Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Open Water Rated Phillip Island Wreck Dive Site

Sailing Ship | Max Depth: 26 metres (85 feet)

Speke Bow
Speke Bow
© Unknown

The Speke (aka SS Speke) was the largest British three masted sailing ship built. The shipwreck lies to the east of Watt Point, around from Kitty Miller Bay, on the southwest coast of Phillip Island, Victoria.

On the drying reef are visible the bow section and stem with timber chock construction and concreted stem, and eroded plating. An anchor cathead with 3 wooden sheaves lies nearby. The midships and stern of the vessel including the rudderpost are underwater off the beach and have been heavily eroded.

Directions to the SS Speke Shipwreck

  • Travel towards Kitty Miller Bay
  • Park in the car parks, closest to the beach access.
  • Walk down the stairs and begin walking left (East) along the beach.
  • Continue for 50 metres hugging the outskirts of the beach, until you see a steep dirt track that leads up the hill.
  • Take this track for another 800 metres or so around the cove until you see the wreck on the other side of the cliffs.
  • Follow the steep dirt track down on to the beach towards the shipwreck.
Kitty Miller Bay Dive Site Map
Kitty Miller Bay Dive Site Map | © The Scuba Doctor

Speke History

© Unknown

The Speke was built in 1891 by T.R. Oswald and Co in Milford Haven, Wales, UK. She was a three masted, steel sailing ship that measured 310 feet (94 metres) long, 42.2 feet (13 metres) wide and 25.6 feet (7.8 metres) deep with a gross tonnage of 2,876. The Speke was the second largest ship-rigged vessel ever built. It had square sails on all three masts.

Sinking of the Speke

On 22 February 1906 the Speke ran ashore on Phillip Island, not far from Kitty Miller Bay, as a result of poor navigation by the captain. One man was drowned when one of the lifeboats capsized, but the remainder of the crew reached safety. Although the Speke eventually broke up, it was extensively salvaged.

After battling headwinds on a voyage from Sydney to Melbourne in ballast, the ship Speke was forced ashore east of Kitty Miller's Bay. A boat was launched but capsized in the heavy surf. One man was drowned, but the remaining occupants swam ashore with a line allowing the rest of the crew to reach safety. During the Marine Board of Inquiry, the master stated that a bush fire had obscured the land, and that heavy seas from the south-west caused the vessel to go ashore. He was found guilty of poor navigation and lost his master's certificate for 12 months.

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

Latitude: 38° 30.879′ S   (38.514643° S / 38° 30′ 52.71″ S)
Longitude: 145° 10.504′ E   (145.175064° E / 145° 10′ 30.23″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2019-05-04 07:46:57 GMT, Last updated: 2019-06-10 03:21:41 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Kitty Miller Bay, 597 m, bearing 321°, NW
Three Masted Steel Sailing Ship.
Built: Milford Haven, Wales, 1891.
Sunk: 24 February 1906.
Depth: 0 to 26 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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