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Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Ideal For Snorkelling Inside Port Phillip Open Water Rated Wreck Dive Site

Wooden Lighter | Max Depth: 1 m (3.28 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The Restless was built in Nova Scotia in 1866, registered in Melbourne in 1888 and involved in coastal trade. It was damaged by fire in Melbourne in 1890 and sold and converted into a lighter in 1890-91.

The Restless lies on the shore at Bonbeach, just north of the Patterson River mouth, on the eastern side of Port Phillip. It is recreationally significant being close to shore, and easily accessed by divers and snorkellers.

Restless Site Plan
Restless Site Plan | Source: Heritage Victoria

Restless Shipwreck History

The lighter Restless was formerly a wooden brig of 289 l-ton (294 t), built in 1866, by Isaiah Smith, at Maitland, Nova Scotia, on a length of 122.8 ft (37 m), a breath of 28.9 ft (8.81 m), and a depth of 12.7 ft (3.87 m). The Restless was owned by James Cole Ellis of Sydney when it arrived in Melbourne in a dismastered an leaky condition on 9 July 1888, and never put to see again.

In 1980, the Restless whilst lying alongside the steamer Wilcannia at Port Melbourne, was found to have caught fire. It was not until the lighter had sunk that the flames were finally extinguished. The Restless was then subsequently raised and returned to service.

Restless Sinking

On 22 January 1902, the Restless was being towed by the tug Otter to Geelong along with another lighter the Orange Grove (Age 23/01/1902) when it met with the full fury of a gale with Units: unknown unit type given winds. The hawser of the Restless broke and the anchor dropped, but did not hold.

Aboard the Restless were a lighterman and his wife and two children, who suffered exposure and anxiety during the Restless' drift across Port Phillip. Fortunately, the Restless went ashore on Wednesday 22 January 1902, on the sand at Bonbeach, and didn't break up. The family was rescued by Mr Hamilton, a fisherman of Carrum, and a party of oarsmen.

The Restless was driven further onto the beach, almost to the extent of being high and dry at low water. The following day it was found to be full of sand and water. It's believed that the Restless was subsequently abandoned, as there are no further references to the vessel trading or being used after this time.

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

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

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.


Restless Location Map

Latitude: 38° 4.342′ S   (38.072367° S / 38° 4′ 20.52″ S)
Longitude: 145° 7.133′ E   (145.118883° E / 145° 7′ 7.98″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-30 22:02:53 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Tedesco Reef Seaford, 2,618 m, bearing 230°, SW
Wooden Lighter.
Built: Nova Scotia, Canada, 1866.
Sunk: January 1902.
Bonbeach, Port Phillip.
Depth: 1 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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