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Geltwood by J. Witham
British Merchant Navy EnsignBritain
Name: Geltwood
Owner: John Sprott of Harrington U.K
Port of registry: Workington, Cumberland U.K
Route: Liverpool - Melbourne
Builder: R.Williamson & Sons shipyard at Harrington
Launched: 18 January 1876
Maiden voyage: 23 March 1876
Out of service: 1876
Fate: Wrecked off the south east of South Australia 14 June 1876
Status: Historic shipwreck
General characteristics
Class and type: Iron Barque
Tonnage: 1056 tons(Net)
Length: 215.7 ft (65.7 m)
Beam: 33.9 ft (10.3 m)
Draft: 6.4 m (21 ft)
Depth: 21.1 ft (6.4 m)
Sail plan: 3 masts
Crew: 28

Geltwood was an iron-hulled barque that was shipwrecked on or about 14 June 1876 during a storm on a remote stretch of the south east coast of South Australia. Nearing the completion of her maiden voyage from Liverpool bound for Melbourne the ship struck a reef, capsized and broke up. The wreck 37°37′36″S 140°10′51″E / 37.62667°S 140.18083°E / -37.62667; 140.18083Coordinates: 37°37′36″S 140°10′51″E / 37.62667°S 140.18083°E / -37.62667; 140.18083 occurred 1.6 km from shore near the northern end of Lake Bonney and 16 km south-east of Southend.

Of the 31 passengers and crew there were no survivors. It wasn't until 5 July that the fate of the ship became known to authorities.


The events surrounding Geltwood are made infamous by reports of looting by some locals. The wreck was not reported to the police for two weeks, and in that time a number of people stole equipment and belongings that were washed ashore. A trial was held in Millicent which resulted in the acquittal of two men on the grounds they didn't know looting a shipwreck was a crime.


One of the Geltwood anchors can be viewed in Southend at a lookout on Cape Buffon drive. It is a memorial to those who have perished at sea, including local amateur and professional fishermen who have lost their lives at sea.

Another anchor and memorabilia can be viewed at the Millicent Living History Museum. Some Geltwood artifacts are also displayed in the Beachport museum.


A video of the remains of the Geltwood can be seen on Ozdiverdowns' YouTube at The referenced video footage was taken in May 2013.

See also[edit]