Historical information

This porthole frame was recovered from the wreck of the Newfield.
The barque Newfield left Liverpool on 1st June 1892 with a cargo of 1850 tons of fine rock salt for Brisbane. About six weeks later the ship ran into very heavy weather approaching the Australian coast. On 28th August at about 9pm her master, Captain George Scott, observed between the heavy squalls the Cape Otway light on the mainland of Victoria, but due apparently to a navigational error (the chronometers were incorrect), he mistook it for Cape Wickham on King Island, some 40 miles south. He altered course to the north expecting to run through the western entrance of Bass Strait, but instead, at about 1:30am, the ship ran aground about about 100 yards from shore, one mile east of Curdies River. The vessel struck heavily three times before grounding on an inner shoal with six feet of water in the holds. The Newfield remained upright on the reef with sails set for a considerable time as the wind slowly ripped the canvas to shreds and the sea battered the hull to pieces. Seventeen men survived the shipwreck but the captain and eight of his crew perished.


Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from the Newfield is significant for its association with the shipwreck Newfield, which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Registry. The collection is significant because of the relationship between the objects.
The Newfield collection is archaeologically significant as the remains of an international cargo ship.
The Newfield collection is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria’s shipping history and its association with the shipwreck.

Physical description

A porthole frame from the wreck of the Newfield. The porthole and glass are missing. It is encrusted, cracked and eroded. There are 8 retaining bolt holes with the remnants of 7 bolts remaining. On the inside are the remains of the hinge flange and the two release screws. Restored, good condition.