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Disaster, despair, rescue and revelry – the shipwreck of the Walter Hood, 26 April 1870

If you love a good horror story, did you know that Milton-Ulladulla has one its very own? Here are your clues – a man’s heart-stopping dream predicting nearby disaster, widespread floods, desperate cries for help, the killing and eating of a small dog, the grisly discovery of a severed arm, and maybe even a mutinous murder. And, of course, the best horror stories need some crazy comical elements, so let’s throw in some wild drinking, dress-up parades on the beach, a man found guilty for wearing a crimson shirt, and thousands of broken tiles meant for a cathedral floor.

They might sound like scenes from a tragic and gruesome movie but they’re all real, except probably the dream. These extraordinary events began 150 years ago this month when the heavily-loaded clipper ship Walter Hood was pushed by a fierce storm onto a reef at the southern end of Wreck Bay, just north of Bendalong Point.


The Milton Ulladulla Historical Society had been preparing an exhibition about this anniversary to display at Ulladulla High School library but COVID19 means we’ve had to tailor this for an online exhibition instead.

So be prepared to be thrilled, horrified and scandalised as you learn more about the grand tragedy that was The Wrecking of the Walter Hood

To navigate through the online exhibition, click the link below of the first story about Walter Hood the man, the shipyard and the ship. You can then navigate your way through the unfolding story by clicking the main link at the end of each page.

You can return to this introduction and main menu from any page by clicking the exhibition link in the sidebar.

Walter Hood – the man, his shipyard and the ship

The Fateful Last Voyage of the Walter Hood – 20 January to 22 April 1870

Disaster! – how did the Walter Hood come to grief in Wreck Bay?

Despair! – crew cling desperately to life and the wrecked Walter Hood

Rescue! – how were men rescued from the shipwrecked Walter Hood?

Revelry! – a bounty-filled beach meets remote regional residents

Respect – inquest and burial of those who died on the Walter Hood

Sensation! – NSW’s response to the Walter Hood shipwreck news

Retrieval – what was salvaged from the cargo of the Walter Hood

Error and Trial – wreckage and the tattletale crimson shirt

Respect renewed – locals honour the Walter Hood victims

Mutiny and Murder? – what really became of Captain Latto?

Walter Hood sources and historiography – what’s true and what’s not?


Milton's Church of England Cemetery
Walter Hood - the man, his shipyard, and the ship

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