Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Boat access

Inside Port Phillip Open Water Rated Slack Water Wreck Dive Site

Three Masted Iron Clipper | Max Depth: 12 metres (39 feet)

© Unknown

The Hurricane was a three masted, iron, clipper sailing ship with raised decks built in Scottland. She was one of the very first iron clippers to be built and also reported to be one of the fastest ships on the Australian run — completing the journey from England in around 80 to 90 days. She was designed to carry both passengers and cargo. She sank off Arthur's Seat in Capel Sound on the 22 April 1869.

Diving The Hurricane

The remains of the Hurricane lie in 9 metres (30 feet) to 12 metres (39 feet) of water off shore from Rosebud, Port Phillip. The shipwreck lies on a seabed of sand, silt and shells.

The Hurricane shipwreck was relatively intact until the late 1960s when Ports and Harbours engineers considered it to be a navigational and hazard blasted it. The wreckage is spread over a large area, with the most prominent feature now the stern, which rises about 3 metres (9.8 feet) out of the sand.

Hurricane Wreck and Rosebud Reef from Alan Beckhurst.

Hurricane Site Map
Hurricane Site Map
© Victoria Archaeological Survey
The Hurricane shipwreck site is covered with steel plates, girders, and wooden beams. A small section of the stern stands off the seabed and is the most intact part of the ship. Near the bow, a large capstan is visible, amidst a complicated mass of twisted metal. An observant diver will notice star pickets protruding from the bottom. These were placed by the Victorian Archaeological Survey when it mapped the site. A concrete cairn outlining the history of the Hurricane has been placed near the stern.

As with most shipwreck sites, the Hurricane forms an artificial reef, which is now home to many fish, as well as other forms of marine life. This makes for an enjoyable dive and the keen diver can usually find a good number of scallops close to the wreck.

As this wreck is popular with fishermen during the snapper fishing season, it is important to be alert for boats and fishing lines. Despite being several kilometres from the Heads, the Hurricane is only dived at slack water. The Hurricane is a declared Historic Shipwreck and so the removal of any materials is strictly prohibited.

Hurricane History

Diving the Historic Shipwreck, Hurricane - Port Phillip Bay | Parks Victoria

The Hurricane was built for the Australian run until lost. On first return voyage, carried gold exports from Melbourne to London. The ship took on water, possibly through the hawse holes during the last part of its voyage, and was heavily laden with cargo. It scraped the ground twice near Point Lonsdale, but no notice was taken. Shortly after it was noticed that the ship was dropping by the head. 6 feet of water was found in the forehold. The sail was shortened and starboard anchor let go. The boats were lowered and crew and passengers put into them. She sank off Arthur's Seat in Capel Sound on the 22 April 1869.

The Hurricane was built on the River Clyde, Kelvinhaugh, Scotland by Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd in Front Yard 3, and, was launched on the 26th April 1853. The overall length of the Hurricane was approximately 215 feet (66 metres) and beam 31 feet (9.4 metres) giving a displacement weight of 1,108 tonne (1,221 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Hurricane,
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Hurricane, and
Dive Information Sheet: Hurricane (1853-1869) (Adobe PDF | 538.67 KB).

Findling the Hurricane

Over the years we've been provided with different GPS marks for the Hurricane. The GPS marks we know of in circulation for the Hurricane are:

  • Shipwrecks Around Port Phillip Heads:
    Latitude: 38° 20.463′ S   (38.34105° S / 38° 20′ 27.78″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 52.308′ E   (144.8718° E / 144° 52′ 18.48″ E)
  • Peter:
    Latitude: 38° 20.474′ S   (38.34123333° S / 38° 20′ 28.44″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 52.309′ E   (144.87181667° E / 144° 52′ 18.54″ E)

Latitude: 38° 20.463′ S   (38.34105° S / 38° 20′ 27.78″ S)
Longitude: 144° 52.308′ E   (144.8718° E / 144° 52′ 18.48″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-05-10 02:32:50 GMT
Source: Book - Shipwrecks Around Port Phillip Heads GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Rosebud Reef, 1,572 m, bearing 109°, ESE
Three masted iron clipper, 1200 ton.
Built: Glasgow, Scotland, 1853.
Sunk: 22 April 1869.
Depth: 8 to 12 m.

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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