ABOVE A view of the port of Bluff in 1900. In the middle distance is the famous whaler Chance, lying on the beach waiting to be broken up.
I have researched the many Shipwrecks that have occurred in and around Bluff over the years. There have been many Shipwrecks in the vacinity of the notorious and treacherous stretch of water known as Foveaux Strait.
From 1845, to 1899, there had been thirty-six shipwrecks accounted for in the area around Bluff. Seventeen at Bluff Harbour, where Tiwai and Stirling Points both making the Port of Bluff very treacherous indeed, especially when entering in bad weather. The first wreck was Captain Stirling’s Success, in 1845, but the most famous of the Bluff shipwrecks by far, was the barque, England’s Glory, in 1881.
The Pelham Rock, which is situated just 300 yards off Stirling Point and roughly 150 yards offshore, claimed four vessels during this era. Their names were, the Amazon 1852, Scotia 1864, Pelham (which was the ship that the rock was named after), and the Maid of Otago, both in 1886.
During this period there was also some strange goings on, on one occasion, when the Ocean Chief was at its moorings after sustaining considerable damage, and refloated, some of her crew decided to set her on fire, so they could desert and make for the goldfields. After saving a number of sheep from the vessel Time and Truth, the Aphrasia was returning to port, when she was struck by the steamer Prince Alfred, and was badly damaged. The Prince Alfred steamed on, only to collide with the Yarra, taking off some of her spars.
The remaining eighteen shipwrecks were in the Foveaux Strait area, (excluding wrecks at Stewart Island). The first of these was in 1836 when an unidentified vessel sank, it was believed to be American built, of about 300 tons register. There was a total of five shipwreck at Ruapuke Island in a twenty-one year period between 1873, and 1894.
So far I have only looked at Shipwrecks before the year 1900, and I have found thirty seven, eighteen at Bluff, and nineteen in the Foveaux Strait. I will be updating this page from time to time as I find more information, so please come back in the future.
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The “SUCCESS” 1845, Schooner.
The “AMAZON” 1852, Schooner.
The “OBERON” 1861, Steamer.
The “OCEAN CHEIF” 1862, Ship. * (picture)
The “FLYING MIST” 1862, Ship.
The “PRINCE ALBERT” 1862, Brig.
The “TIME and TRUTH” 1863, Barque.
The “SCOTIA” 1864, Steamer. * (picture)
The “DORCAS”1869, Cutter.
The “CARL” 1874, Brig.
The “LERWICK” 1875, Cutter.
The “ANN GAMBLES” 1878, Barque.
The “ANNA” 1880, Ketch.
The “ENGLANDS GLORY” 1881, Barque.* (picture)
The “PELHAM” 1886, Steamer. * (picture)
The “MAID OF OTAGO” 1886, Schooner.
The “KEKENO” 1886, Schooner.
The “ELIZABETH and ULVARIA CAMERON” 1889, Schooner.
Back to the Shipwrecks Page.