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Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Outside Port Phillip Ships Graveyard Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 55 m (180 ft) — Graveyard

The Wills shipwreck was a steam driven iron hopper barge. Sister vessel to the Burke. The Wills lies in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard in Bass Strait.

Wills Shipwreck History — Built in 1884

Wills Hopper Barge
Wills Hopper Barge | © Unknown

The Wills was a steam hopper barge, built in 1884, by the South Australian Government in Adelaide. The vessel was purchased by the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1889.

The overall length of the Wills was 128 ft (39 m), beam 30 ft (9.14 m) and draught 9.5 ft (2.9 m), 183 tons net and 345 tons gross.

Powered by twin compound steam engines, the hopper barge Wills worked in dredging operations around Port Phillip for nearly 50 years before being withdrawn from service.

Five laid up steam hopper barges tied up at "Rotten Row", officially known as Spotswood Wharf, were offered for sale by the Melbourne Harbour Trust on Tuesday, 27 Nov 1934 — Burke, Wills, Batman, Fawkner and H.C. Piggot. The coal hulk Bunyip was also offered for sale.

Wills Sinking — Scuttled 22 August 1935

The Wills was towed out to sea and scuttled on 22 August 1935 in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard.

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

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

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.

Traditional Owners — This dive site does not lie in the acknowledged traditional Country of any first peoples of Australia.


Wills Location Map

Latitude: 38° 21.071′ S   (38.351183° S / 38° 21′ 4.26″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.976′ E   (144.4496° E / 144° 26′ 58.56″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-04 15:33:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: H.C. Piggot, 1,178 m, bearing 311°, NW
Steam Hopper Barge, 345 ton.
Built: Adelaide, South Australia, 1876.
Scuttled: 22 August 1935.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 55 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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