Historical information

This light hanging mechanism could have been used for an adjustable chandelier with candle holders. It would likely be attached to the ceiling by its long stem to suspend the light fitting. A chain would have been threaded around each pulley, with one end joined to the top of the light fitting and the other end joined to a counter weight. The four counter weights would allow the light fitting to be raised or lowered to the desired height with little effort, to allow for lighting the candles or change the intensity of the light.

This light fitting was once installed on the famous sailing ship, the Loch Ard, which was built in 1873 and tragically wrecked in 1878.The fitting was recovered from the wreck almost 100 years later, at the time it was discovered.

LOCH ARD 1873-1878 –

The Scottish-built clipper ship Loch Ard was bound for Melbourne in 1878 with 54 people on board. The mixed cargo it carried included items for the 1880 International Exhibition in Melbourne, one of which was the now famous Majorca ware Minton ‘Peacock’ statue.

The Loch Ard was wrecked on June 1st when the ship crashed into Mutton Bird Island, east of Port Campbell. The only survivors were Tom Pearce, a crew member, and Eva Carmichael, a young passenger who was rescued by Pearce. The Gibsons, owners of nearby Glenample Homestead, cared for Tom, and for Eva who stayed longer before returning to Ireland.

The wreck of the Loch Ard was discovered in 1967, before the introduction of the Victorian historic shipwreck legislation. In 1969 it was decided that all recovered material should be lodged with the Receiver of Wrecks. In 1980 Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum Divers received a permit to recover artefacts from the wreck to safeguard them from looters. In 1982 the site was listed as a Historic Shipwreck, and the Maritime Archaeology Unit recovered loose artefact material.


The light fitting is recognised as being historically significant as an example of lighting either as part of the ship ‘Loch Ard’ or part of the ship’s cargo, imported for use in Colonial Victoria in the 19th to early 20th century.

Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from LOCH ARD is significant for being one of the largest collections of artefacts from this shipwreck in Victoria. It is significant for its association with the shipwreck, which is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR S417). The collection is significant because of the relationship between the objects, as together they have a high potential to interpret the story of the LOCH ARD.

The LOCH ARD collection is archaeologically significant as the remains of a large international passenger and cargo ship. The LOCH ARD collection is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria’s shipping history and its potential to interpret sub-theme 1.5 of Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes (living with natural processes). The collection is also historically significant for its association with the LOCH ARD, which was one of the worst and best known shipwrecks in Victoria’s history.

Physical description

Light fitting; hanging mechanism with simple pulley wheels for pendant light. Metal pipe, closed and hooked at one end, stem has three decorative rings, and open end has a short narrower metal pipe inserted. Narrow pipe has a three tiered, scallop-edged dome attached to the end. The dome encloses remnants of broken chain length and is attached to a set of four pulley wheels arrayed in a circle with their edge sat right angles to each other. The light fitting was recovered from the wreck of the Loch Ard.