Victorian Lighthouses and Shipwrecks -Cape Nelson

DSC_1059Drawing to the very tale end of our trip along the Victorian Coast, just before Christmas (and to be honest past the end of The Great Ocean Road even) we got to Portland. I was actually quite excited to be back in Portland, as I had spent time there as a kid. There were several places I wanted to visit, alas the sea mist followed us from Port Fairy and we could see very little; additional bushfires were not helping the cause either. First cab of the rank when we arrived was Cape Nelson (not to be confused with Nelson on the S.A. border).

Built in 1884 and still standing on these rugged bluffs along with the Lighthouses Keepers Cottages (which you can actually stay in, perhaps one day, it would be a wonderful spot for sunrise). A remarkable feature of the lighthouse reserve is a rubble wall 1.75 metres high, 0.4 metres wide and 435 metres (1450 ft) long surrounding the keepers quarters and extending out to the light to protect the keepers from the harsh winds. In 1977, a major overhaul of the lantern room was undertaken and the cupola (dome) was replaced. In 1987, the light was connected mains power.

We were still battling the sea mist, which had started to blow off, but made visibility extremely limited. It honestly doesn’t look too bad in these photos, but it did make for limited viewing from the bluffs.


Because of the number of tragic shipwrecks in the vicinity; the Victorian Government had the lighthouse constructed at Cape Nelson.


Marie 1851 (not found) The barque Marie, on a voyage from Antwerp to Sydney via Adelaide, was wrecked off Cape Bridgewater in September 1851. All on board, including the Belgian Consul, were drowned.

Jane 1863 (not found) Poor visibility caused the schooner Jane to be wrecked at Cape Bridgewater in June 1863. A local resident, Waldy Hedditch, was drowned during the rescue attempt.

S.S. Barwon 1863-1871 The steamship S.S. Barwon sank in Bridgewater Bay after striking a reef off Cape Bridgewater during foggy weather. The remains of the vessel can still be seen from the cliffs overlooking the bay. (We could not see anything due to the mist).

Isabella 1826 – 1837 When Captain Hart of the Isabella mistook Lady Julie Percy Island for Cape Nelson in 1837 he plotted a course that took the barque into the cliffs of the Cape. All on board were saved.

Captain Cook 1847 – 1850 (not found) The Australian-built schooner Captain Cook was wrecked at the top of Cape Nelson Bay during a sudden southeasterly gale.

(Info from Shipwreck Trail from Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village)


Another tourist attraction of the area (which I may not have mentioned previously – due to the fact it is way to strenuous for me) is the 250 km long Great South-West Walk along the coast between Portland and Nelson. I’m sure it provides an excellent way to see a variety of scenery and wildlife in south-western Victoria.

Well that’s about it from me, til next time, happy snapping………..