Historical information

This small knob has been manufactured to look like marble. It may have been used as a drawer or door handle, possibly part of the ship's furnishings because it appears to have been broken off its connecting shank. The encrustations on the surface are from being in the sea around 90 years. The knob was recovered from the wreck of the Loch Ard and is part of the John Chance collection.

The Loch Ard was a clipper ship built in Scotland in 1873. In 1978 the ship was sailing to Melbourne with 54 people on board as well as a mixed cargo that included items for the 1880 International Exhibition in Melbourne. On June 1st 1878 it was not far from its destination when it crashed into Mutton Bird Island, east of Port Campbell. Only two people survived. The wreck was re-discovered in 1967 and the site is listed as a Historic Shipwreck. (See References and Significance for further information.)


This knob is historically significant as it is an example of hardware fittings made and used during the mid-to-late 19th century.

This knob is significant for its connection with the John Chance Collection, which is historically significant as an example of artefacts from wrecks that had been lost in the coastal waters of Victoria from thirty to over one hundred years before John Chance and others discovered them. These artefacts are a sample of goods carried as cargo or personal possessions, and of ship hardware of that era.

The knob is significant through its connection with the clipper ship Loch Ard (1873-1878), which is historically significant to both Victoria and Australia. The loss of the ship has been described as one of the ‘worst shipwreck tragedies’ and is well known in Victoria for the tragic death of 52 out of the 54 lives on board.

The Loch Ard wreck is historically significant as a large international passenger and cargo clipper ship. It is registered on the Victorian Heritage Database VHR S417.

The wreck site is labelled as ‘one of Victoria’s most spectacular diving sites’ and the area is a popular tourist site. It is part of Victoria’s Underwater Shipwreck Discovery Trail.

Physical description

Knob or handle; ceramic (faux marble), dome with flat base, brown colour with orange and cream swirls through it, polished surface. Base has two embedded round, rough-edged metal fittings. Encrustations adhere to the polished surface in pleases. Clear tape keeps large broken chip intact. Another chipped area reveals the rough inner surface of the marble.