|The 'Loch Ard'|
Length: 262 feet 8 inches (80 metres)
Beam: 38 feet 3 inches (11.7 metres)
Depth: 23 feet 1 1/2 inches (7 metres)
Built in 1873 by Charles Connell and Co. Scotland
1693 tons. Wrecked off Loch Ard Gorge, near Port
Campbell in 1878. 52 lives lost, 2 survivors
Wreck located in 1967.
The Loch Ard sailed for Melbourne from England on the 2nd. of March 1878 with 17 passengers
and a crew of 34 under Captain Gibbs. On June 1st he expected to be off Cape Otway but in fact
was short and north of there and perilously close to the coast.|
Attempts to put the ship about failed and she struck Mutton Bird Island and sank with a loss of 52 lives. Two survivors, a young man and woman made their way into the gorge which now bears the name of the ill-fated ship and plaques at the popular Great Ocean Road site tell their story.
The wreck lies at 23 metres depth off the southern tip of the island on a steep slope. The hull has broken into several sections now at different levels. Examples of the $110,000 cargo remain including rolls of zinc, barrels of cement, iron rails, cutlery, lead shot, chandeliers, beer mugs etc.
The Loch Ard is the worst maritime tragedy in Victoria's history.
Diving on the wreck should be done from a boat.
Information on the 'Loch Ard' was compiled from the book 'Exploring Shipwrecks of Western Victoria', by Peter Ronald. Published by The Osburne Group, Warrnambool, 3280. Victoria.