ship wreck mornington

The SS Speke was a 3,700-ton cargo ship that ran aground on Gunnamatta Beach off the coast of Mornington in May 1906. The ship was en route from England to Melbourne when it hit a sandbar and became stranded. Despite efforts to free the vessel, it eventually broke in two. The stern section of the ship remains visible on the beach to this day, while the bow section was swept out to sea.

Tragic story of The SS Speke

The SS Speke shipwreck off the coast of Mornington is a captivating story that speaks to the power of music and the unexpected events that can unfold in even the most tragic of circumstances. The ship’s wreckage and the pianos that spilled onto Gunnamatta Beach became a symbol of resilience and hope, as musicians salvaged the instruments and played them for crowds of locals and tourists who came to hear the music.

The story of the SS Speke begins in England, where the cargo ship was built in 1903. It was primarily used to transport goods between England and Australia, making several voyages before its fateful journey in May 1906. The ship had a crew of 36, led by Captain William Waters, and was carrying a cargo of pianos and other musical instruments, along with other goods such as textiles and foodstuffs.

On May 22, 1906, the SS Speke was making its way to Melbourne when it hit a sandbar off the coast of Gunnamatta Beach. Despite attempts to free the ship, it remained stuck and began to break apart. The crew was rescued, but the ship was left stranded and eventually broke in two, with the bow section swept out to sea.

As the ship broke apart, the pianos and other musical instruments spilled onto the beach. Locals and tourists who witnessed the shipwreck were amazed to see pianos and other instruments scattered across the sand, and many began to salvage them. In the following days and weeks, musicians from all over the region came to the beach to play the pianos and other instruments that had been rescued from the wreckage.

The sound of music could be heard for miles around as impromptu performances were held on the beach. The area around the shipwreck became a makeshift concert venue, with crowds of people gathering to hear the music and watch as musicians played on the salvaged instruments.

The SS Speke shipwreck and the musical legacy it left behind are a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of people in the face of adversity. Despite the tragedy of the shipwreck, the music played on, providing comfort and hope to those who witnessed it. Today, the stern section of the ship remains visible on Gunnamatta Beach, a reminder of the unexpected events and rich history that can be found off the coast of Mornington.

To reach the SS Speke shipwreck, follow these steps:

  1. Drive towards Kitty Miller Bay.
  2. Park in one of the car parks located closest to the beach access.
  3. Descend the stairs and turn left, walking towards the East along the beach.
  4. Continue walking for approximately 50 meters, following the beach’s outer edge until you come across a steep dirt trail leading up the hill.
  5. Take the dirt trail, covering a distance of about 800 meters around the cove until the shipwreck becomes visible on the other side of the cliffs.
  6. Descend the steep dirt trail to the beach and the shipwrec

Why should you visit this place?

In conclusion, places like the SS Speke shipwreck off the coast of Mornington offer a unique glimpse into history and the unexpected events that can occur. Visiting such places can provide an educational and enriching experience, and allow us to connect with the past in a tangible way. Additionally, exploring the natural beauty and landscapes that surround these sites can provide a sense of wonder and appreciation for the world around us. By visiting these places, we can broaden our perspectives and deepen our understanding of the world and its history.

One more reason

The SS Speke Shipwreck is not just a fascinating tourist attraction, but also an important piece of history that should not be forgotten. The shipwreck and the events that followed remind us of the unpredictable nature of the sea and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. By visiting places like this and learning about the stories behind them, we can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for our shared history. It is important to preserve these sites for future generations to come, so that they too can learn from and be inspired by the events that have shaped our world.