Historical information

This large portion of terracotta roofing tile was salvaged from the wreck of the Antares by Flagstaff Hill diver, Peter Ronald. It has letters, numbers and symbols impressed into the clay. THE ANTARES In mid-November 1914, after the beginning of the First World War, a young local man went one evening to fish near the Bay of Islands, west of Peterborough. He later arrived home hurriedly and in an agitated state declaring: "The Germans are coming!" His family laughed and disbelieved him, as this young fellow was prone to telling fictional tales. About a month later, on December 13th 1914, local farmers Phillip Le Couteur and Peter Mathieson were riding in the vicinity, checking on cattle. Phillip Le Couteur saw what he “thought was the hull of a ship below the cliffs.” He rode to Allansford and contacted police. The next day, two Constables and Phillip Le Couteur returned to the site, where they dug a trench near the top of the cliff and sank a log in it. To this they attached a rope, which they threw down the cliff face. Constable Stainsbury and Phillip Le Couteur then made the dangerous descent down the rope on the sheer cliff face. They found wreckage strewn around a small cove and a portion of a man's body under the cliffs. The hull of the ship could be seen about 300 metres out to sea. Some of the wreckage revealed the name Antares and the remains of the ship's dinghy bore the name Sutlej. During the next two weeks and with the help of the Warrnambool lifeboat and crew, two more bodies were found. Later investigations proved that the tragic wreck was indeed that of the Antares, reported overdue on the 207th day of her voyage from Marseilles, France, to Melbourne. She was a three masted, 1749 ton iron clipper, built in Glasgow in 1888 and originally named and launched as the Sutlej. Bought in 1907 by Semider Bros. from Genoa, Italy, she was refitted and renamed Antares. It was later realised that the local lad who a month earlier had declared he had seen German guns being fired, had probably seen distress flares fired from the deck of the Antares the night she was wrecked. She was last sailed under Captain Gazedo and wrecked at what is now known as Antares Rock, near the Bay of Islands. She had been carrying a large cargo of roofing tiles from France to Melbourne, consigned to Mullaly & Byrne. Many of them are now to be seen amongst the battered and scattered remains of the wreck. Some of the timbers were found to be blackened by fire. An Information Board has been erected on the cliff top near to the site of the Antares wreck, at the end of Radfords Rd, west of Peterborough. (Ref: Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s “Antares” fact sheet, Victorian Heritage Database, Information Board at Peterborough, Flagstaff Hill Significance Assessment 2010)


This tile is significant due to its association with the wreck of the Antares and is registered as a shipwreck artefact, A/1. The Antares was one of the last of the 'tall ships' to be lost along the south west coast of Victoria, and is the only wreck that took the lives of all people on board. She is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register VHS S34. The Antares is significant as a sail trader carrying an international inbound cargo. It is part of the Great Ocean Road Historic Shipwreck Trail.

Physical description

Piece of clay terracotta roofing tile recovered from the wreck of the Antares. Tile has letters and symbols inpressed into the clay. Artefact Reg No A/1. Retrieved by Peter Ronald.

Inscriptions & markings

Tile has letters and symbols inpressed into the clay. ”- E R I E S DE LA MEDITERRANEE” “ … T S – MI-LES BOU- R …..” & SYMBOL of Sideways crown or tree (could be TULLERIES DE LA MEDITERRANEE)