he would be caught on a lee shore, so bore up for Whangaroa. The next morning he brought up in the narrows of the entrance and went in search of a pilot, but failing to find one, returned to his vessel to find it was nearly flood tide. When in the most dangerous part of the entrance, the Lord Rodney became unmanageable in the buffeting winds. The anchor was dropped, but in coming round in the narrow channel a sudden puff of wind caught the vessel and sent her against the rocks. A quarter boat was lowered with two hands, clearing just as the vessel struck and bilged, carrying away her sternpost and rudder. The crew jumped into the boat, while the Lord Rodney struck again so hard that a rock came through her stern, forcing up the cabin deck, and capsizing her.
On 27 May, Captain Harewood, and one of the crew, arrived in Sydney on the Mediterranean Packet. The remainder of the crew shipped on board different whalers and went back to sea. (Sydney Gazette, 28 May; SH 30 May 1836.) Built 1807 in Bermuda. Owned by James Holt & Richard Roberts. 165 tons. Length 76.7ft., beam 23.6ft., depth 5.10ft. Reg. Sydney 5/1836.
Text from New Zealand Shipwrecks, 8th edition (Hodder Moa, 2007). Used with permission of the publisher and authors.
Nick Freeman, Archaehistoria’s Magnetometer Specialist, off North Head, Whangaroa Harbour on November 28, 2010, in the first ever magnetometer survey for the remains of the 1836 wreck of the brig Lord Rodney. We were blessed on the day with stunningly beautiful weather. 28 November 2010.
View to the North from Archaehistoria’s research vessel R.V. Heemskerck during the Lord Rodney survey. Stephenson Island on the right, North Head on the left. The research vessel is small but there are advantages such as low freeboard which facilitates handling scientific instrumentation in and out of the water and the shallow water capability. Most important of all is the low operating costs of such a vessel, considering all surveys are currently personally funded. 28 November 2010.
View towards South Head of Whangaroa Harbour. North Head on far right. The secretive entrance to the spectacular Whangaroa Harbour meant the harbour was one of the last to be discovered by European explorers. 28 November 2010.
Detail track lines of the Lord Rodney survey. The electronic plotter was found to be invaluable for keeping track of where we had been and ensuring we were covering the area thoroughly. The only ferrous contacts we found was located at the GPS marks seen above and where the cross hairs are centred. The magnetic contacts were weak and scattered, which could be consistent with a broken up wreck, but also easily could be modern contamination like small boat anchors and lost chain. This contact has not been diver survey yet (2011) by Archaehistoria. Note the concentration of tracks lines and short runs as we turned and narrowed down the magnetic contacts. The tidal flow here was quite pronounced and you could see current eddies on the surface, so any diving here would have to be conducted at slack water. Archaehistoria has heard an old large anchor was recovered from the North Head area; any further information on this anchor recovery would be of much interest. This anchor could be from the Lord Rodney and could well confirm where the wreck went to pieces on the rocks. 28 November 2010.
Survey track lines for the Lord Rodney wreck. 28 November 2010.