Will O the Wisp

Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Boat access

Inside Port Phillip Open Water Rated Wreck Dive Site

Clipper Sailing Schooner | Max Depth: 3 metres (9.8 feet)

Historic shipwreck protected zone. Permit Required. For more details please see Victorian Shipwreck Protected Zones

Will O The Wisp
Will O The Wisp
© Heritage Council Victoria

The Will O The Wisp shipwreck lies in only two to three metres of depth on the eastern side of William Sand, West Channel, Port Phillip. There is good potential for access to the snorkelling and diving public to interpret the site. The wreck is substantially intact, and stands above the seabed, with many artefacts still visible in situ.

The Will O' The Wisp was an armed wooden clipper schooner built in 1840 at Liverpool, England especially for the opium trade, which it entered in 1842. The vessel had a length of 76 feet (23 metres), a beam of 18 feet (5.5 metres), and a dept of 10.5 feet (3.2 metres). As steamers displaced fast sailing vessels it went into the Pacific-Honolulu trade. In 1852-53 it engaged in intercolonial trading between New Zealand, Launceston and Melbourne during the Gold Rush.

It was totally wrecked on 8 October 1853 with a cargo of timber, bricks and potatoes from Auckland to Melbourne after running onto the eastern side of the sand bank William Sand, West Channel, in Port Phillip. The captain and the crew were rescued and taken to Melbourne aboard the SS Hellaspont (or the Wanderer?). The master was also the owner of the ship and its cargo.

See also, Australian National Shipwreck Database: Will O the Wisp, and
Heritage Council Victoria: Will O the Wisp.

Latitude: 38° 14.490′ S   (38.241498° S / 38° 14′ 29.39″ S)
Longitude: 144° 42.070′ E   (144.701159° E / 144° 42′ 4.17″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-06-03 05:28:30 GMT
Source: Victorian Government GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: J3 Swan Island Submarine, 288 m, bearing 165°, SSE
Historic shipwreck protected zone.
Permit Required.
Clipper Sailing Schooner.
Built: Liverpool, England, 1840.
Sunk: 8 October 1853.
Depth: 3 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.

The Scuba Doctor Service and Repairs

People who live in glass houses get very hot in summer.
— Australian bushie proverb