Welcome to the Shipwreck Site.
Between Victoria and Tasmania lies Bass Strait, one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world. At the western entrance King Island just fifty miles off the mainland is flanked by numerous reefs. The 'roaring forties' had provided expedient passage to the colonies but the attraction of gold in Victoria meant negotiating the hazardous strait at its narrowest point. Miraculously, most vessels completed their voyage safely. Hundreds of less fortunate ships litter the ocean in testimony to the hazardous journey. In 1845 the 'Cataraqui' sailed too close to Cape Grimm and foundered off King island with all but nine people losing their lives in the wreck. Following this tragedy the British Admiralty forbade all naval and prison ships from entering the entrance until a light was established on the Victorian cape. Finally, the Otway Light, was built at the second most southerly point of the Australian mainland.
Cape Otway provided a beacon to assist the safe negotiation of ships through 'the eye of the needle'. The aerial photo (above) of the 'shipwreck coast' illustrates the danger faced by any ship that ventured too close to shore.