About the listing
Wreck occurred: 6th September 1891
Where: Moonlight Head (West of Princetown)
The Fiji sailing ship was built for WJ Myers at the Harland and Wolff shipbuilding company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the same company that built the RMS Titanic. It was launched on the 21st September 1875 and completed on the 29th October 1875.
10 lives were lost in the wreck of the 1400 ton iron hulled ship Fiji when it found itself on a lee shore in the middle of the night. The cargo included 200 ton of dynamite which the crew distanced themselves from by clinging to the bowsprit. The ships lifeboat was dispatched and immediately capsized in the rough seas. One Crew member, Julius Gebauer attempted the 150m swim to shore with a heavy line but lost the line as he approached the shore when it snagged on the sea floor.
Gebauer made it to shore and was able to enlist help at nearby Rivernook Guesthouse. A message was sent to the local rocket rescue crew in Port Campbell who successfully fired a light line over the vessel.
When controversially the crew's heavy line didn't arrive before nightfall attempts began to bring the crew to shore using the light line. One by one, 10 men were swept to their death with 16 making it safely to shore. A local settler Wilkinson, also lost his life in an attempt to swim out to the vessel when he struck his head on the ship's anchor.
Local divers imbedded an anchor from the Ship in a section of reef to commemorate the wreck in 1961. This can still be viewed today in low tides and calmer sea conditions.