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Open Water Rated Outside Port Phillip Ships Graveyard Wreck Dive Site

Three-Masted Iron Barque | Max Depth: 2 m (6.56 ft) — Graveyard

Source: State Library Victoria

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The Norwester shipwreck lies on the Back Beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. After being hulked 1895, the Norwester was being towed to the Ship's Graveyard in 1928 when she broke a towline. She went ashore at London Bridge, just west of the Sierra Nevada.

Norwester Shipwreck History — Built in 1864

Norwester with Dutch flag
Norwester with Dutch flag
Source: State Library South Australia

The Norwester (aka Nor'Wester, Nor-Wester) was a three-masted iron barque of 567 tons, built in 1864, by Laurence Hill and Co, Glasgow, Scotland, for owners MJ Jamieson, registered Glasgow. She had a length of 160 ft (49 m), beam of 29.2 ft (8.9 m), and depth of 17 ft (5.18 m).

The Norwester was washed ashore during a storm while anchored in Hamelin Bay, WA in July 1900. She was sold, refloated and taken to Freemantle for repairs, but was condemned. The Norwester was later sold to the Adelaide Steam Ship Co and taken to Adelaide where she was converted into a coal hulk. A tug brought the hulk to Melbourne, arriving on 2 April 1901.

Norwester Sinking — Wrecked 21 November 1928

The Adelaide Steam Ship Co obtained permission to scuttle the Norwester in 1928. On Wednesday 21 November 1928 the Norwester was towed out into Bass Strait by the tug Minah and positioned in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard for scuttling.

The explosive charges didn't do their job and the hulk was allowed to drift ashore just west of London Bridge, and just west of the Sierra Nevada shipwreck.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Norwester, and
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Norwester.

Heritage Warning: Any shipwreck or shipwreck relic that is 75 years or older is protected by legislation. Other items of maritime heritage 75 years or older are also protected by legislation. Activities such as digging for bottles, coins or other artefacts that involve the disturbance of archaeological sites may be in breach of the legislation, and penalties may apply. The legislation requires the mandatory reporting to Heritage Victoria as soon as practicable of any archaeological site that is identified. See Maritime heritage. Anyone with information about looting or stolen artefacts should call Heritage Victoria on (03) 7022 6390, or send an email to

Back Beach Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any dive on the Back Beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-the-back-beaches before diving or snorkelling this site.

Bass Strait Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive in Bass Strait on Victoria's coastline. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-in-bass-strait before diving or snorkelling this site.

Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country
Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes parts of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-west, down to Wilson's Promontory in the south-east, including the Mornington Peninsula, French Island and Phillip Island, plus Western Port. We wish to acknowledge the Boon Wurrung as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


Norwester Location Map

Latitude: 38° 19.833′ S   (38.330555° S / 38° 19′ 50″ S)
Longitude: 144° 41.433′ E   (144.690555° E / 144° 41′ 26″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-15 17:13:07 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: London Bridge, 151 m, bearing 52°, NE
Three-Masted Iron Barque, 567 ton.
Built: Glasgow, Scotland, 1864.
Sunk: 21 November 1928.
Portsea, Back Beaches, Mornington Peninsula.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 2 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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