Victorian Lighthouses – Cape Liptrap

In 2015 and 2016 I embarked on a voyage of learning and adventure by following the Victorian Coast looking for both Lighthouses and shipwrecks and have written many a post. We have been from Wonthaggi all the way to the South Australian border (and beyond). Victoria’s coastline is often rugged and exceptionally beautiful, the fertile soil and hidden gems (gold and precious metals) made these journeys into such dangerous territory, high sea adventure in the extreme during the 1700, 1800 and 1900s. So many vessels and souls lost on that rocky coastline.

This year we picked up that trail again, this time on the South Eastern coastline, as we travelled to Inverloch. We visited the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse.


Cape Liptrap stands upon a rocky cliff top, on a solitary part of the South Gippsland coastline, warning ships of the rocks in treacherous Bass Strait.

LOCATION: Latitude 38° 54′ 5″ S, Longitude 145° 55′ 4″ E (Map)
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CHARACTER: Flashing 3 every 15 seconds
INTENSITY: 40,000 Candelas
ELEVATION: 93.6 Metres
RANGE: 18 Nautical Mile
HEIGHT: 9.75 Metres

~ Lighthouses of Victoria

The first Cape Liptrap lighthouse was established in 1913. It was a 2.1 metre steel tower with an acetylene light. As a keeper was never stationed at Cape Liptrap, it is really the first automatic Commonwealth funded light to be put into service. The current lighthouse was built in 1951 in cast concrete, and is octagonal in shape. It was converted to mains power in 1970.

True it is not the prettiest Lighthouse we have seen, but the area surrounding it is stunning and on a clear day you can see for miles. It is also one with a great view of just how rocky and dangerous the shores can be and that vessels coming too close at great risk.

We only have a few left lighthouses left to see along the Victorian Coastline, this time we need to be travelling up towards the NSW border, hopefully we can get them all done one day. Perhaps another week meandering the coast, like we did last time.

~ Julz

An update on the Mahogany Ship

In December 2015 Moth and I drove The Great Ocean Road and did the Victorian Shipwreck Coast, I wrote numerous blog posts about all the stop; along with, all the lighthouses and shipwrecks. One such post I wrote was about the Mahogany Ship; which has been raised to near Urban Legend Status, with so many people claiming what it is or isn’t and where it may or may not be.

Just recently I have been contacted by a Mr. Rob Simpson, who believes that he and his associates may have actually found evidence of the existence of the ship and it’s remains. He first did a video on YouTube in his Quest for the Mahogany Ship. More recently they have been doing some more active searches in the area around Warrnambool and Tower Hill with scientific equipment to verify their findings. As yet nothing has been actually found, but early diagnosis seems positive, they have hopes of continuing their search when the weather improves. Going into Winter is not a pleasant time to be scouring this region.

Still it was very interesting to watch the video and read his latest achievements. You can read more about their latest endeavours here. I look forward to future explorations and perhaps finding what is under the hummocks of sand………is it in fact a shipwreck? Is it the long famed Mahogany Ship? I know sometimes a mystery is best left a mystery……..but when an opportunity offers hidden secrets it is fun to open them isn’t it? Just hope it’s not Pandora’s Box!

~ Julz

Victorian Lighthouses – Whalers Bluff, Portland

Overlooking the large Port of Portland is the Lighthouse Reserve, also known as Whalers Bluff. Here amongst seaside cottages is a functioning Lighthouse.



The Whalers Bluff Lighthouse was originally erected with keeper’s quarters on Battery Point in 1859 and was known as the Portland Bay Lighthouse. It was first lit in that same year. The lantern was made in England. The lighthouse was then relocated, stone by stone, to it’s current position on North Bluff (Whaler’s Bluff) in 1889 to make way for gun emplacements on Battery Point. Another reason given for the relocation was that it was less vulnerable to attack on Whaler’s Bluff.

LOCATION: Latitude 38°20’4″ S, Longitude 141°36’6″ E 
OPERATOR: Victoria Channels Authority
EXHIBITED: 1859 Battery Point. 1889 Whalers Bluff
CONSTRUCTION: Dressed stone
CHARACTER: Group Flashing White and Red every 10 seconds
ELEVATION: 41 metres
RANGE: 15 nautical miles
HEIGHT: 12 metres
CUSTODIAN: Victoria Channels Authority

This site was situate a mere 5 minutes from where our hotel was located, and we visited a few times in our short stay. We went late one evening and thought it must be a brilliant sport for sunrise. So up early again we were, but that damn sea mist and low cloud were back and sunrise……….it was a no show again. I did get some good shots of the lighthouse and port though.


Well that brings me to the end of this stretch of Victorian Coastline, perhaps another time we will head out East and cover that area, through South Gippsland and Wilson’s Prom. This is another wild and rugged area of Victoria’s coastline heading towards the NSW Border. Til next time folks, happy snappy and safe travels……


Victorian Shipwrecks – Portland to Nelson

I thought I might split this last spot into two post; one for the Lighthouse and one for the Shipwrecks – there are a lot.

Nelson (SA Border)

I freely admit we did not go looking for these three, they are listed as not found and we had already visited so many spots, where nothing was found and there is nothing to see, but it would be remiss of me to not mention them, as they are the final three along this bit of the coast. The fact is that there is not alot of ANYTHING at Nelson, but the Cafe did make good coffee.

S.S. Perseverance 1890 – 1898 (not found) The S.S. Perseverance was wrecked on the sandbar at the mouth of the Glenelg River whilst attempting a voyage from Nelson to the river Murray in South Australia.

The Triumph 1840 – 1863 (not found) The Western Australian-built schooner The Triumph disappeared whilst on a voyage from Port MacDonnell to Port Adelaide. The remains of the vessel were later found cast ashore at Discovery Bay. There were no survivors.

John Ormerod 1826 – 1861 (not found) The English-built schooner John Ormerod came ashore east of the Glenelg River mouth, after having been blown over on to its side whilst off Cape Bridgewater. Only three of the crew survived.


Portland is one of the few natural deep water ports in Australia. Bass Strait sealers are thought to have used it as a base well before the 1820s when it became an established whaling station. Since then, with the growth of a prosperous hinterland and fishing industries, the arrival of goldseekers, immigration and, more recently, manufacturing developments, Portland has become a thriving city. Before the construction of the breakwaters and deepwater moorings, Portland Bay was a trap for vessels at anchor. Strong south-easterly gales often caught them unprepared and drove them ashore. There are 17 shipwrecks in Portland Bay. These vessels carried immigrants and all manner of cargoes, including timber, whaling products, potatoes, clothing, alcohol and pianos. Most have never been located.

Henry 1827 – 1834 (not found) The small schooner Henry became the first recorded shipwreck in Portland Bay when it was forced ashore while loading whale oil in August 1834.

New Zealander 1852 – 1853 The immigrant ship New Zealander had discharged its 465 passengers and was undergoing repairs when it caught fire. The remains of the wreck can still be seen in the water below the Lighthouse Reserve.

Lady Robilliard 1845 – 1867 (not found) The Lady Robilliard was on a voyage from Port Adelaide to Portland when a south-easterly gale drove it ashore near Whalers Bluff.

Argo 1867 – 1883 (not found) The 17-ton wooden cutter Argo, built in Port Fairy, was wrecked on Portland beach during a south-easterly gale on 31 December 1883.

Margaret and Agnes 1850 – 1852 (not found) The Victorian-built schooner Margaret and Agnes had just arrived at Portland Bay from Port Fairy with a cargo of potatoes, flour and bran, when it was blown ashore.

Mary Jane 1846 – 1852 (not found) Following the wreck of the Canadian-built brigantine, Mary Jane and the stranding of the schooner Brothers in May 1852, the Portland Guardian criticized the vessels’ captains for anchoring too close to shore, and called on the Colonial Government to appoint a harbour master at Portland.

Tui 1868 – 1883 (not found) The 18-ton cutter Tui, built at Port Fairy in 1868, was reported wrecked at Portland following a south-easterly gale in 1883.

Nestor 1840-1854 (not found) The immigrant ship Nestor was lost due to foul play. After the wreck, divers discovered three holes bored in the hull. The master was later arrested and charged with scuttling his ship, but charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Australasia 1847 – 1855 (not found) Australasia and Constant were both driven ashore during a severe gale in March 1855. The Australasia was sold to the Henty brothers, who made a small fortune by salvaging the cargo of wool.

Constant 1843 – 1855 (not found) The Constant had just discharged its 229 immigrants before being blown ashore during a storm, possibly because of poor anchors.

Regia 1835 – 1860 The remains of the Indian-built barque Regia, grounded during a severe gale, can still be seen lying in two metres of water next to the reclaimed land on the Portland foreshore.

Tamora 1853-1860 (not found) The wooden barque Temora blew ashore in a gale while unloading cargo. Portland police charged some people with theft from the vessel, including the master of the schooner Eva, which was wrecked in the same gale.

Elizabeth 1837 – 1844 (not found) The Tasmanian-built schooner Elizabeth and another schooner, Sally Ann, were driven ashore during a south-easterly gale in Portland Bay in mid-November 1844.

Elizabeth 1838 – 1846 (not found) The Canadian-built brig Elizabeth was totally wrecked on the beach directly below the Portland town site during a south-easterly gale in November 1846.

Henry 1853 (not found) According to some sources, the two-masted schooner Henry, built specifically to trade between Melbourne and Portland, went ashore during a gale at Portland in September 1853 and became a total wreck.

Sally Ann 1826 – 1844 (not found) The Bermudan-built schooner Sally Ann, owned by Stephen Henty, was a regular visitor to Portland. She was driven ashore in a south-easterly gale in mid November 1844, along with the schooner Elizabeth.

Merope’s boat 1839 (not found) One of the earliest recorded wrecks in Portland Bay was that of a small boat from the barque Merope. It struck a reef while the crew was hunting whales off Lawrence Rocks in May 1839. Furthermore the actual vessel Merope came to grief not far away in 1853, after striking a reef east of the Fitzroy River mouth. The Indian-built sailing ship Merope had also survived a stranding in Western Australia. Oops not a good safety record on this one.


This last image was taken late evening on the edge of Whaler’s Bluff overlooking the Port of Portland. Which is where I will finish off my Posts of Lighthouses along the Victorian coast.


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………..



Victorian Lighthouses and Shipwrecks – Griffiths Island

Griffiths Island, often incorrectly spelled as Griffith Island, sits at the mouth of the Moyne River  within the boundary of Port Fairy itself. Griffiths has no permanent (human) inhabitants, and is connected to the mainland by a causeway and is only accessible by foot. It forms part of the Port Fairy and Belfast Coastline Protection Reserve and, as well as being a tourist attraction, is an important site in the context of the history of European settlement of western Victoria.

When we were in Port Fairy the sea mist (which we have not really seen before) was surrounding us, we could barely see a few feet in front of us. It made sightseeing difficult, although did make for some moody photos! It was hot and humid and quite eerie walking along the causeway from the mainland to the island, there are shallows full of swans, ducks and various birds, ghosting along silently on calm water. I put a post on Instagram about how it reminded me of the horror movie The Fog…….which strangely was liked by the Port Fairy Tourist Centre!

We walked the 1.5km walk on the short, easy side (no sand dunes) it is all bitumen and gravel paths on that side. Lots of lovely trees surrounded by mist and we spotted a wallaby as well………..not very shy, so we got lots of photos. The path takes you directly to the lighthouse which eventually appeared out of the mist, it is also located at the end of a short causeway surrounded by lots of rocks and a little sand. Part of the fence and gate is all that remains of the Gatekeeper’s Residence.


Griffiths Island was named after John Griffiths, an entrepreneur and merchant from Tasmania, who figured prominently in the early history of the area. From the mid 1830s until 1843 the island served as a base for a bay whaling station for Southern Right Whales, until the supply of whales was exhausted and the industry went into terminal decline.

Griffiths Island Lighthouse was built in 1859, from local bluestone. The stairway was constructed with each step being inserted in the next course of stone in the outer wall. The lighthouse was initially manned by two keepers, the last keeper to live on the island was there from 1929 to 1954, when the light was automated; the two stone keepers’ cottages were subsequently demolished in about 1956. The island is about 1.5 km long and 0.8 km wide at its widest point, with an area of about 31 ha.

Griffiths Island Lighthouse
Coordinates 38°23′06″S 142°15′04″E
Year first lit 1859
Construction bluestone tower
Tower shape cylindrical
Markings / pattern white tower with red trim and lantern
Height 11 m
Focal height 12.5 m
Original lens catadioptric lantern
Range 22 km
Characteristic group flashing white, twice every 10 seconds
Admiralty number K2146
NGA number 8028
ARLHS number AUS-086


Some 80 plus bird species have been recorded on the island, especially seabirds and waders. There is a large breeding colony of short-tailed shearwaters, locally known as ‘muttonbirds’, with an estimated 100,000 burrows.  The shearwater colony is a tourist attraction in spring and summer, there is a viewing area to watch the birds as they return in a swarm to their burrows at sunset. There are other animals residents on the island include swamp wallabies, short-beaked echidnas, blue-tongued lizards and tiger snakes; we only saw the wallabies.


Port Fairy sits at the mouth of the Moyne River, and is one of Victoria’s earliest settlements, it began as a whaling station. Twenty ships were lost at Port Fairy when driven ashore by southerly gales between 1836 and 1876. During this period, Port Fairy grew from a sealing and whaling base to a thriving rural port. Here are just a few, we never saw any evidence of the wreckage.

Socrates 1821 – 1843 The British built whaler was wrecked with its cargo of cattle, sheep and oil from Tasmania when its cable parted during an easterly gale.

Lydia 1825 – 1843 The Liverpool-built South American trader was sailing from Sydney to London in ballast when lost after running ashore.

Thistle 1825 – 2837 The Indian-built schooner owned by the Hentys was wrecked when its crew was collecting wattle bark during the off-season from whaling.

Essington 1826 – 1852 Government-built in Sydney as a troop and convict transport, it was privately owned when wrecked in a gale while carrying general cargo from Sydney


Victorian Shipwrecks – The Mahogany Ship

Most of the shipwrecks I have presented so far and the ones still to come are fact, recorded, eye witnessed and even physical evidence or salvage as proof. There is one shipwreck which for Australians has been raised to the level of Urban Myth or Folklore……… it real of not? There are many tales and stories; even books tell tales of this mysterious ship half buried in sand dunes near Port Fairy, a few vague eye witness accounts, but never any proof. I thought it deserved it’s own post.

Even in the early 19th Century it was considered an ancient wreck, how long had it been there, where did it come from? Some believe it is a 16th century Portugese caravel to an early American sealing vessel. Many theories state that is real or not real, that it is anything from Portugese, to Chinese; there are rumours and thoughts of secret mission, government cover ups and espionage. It was a very different world back then and the hunt for gold, spices, and new territory was a battle fraught with danger and intrigue.

In many of the accounts written in the late 19th century, the Mahogany Ship was described as Spanish. According to local writer and antiquarian Jack Loney, several theories supporting the Spanish connection were advanced. One theory was that the ship was the galleon “Santa Ysabel”, which had sailed from Peru in 1595.

Today, a popular theory suggests that the vessel is a missing ship of voyage of Portuguese exploration, wrecked in 1522. Kenneth McIntyre advanced this theory in 1977, as part of his theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia. According to McIntyre the Mahogany Ship was part of a secret expedition, under Cristóvão de Mendonça, that set out from the Spice Islands in 1522 to look for the Isles of Gold. McIntyre argued secrecy would have been essential because the mariners were entering waters deemed Spanish under the Treaty of Tordesillas. He suggested that, after discovering the north coast of Australia, they followed and chartered it and continued down the east coast and around Cape Howe, before one of the caravels was wrecked at Warrnambool. The other ships turned back and returned to the Spice Islands and then Portugal. Maps and documents of such a voyage were kept locked away in Portugal so as to avoid antagonising Spain and to keep the discoveries from her or other nations. McIntyre suggested that all of the original documents have since been lost or destroyed, except for references to Jave la Grande, which appear on the French Dieppe school of maps. Lawrence Fitzgerald also supported McIntyre’s theory connecting the Mahogany ship to a Portuguese voyage in his 1984 book, Java La Grande. However, Peter Trickett’s 2007 book on the theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia, Beyond Capricorn, found fault with McIntyre’s interpretation of the Mahogany ship as a caravel, and noted that until the wreck is found, “all theories must remain to some degree speculative.” Bob Nixon (2001) and Murray Johns (2005) have both criticised McIntyre’s account for adding confusion to the story of the Mahogany ship through his identification of the wreck as a caravel.

In 2002 English writer Gavin Menzies speculated that the ship was a modified Chinese junk. He pointed to the reports that it was made of a ‘dark wood’ and was ‘of an unconventional design’. He also cited claims that local Aborigines had a tradition “yellow men” had at one time come from the wreck. The claims of Chinese origin have not been well received in academic circles. Many notable historians have dismissed the notion as fanciful at best.

In 2005, The Age newspaper reported Canberra mathematician Dr. Frank Coningham’s claim that in the 1980s he had seen a document in a collection of British Parliamentary Papers showing British authorities “dismantled the wreck to prevent an Australian land claim by the King of Portugal.” However, Sydney archaeologist Denis Gojak has also investigated the claim and searched British Parliamentary papers. He has been unable to find such a document and doubts its existence as reported.

Dr. Murray Johns’ theory is that the Mahogany Ship was an incomplete vessel probably built by escaped Tasmanian convicts. He argues they may have arrived on the schooner Unity in 1813, which was wrecked or beached nearby. In his view, this theory explains the repeated nineteenth century references to several unidentified wrecks in different locations in the area. It also accounts for the finds of wood from northern New South Wales (where the Unity had been built), and the nineteenth century descriptions of the Mahogany Ship as crude construction.


There have been of course, many searches for this infamous ship wreck, from the 19th Century through to more recent, using Google Maps an aerial survey equipment, government rewards and private endeavours. Apart from a few stray pieces of wood, which could have been from any wreck there is still no evidence of what the ship was, or even if it was at all.


Victorian Lighthouses and Shipwrecks – Warrnambool

Most of my posts up until now have been one of the other, but in Warrnambool I get to cover both, and not just one but two lighthouses; plus fifteen shipwrecks.

Lady Bay Lighthouses

The Lady Bay Lighthouses were originally built in 1858-9 of basalt quarried on the Maribyrnong River, Melbourne. The upper tower, chartroom, cottage and privy were originally located on Middle Island, and the lower light was located on a timber tower on the beach. In 1871 the lights were moved to Flagstaff Hill as leading lights for the entry to the treacherous and shallow Warrnambool Harbour. The lower light was placed on a blue stone obelisk that had been erected there as a navigation marker in 1854. A flagstaff had been erected on the hill as early as 1853. The battery of two 80 pounder rifled, muzzle loading guns was added in 1887 as part of a general upgrade to the defences of Victoria which saw Port Phillip Bay transformed into a fortress and the nearby ports of Belfast (Port Fairy) and Portland receive a similar armament to Warrnambool. The fortifications and guns were in a derelict condition until they were restored after the complex was integrated into the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum in the 1970s.

Lady Bay Shipwrecks

Although most of the shipwrecks are actually listed as not found, there is ample evidence, written, verbal and salvage of these wrecks. Many items from salvage are displayed at the Flagstaff Maritime Village and Museum. Here are just a few.

Enterprise 1847 – 1850 (not found) The New Zealand-built schooner Enterprise had sailed from Melbourne and was anchored in Lady Bay, Warrnambool when a south easterly gale swept in on 14 September 1850. The vessel began to drag its anchor, grounded, then went broadside onto the beach. A local Aborigine, Buckawall, struggled through the rough sea from the shore and secured a line to the Enterprise, allowing the crew to land safely. The vessel became a total wreck.

Golden Spring 1848 – 1863 (not found) Built in Maine, USA in 1848, the brig Golden Spring was registered in Sydney from 1858. The vessel was anchored in Lady Bay when a gale blew up, causing it to drag anchor and strike the wreck of the Maid of Julpha, located some 150 metres off shore in the bay. The Golden Spring soon broke in two. The gale was noted as the worst that had been record in Warrnambool at this time. The sloop Peveril was wrecked in the same gale.

Free Trader 1850 – 1894 The Tasmanian-built barque Free Trader parted from both its main anchors during a sudden gale at Warrnambool in July 1984; it was in ballast at the time, pending a voyage to Newcastle. The remaining anchor dragged, and the vessel drifted towards the beach, going broadside onto the piling at the swimming baths. The piling soon battered a hole through the hull, and the vessel filled with water. The crew escaped by climbing onto the piling, but the 44 year old Free Trader became a total wreck. The site is probably deeply buried under the sand in the intertidal zone south west of the Surf Life Saving Club.

Alexandra 1863 – 1882 (not found) The Alexandra was an English built brig which plied the inter-colonial waters around Australia during the nineteenth century. In 1882, while waiting in Warrnambool to load potatoes bound for Sydney, the Alexandra was struck by a south-westerly gale. The parting of an anchor cable resulted in the ship drifting, and striking sternfirst on the beach in Lady Bay. No lives were lost but the ship was a total wreck and eventually broke up in rough weather.

Edinburgh Castle 1863 – 1888 The Scottish barque Edinburgh Castle wrecked in 1888 near the mouth of the Hopkins River in Lady Bay. The ship was carrying an important cargo of cement from London for construction of the Warrnambool breakwater. Pilot error caused the ship to run aground despite the calm weather and it settled in sand, foiling efforts to refloat it. The remains of the ship were scattered in the surf and the site is now buried, but occasionally becomes exposed during rough weather.

Whaleboat unknown – 1836 (not found) In the winter of 1836 a whaleboat swamped and sank while entering the Hopkins River. One of the three whaleboat crew drowned in the incident. Further tragedy struck when another boat, captained by John Mills, overturned while trying to recover the whaleboat. The site has yet to be found or identified.

La Bella 1893-1905 The Norwegian-built barquentine La Bella was approaching Warrnambool with a cargo of timber from Kaipara, New Zealand, in heavy seas and evening mist when it ran aground on what is now known as La Bella Reef. By sunrise only seven of the 12 crew still clung to the wreck. A local fisherman, William Ferrier, rowed his small punt through heavy seas to rescue two of the crew, including the captain, whilst the volunteer lifeboat crew rescued a further three before La Bella broke in half and sank. William Ferrier was 25 years old at the time, and was awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society for his daring rescue. The wreck now lies in 13m of water and is home to an abundance of marine life.

Freedom 1841 – 1853 (not found) The Freedom was a two-masted schooner built in Jersey, England. It was carrying a cargo of wheat, barley and flour bound for Sydney when it was driven ashore at Warrnambool by a south easterly gale. Although refloated, another gale drove the vessel ashore again on 11 October 1853. This time the anchors parted and the ship was blown ashore near the jetty where it became a total wreck. The site has not been located.

Yarra 1850 – 1882 (not found) The Yarra was built in Hobart, Tasmania as a two-masted brigantine. It was waiting to unload a cargo of coal from Newcastle when the anchors parted in heavy swell and the ship drifted out of control across Lady Bay. The Yarra first collided with the SS Dawn, before grounding east of the jetties, where it broke up the following day. The site was later dynamited as it was a navigation hazard, and the remains of the site have not been located.


Just more proof of how beautiful, but unpredictable and deadly our coastline can be. We saw it on a warm, clear, still summer day, with light breezes and calm seas, it was not until a few days later that we saw any evidence of it being otherwise.


Victorian Shipwrecks – Peterborough

So many ships have been lost along this coast, sometimes several in the same area, there are many that have never been found, and some can only be seen by diving. We visited these areas, well as many as we could find and I will arrange my posts by area covered and not individual wrecks as such. So this week’s post is the Peterborough area.

This plaque and monument can be found in the car park of the main beach at Peterborough, the site for 3 shipwrecks;

young_australia_72Young Australian, 1864 – 1877
 The young Australian was travelling from Queensland to Adelaide with a cargo of sugar and rum when severe storms damaged the ship’s rigging and forced it ashore.  Why then has it supposedly never found?

schombergSchomberg, 1855 – 1855
The Schomberg was one of the most magnificent sailing ships built (for the time) and was Captained by Bully Forbes. It was rumoured among other ideas that he was actually entertaining a young lady below decks when the ship was blown off course and crashed ashore at Curdies Inlet, both ship and the Captain’s careers were completed wrecked (Oops).



 Newfield, 1889 – 1892
Poor weather conditions and faulty navigational equipment is thought to be the cause for the loss of the Baroque Newfield while on a voyage from Scotland to Brisbane. The ship was blown ashore at Peterborough with the loss of nine lives.


Falls of Halladale, 1886 – 1908

Just down the road at the Bay of Matyrs, and a almost 4WD track (unmarked) to find this wreck, the anchor is in Peterborough, as is the plaque, and there is another plaque on a cliff top overlooking where the wreck happened. It was on it’s final leg of it’s voyage from New York to Melbourne when it’s Captain became lost and confused, due to sea mist. Under full sail, it struck one of the many reefs and became a total loss.



Victorian Shipwrecks – Loch Ard Gorge


Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard – 1873 – 1878

The Loch Ard was on the final stage of it’s voyage from Gravesend to Melbourne when sea mist obscured the land, causing the vessel to run into Mutton Bird Island, near Port Campbell, of the 54 people on board only 2 made it to shore. We witnessed sea mist on this trip and it is so thick, worse than fog. Loch Ard Gorge is one of the more infamous wreck sites, but I think that is more it’s sheer beauty, as there are far worse parts of the coast as we soon discovered.

The Loch Ard Disaster Prompted the authorities to deploy Rocket equipment and other lifesaving gear at Port Campbell. The Port Campbell rocket crew went to rescue the sailors of the Fiji and Newfield. The equipment was managed by the local police an housed at Port Campbell and Princetown.


There is no wrecking to be seen at the sight, but relics can be found in various museums; including the Loch Ard Peacock

The Napier – 1874 – 1878

The Steamship Napier was engaged to salvage the wreck of the Loch Ard, but itself came to grief while entering the harbour at Port Campbell inlet.