It’s hard to believe the rusty hulk at the foot of the cliffs of Woody Point was in the 19th century the Navy’s proud premier warship.
As one of the newly established Australian Navy’s first ships, a flat-iron gunboat Gayundah was built in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the 1884 at the behest of the Queensland Maritime Defence Force, commissioned to protect the many bays, inlets and estuaries along the east coast from the enemy-of-the-day which at the time was believed to be the Russians.
By 1886 it had been acquired by the fledgling Australian Navy as one of its ten ships. In its short lived defence career the ship never encountered the enemy, although other achievements included the first warship in Australia to use wireless telegraphy.
Up until the end of World War I she was used as a mine sweeper and sea tender ship and by 1919 had been decommissioned, sold to civilians and was thereby stripped and demoted to a gravel barge.
By 1957-8 she was retired and towed to the base of these cliffs where she has since acted as a breakwater, protecting the shore not from the enemy but from erosion.