Historical information

This Trotman’s pattern stock anchor is the southernmost anchor on display at Flagstaff Hill’s Anchor Graveyard. This large Trotman design anchor was patented in 1852 by John Trotman and was widely used on merchant ships.

On April 15th 2001 around midday this anchor was raised from the seabed of Lady Bay, Warrnambool, by the crew from Birdon Dredging, who had been hired to dredge the Harbour. The spokesperson Steve Walker, who worked for the firm, said that the anchor and long chain were found after the chain became tangled in the cutter blade of the dredging equipment. The anchor was lifted from the water and onto the Breakwater then a front-end loader placed it onto a truck that then delivered it to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum & Village. Howard Nichol, Museum Manager at the time, had estimated the anchor to be up to 130 years old. The previous Museum Manager, Peter Ronald, who was also a diver, had identified the anchor as a Trotman’s type and similar to those used on some of the major wrecks in the region.

According to Nicholl, Museum staff believed it was possible that the anchor is one of two used as a mooring line that had been used to catch driving vessels and prevent ships from washing aground on the sand bar. The mooring line was shown as a dotted line on the 1890 chart of Lady Bay, approved by Lieutenant Stanley of the British Admiralty. by Lieutenant Stanley [British Admiralty]. The location of the anchor corresponds to a point on that map and the length of the chain supports that theory. “The map is quite a detailed survey of the Bay and it shows two anchors with buoys on the ends with probably about 100 yards of chain stretched between them. The ships would drop anchor and was the chain as a snag because this was a treacherous bay before the Breakwater was built and this was a way to eliminate that problem, "said Nichol.

The mooring chain was put in place to catch drifting vessels during wild stormy weather. It was identified.

The British Admiralty wanted an anchor design that had more holding power. The Committee of 1852 on Anchors was appointed to assess and report on the qualities of various anchors including Trotman’s anchors. Trotman’s pattern anchor received the highest score.

The anchor is similar to the Admiral’s design but features arms that pivot when the anchor settles and the upper fluke moves to rest against the shank. The anchor then sits lower, which in turn greatly reduces the chances of the anchor’s chain, cable or rope getting tangled. The top of the shank has a fitting that allows a quick release of the anchor’s chain if this becomes necessary.


This Trotman’s anchor is significant as a part of the maritime history of the Port of Warrnambool regardless of whether it belonged to one of the 29 ships that were stranded or wrecked in Lady Bay.
The anchor is connected to the many attempts to maintain Warrnambool as a safe and manageable port, including the various plans for the construction of the Breakwater.

Physical description

Anchor: an iron Trotman’s pattern style with a rectangular-section shank that is wider in the middle and has a base that extends on two opposite sides in a ‘fork prong’ manner. A crescent-shaped, double-ended arm is fitted into the base of the shank with a bolt, enabling it to pivot. Each arm has a fluke in the shape of an upward palm with an attached metal plate that forms a horn at the back of the palm. A long, round-section pipe is fitted to the top of the shank at 90 degrees to the arms; one side has an elbow bend parallel to the arms, and both ends have an attached metal sphere. The pivoting ring at the top of the shank can be lifted for a quick release of the chain.