Historical information

The artefact is a glass sewing machine bottle recovered from the 1878 shipwreck of the Loch Ard near Port Campbell. It was raised by Flagstaff Hill divers in 1973.

The sewing machine bottle was used to lubricate a sewing machine mechanism and supplied with new Singer sewing machines as part of the items tool kit.

The Loch Ard was constructed on the Clyde in 1873 for the prestigious Loch Line of colonial clipper ships, designed for the Australian run. She sailed from England on 1 March 1878 carrying 37 crew, 17 passengers and a diverse general cargo ranging from luxury items to bulk railway iron. On 1 June 1878, emerging from fog and hearing too late the sound of breakers against the tall limestone cliffs, the vessel struck the southern foot of Mutton Bird Island and sank in 23 meters of water. Of the fifty-four people on board only two survived, one young male crewman, Tom Pearce, and one young female passenger, Eva Carmichael. (See References or Notes below for further details.)


The bottle is believed to be part of the cargo or passengers goods recovered from the Loch Ard that is of historical significance for Victoria. Registered on the Victorian Heritage Register ( S 417), with Flagstaff Hill having a varied collection of artefacts from the Loch Ard. Its collection is significant for being one of the largest accumulation of artefacts from this notable Victorian shipwreck. The collections object is to also give us a snapshot into maritime history so we can interpret the story of this tragic event. The collection is of marine archaeologically significant as it represents aspects of Victoria's shipping history that allows us to interpret Victoria's social and historical themes of the time with this wreck being one of the worst and best-known shipwrecks in Victoria's history.

Physical description

Clear glass Singer Sewing Machine oil bottle. Recovered from the wreck of the Loch Ard.

Inscriptions & markings

Raised glass Inscription on bottle "The Singer Manufacturing Company" on one side the other "Extra Quality Machine Oil."