1914 - Hulk on the beach

Remains of MA Doran

In April 1914, two tugs Ruru and Pelican towed the coal hulk MV Doran into Matiatia Bay. Hulks were old ships, used as floating warehouses in Auckland harbour.

The Doran was beached at high tide on the northern side of the bay, then an explosive charge set low on her port side sunk her in place. The hulk was to be used as a breakwater for the boats used by Fred Alison, owner of the farm in the Matiatia valley.

Previously the Doran had been a 315-ton brigantine (a two-masted sailing ship), first registered in Nova Scotia in 1875. The ship started her working life in the trade across the north Atlantic.

In 1883 the Doran sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to Adelaide and Sydney. She worked the trans-Tasman trade until 1899, carrying coal (from Australia) and timber (back), and agricultural produce (both ways).

By 1899 the Doran had reached the end of her voyaging life, and became a coal hulk in Auckland Harbour.

There was still coal left in the hulk, which was used by shearing gangs at the red woolshed.

The visible remains of the Doran were removed in 2013.

Audio - Don Croll remembers

  • Doran - the hulk on the beach

  • <p>The hulk of the Doran was left to gradually break down at Matiatia Bay in early 1920s. <em>Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>
  • <p>M. A. Doran, a 37m long, 315-ton two-masted brigantine was first registered at Port of Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1875, She failed her survey in Auckland in 1899 and was purchased by the Union Steam Ship Company to use as a coal hulk. On 1914 Fred Alison bought her and she was beached in Matiatia and later burnt to the high tide mark in early 1920s. <em>State Library Victoria - http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=MAIN&amp;docId=SLV_VOYAGER1729816&amp;fn=permalink</em></p>
  • <p>The  opening of the yachting season started with a cruising race to Matiatia. The hulk of the Doran can be seen in the forground,  6 December 1917.  <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19171206-37-1.</em></p>
  • <p>The remains of the M. A. Doran, Matiatia Bay, c1930s. <em>West Auckland Research Centre, FMO-P-0172.</em></p>
  • <p>Yachties on the burnt remains of the M.A Duran, c1930s. <em>Frank Morris, West Auckland Research Centre, Frank Morris Collection, FMO-037-00032-G.</em></p>
  • <p>Matiatia Bay showing the remains of the Doran, c1920s. <em>Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>