Historical information

The Falls of Halladale was a four-masted iron-hulled barque built for the long-distance bulk carrier trade. In dense fog on the night of 14 November 1908 she was sailed onto rocks off Peterborough due to a navigational error. The 29 crew abandoned ship safely and reached shore by boat. The ship was left foundering with sails unfurled. For weeks afterwards large crowds gathered to view the ship as she gradually broke up and sank in the shallow water.
Shortly after the accident the ship's master, Captain Thomson, faced a Court of Marine Enquiry in Melbourne. He was found guilty of a gross act of misconduct, having carelessly navigated the ship, neglected to take proper soundings and failing to place the ship on a port tack before it became too late to avoid shipwreck. Thomson's punishment included a small fine and six months suspension of his Master's Certificate of Competency.
The hull lies on its starboard side about 300 metres off-shore in 3-15 metres of water. The original cargo included 56,763 roofing slates and coils of barbed wire. 22,000 slates were salvaged in the 1980s and used as roofing at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool.


This item has historical significance as it came from one of the known shipwrecks along the South West coast of Victoria. There are a number of photographs of the wreck as it founded on the rock and hence is an image with which many people are familiar.

Physical description

Curved piece of timber with flat base from the wreck of the ship Falls of Halladale. Inside is recessed with slight ledge near back. A chunk of timber is missing on the top. The face has swirled carvings with leaf and seed design and base curved to the edge.

Inscriptions & markings

Hand painted in red paint on inside bottom edge 'PETERBOROUGH'. Hand painted in white paint on bottom 'FALLS OF HALLADALE/WRECKED/PETERBOROUGH/VIC/NOV. 1908'