King Island ShipWrecks

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There have been hundreds of shipwrecks around the coast of King Island claiming over 1000 lives, below is just a smattering of what has been lost over the last couple of hundred years.

The Neva ran aground in 1835, the cargo included women convicts from Ireland, 224 died that day with only 15 survivors including the Captain and some of the crew.

The Cataraqui crashed into rocks 100 meters off the King island shore in August 1845, up to date it’s still the worst peacetime shipwreck disaster with the loss of 400 lives, there was one sole survivor.

The Netherby wrecked in 1866 was fortunate in that no lives were lost, the crew managed to get all the passengers safely ashore after he ship ran aground. Second mate Mr Parry was the hero, he trekked through rough bush and coastline 35kms to Cape Wickham Lighthouse where he borrowed the whaleboat to seek help from Melbourne. Without food or water the passengers encamped for eight days until their rescue.

The beautiful iron Clipper Loch Leven carrying wool from Geelong, Victoria in 1871 smashed into rocks at full sail, the ship was totally lost although no crew died. The captain returned the next day in the lighthouse whaleboat to try to retrieve his papers, but it capsized and he drowned.

The beautiful ship Blencathra was one day away from fulfilling her maiden voyage in 1875 when Captain Nicholas, carefully weaving his way through Bass Strait mistook the Cape Wickham Light for the Cape Otway light and directed his ship straight onto the coast. At least this part of the coast was inhabited and as luck would have it steered right into the arms of the salvage crew who were busily retrieving the cargo from the British Admiral that was wrecked the year before.

The steel Clipper Carnarvon Bay was wrecked on the West Coast in 1910 survivors headed in the direction of Launceston but were picked up in Bass Strait in mountainous seas, other boats rowed toward the nearest shoreline which happened to be near the township of Grassy.

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