Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Shore access

Marine Park - No Fishing Open Water Rated Outside Port Phillip Wreck Dive Site

Four Masted Iron Sailing Barque | Max Depth: 10 metres (33 feet)

© Unknown

The Holyhead is historically and archaeologically significant as an example of an A1 classified ship from a renowned Liverpool shipyards, R. J. Evans and Co, Liverpool, England, which was built in 1889 and wrecked on its maiden voyage.

Diving the Holyhead

The wreck of the Holyhead lies to the west and seaward of Point Lonsdale Reef, near the George Roper. The wreckage extends for approximately 100 metres.

At the stern divers can see the ship's steering gear including the ships rudder and rudder post. The rudder has broken in two: an upright portion survives with the remainder of the rudder blade, post and steering gear lying on the site to the port side of the shipwreck. The is also some iron hull plating scattered around this part of the wreck site.

Along the bottom of the wreck, the ship's floors, the keelson, side keelson, frames and iron hull plating can be seen. Divers swimming between midships and the bow should find a stack of slate and railway iron, remains of some of the ship's cargo.

Towards the bow, just beyond the winch, the wreck becomes much more scattered and extends for another 36 metres with mast stumps, a mast cap, yards, windlass, hull structure and a bollard. A significant feature of the site is the windless.

On the starboard side of the wreck more slate cargo lies scattered in a hole in the reef.

The site is in an area of heavy surge. It is a highly oxygenated white water zone. There is strong surge on the site. As this site is tidal. it's best to dive between the end of the ebb and start of the flood tide.

See WillyWeather as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Holyhead Dive Site Map
Holyhead Dive Site Map | © Victorian Archaeological Survey

Holyhead History

The Holyhead was sailing from Liverpool to Melbourne on its maiden voyage, a new A1 classified ship intended for the India trade. After an uneventful voyage from Liverpool, the Holyhead was wrecked about 3.30 pm on 12 February 1890, very near the George Roper wreck. The ship had signalled unsuccessfully for a pilot, and eventually ran in towards land. Warned by lookout, missed stays, anchors let go, but struck and jammed on reef. Within 10 minutes 7 ft of water was in hold. The lookout station at Queenscliff summoned a lifeboat which in heavy swell against tide reached wreck at 4.45pm. Two trips removed the crew except for two who stayed on board.

See also, Australian National Shipwreck Database: Holyhead,
Heritage Council Victoria: Holyhead, and
Dive Information Sheet: Holyhead (1889-1890) (Adobe PDF | 669.91 KB).

This site lies in the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. The park is made up of six separate marine areas around the southern end of Port Phillip: Swan Bay, Mud Islands, Point Lonsdale, Point Nepean, Popes Eye, and Portsea Hole.

See also, Parks Victoria: Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park,
Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park - Map (PDF 1.4 MB),
Divers Guide - Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park (Adobe PDF | 6.54 MB), and
Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park Identification Booklet (Adobe PDF | 5.64 MB).

Latitude: 38° 17.715′ S   (38.29525° S / 38° 17′ 42.9″ S)
Longitude: 144° 36.911′ E   (144.615183° E / 144° 36′ 54.66″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-06-01 02:31:40 GMT
Source: Book - Shipwrecks Around Port Phillip Heads GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: George Roper, 31 m, bearing 332°, NNW
Four masted iron barque, 2237 ton.
Built: Liverpool, England, 1889.
Sunk: 12 February 1890.
Depth: 6 to 10 m.
Dive only on: SWE, Ebb.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.

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