William Salthouse

Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Boat access

Inside Port Phillip Marine Park - No Fishing Open Water Rated Slack Water Wreck Dive Site

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

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

William Salthouse
William Salthouse
© Unknown

The William Salthouse is one of Victoria's oldest and most important shipwrecks. It was the first merchant vessel to sail between Canada and Port Phillip, just five years after settlement at Port Phillip established, and was flouting British Navigation Laws when it did so. It is archaeologically significant for its evidence of ship construction, cargo stowage and cargo types. It is educationally and recreationally significant as the wreck of an intact wooden merchant ship with its early cargo intact.

After a five month voyage from Canada, The William Salthouse was wrecked on Eastern Sands. Part of her cargo of beef, fish, salted pork, and building materials was removed to lighten the vessel. After attempting to sail up West Channel, she foundered 600 metres north east of Popes Eye on 27 November 1841.

William Salthouse Dive Site Map
William Salthouse Dive Site Map | © Victorian Archaeological Survey

Divers discovered the wreck in 1982. She appears as a raised sand hill about 3 metres high. While the superstructure and upper hull have collapsed, the lower portion of the hull, along with much of the assorted cargo, lies preserved in the sand. Artificial sea grass mats have been laid around the dune to stabilise the site. This is a very fragile wreck site, and divers are urged to treat it gently. Extreme care must be taken not to disturb any part of the wreck.

Built in 1824 in Liverpool, England, sunk on 27 November 1841, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 27.5 metres (90 feet), with a displacement weight of 251 tonne (277 short tons).

See also Wikipedia: William Salthouse (ship),
Australian National Shipwreck Database: William Salthouse,
Heritage Council Victoria: William Salthouse, and
Dive Information Sheet: William Salthouse (1824-1841) (Adobe PDF | 598.18 KB).

The site of the William Salthouse is a historic shipwreck protected zone with a 250 metre radius. A permit from Heritage Victoria is required to dive the William Salthouse.

Finding the William Salthouse

Over the years we've been provided with many GPS marks for the William Salthouse shipwreck. Most people think the shipwreck would be at the centre of the 250 metre protected zone, but it's actually located about 100 metres northeast. The GPS marks we know of in circulation for the William Salthouse are:

  • Packo GPS 2013 (dark red):
    Latitude: 38° 16.334′ S   (38.27223333° S / 38° 16′ 20.04″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.387′ E   (144.70645° E / 144° 42′ 23.22″ E)
  • Centre of 250 metre radius Victorian Shipwreck Protected Zone (blue):
    Latitude: 38° 16.377′ S   (38.272943° S / 38° 16′ 22.59″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.330′ E   (144.705493° E / 144° 42′ 19.77″ E)
  • BSAC list 2014 (green):
    Latitude: 38° 16.316′ S   (38.27193333° S / 38° 16′ 18.96″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.427′ E   (144.70711667° E / 144° 42′ 25.62″ E)
  • Getunder 2005 (brown):
    Latitude: 38° 16.322′ S   (38.27203333° S / 38° 16′ 19.32″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.404′ E   (144.70673333° E / 144° 42′ 24.24″ E)
  • Heritage Vic 2016 (pink):
    Latitude: 38° 16.342′ S   (38.27236667° S / 38° 16′ 20.52″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.392′ E   (144.70653333° E / 144° 42′ 23.52″ E)
  • PoMC Map 2004 (sky blue):
    Latitude: 38° 16.340′ S   (38.27233333° S / 38° 16′ 20.4″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.383′ E   (144.70638333° E / 144° 42′ 22.98″ E)
  • eChart 2018 (orange):
    Latitude: 38° 16.337′ S   (38.27228333° S / 38° 16′ 20.22″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 42.396′ E   (144.7066° E / 144° 42′ 23.76″ E)

This GPS coordinate plot by Packo shows the spread of the GPS marks from the different sources.

William Salthouse Plot
William Salthouse Plot, © Packo

Latitude: 38° 16.334′ S   (38.272233° S / 38° 16′ 20.04″ S)
Longitude: 144° 42.387′ E   (144.70645° E / 144° 42′ 23.22″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-06-03 05:00:49 GMT
Source: Packo GPS 2013
Nearest Neighbour: Popes Eye Anchor Farm, 798 m, bearing 239°, WSW
Historic shipwreck protected zone.
Permit Required.
Three masted, brig trading ship, 251 ton.
Sunk: 27 November 1841.
Depth: 8 to 12 m.
Dive only on: SWF, SWE.

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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